Building Community Resilience with Nature-Based Solutions: A Guide for Local Communities

U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Posted on: 5/04/2021 - Updated on: 5/09/2023

Posted by

Peter Herrick, Jr.



This is the first in a series of guides to help community leaders use nature-based solutions (NBS) to minimize the risks of natural hazards. The second guide, Building Community Resilience with Nature-based Solutions: Strategies for Success, gives community leaders five main strategies to carry out NBS projects.

The key goal of this guide is to help communities identify and engage the staff and resources that can play a role in building resilience with nature-based solutions. The National Mitigation Investment Strategy identifies nature-based solutions as a cost-effective approach to keep natural hazards from becoming costly disasters. The promise of nature-based solutions comes from the many benefits they offer and the many partners they can draw to the table.

Nature-based solutions weave natural features and processes into a community’s landscape through planning, design, and engineering practices. These practices can be applied to a community’s built environment (for example, a stormwater park) or its natural areas (for example, land conservation). While nature-based solutions have many hazard mitigation benefits, they can also help a community meet its social, environmental, and economic goals. Communities across the country are finding nature-based solutions to be a highly effective way to provide public services that were traditionally met with structural or “gray” infrastructure.

FEMA and its federal partners produced the National Mitigation Investment Strategy to increase our nation’s resilience to natural hazards. Its purpose is to coordinate the use of federal, state, local, and private resources to help communities survive and thrive in the face of natural disasters. This guide builds on the three key goals of the Investment Strategy:

  1. To motivate communities to invest in mitigation (for example, by showing how to measure its value)
  2. To shrink barriers to investing in mitigation (for example, by improving access to risk information and funding)
  3. To make investing in mitigation standard practice (for example, by considering mitigation in all investment decisions for public infrastructure)


Building Community Resilience with Nature-Based Solutions: A Guide for Local Communities. June 2021. FEMA.…

Affiliated Organizations

FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. The challenges posed by more intense storms, frequent heavy rain, heat waves, drought, extreme flooding, and higher sea levels could lead to increased risks from disasters faced by communities and the emergency management professionals serving them.

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