Building Community Resilience with Nature-based Solutions: Strategies for Success

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

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This is the second in a series of guides to help community leaders use nature-based solutions (NBS) to minimize the risks of natural hazards. The first guide, Building Community Resilience With Nature-Based Solutions: A Guide for Local Communities, makes the case for using NBS. It tells readers how to include NBS in community planning, and it goes over funding options.

This guide gives community leaders five main strategies to carry out NBS projects. These strategies are meant to provide community leaders with resources for success, including case studies about how others have used the strategies to advance their project. Investing in them at the correct time is the key to carrying out successful NBS projects Communities can choose how to best use each strategy, or combination of strategies, based on what they think is the right path for them.

The Five Strategies: 

  • Building Strong Partnerships
  • Engaging the Whole Community
  • Matching Project Size With Desired Goals and Benefits
  • Maximizing Benefits
  • Designing for the Future

This guide covers the value of each strategy and suggests how to move forward with NBS projects. Communities across the United States are facing the impacts of natural disasters. Flooding, heat, drought, landslides, wildfires and other hazards threaten lives, properties and economies. Because of climate change, these events happen more often with more intensity and more costs. They can overwhelm current public services and assets. They can also forever change cities and towns. Local communities plan for and carry out risk reduction strategies to address these hazards.

NBS are among many tools that can help reduce damage and increase a community’s ability to bounce back from a disaster. When designed the right way, NBS can absorb floodwaters, reduce a wildfire’s intensity and minimize droughts. NBS also offer many added benefits, also called multiple or co-benefits, that can address several issues at once. For example, they can:

  • Improve air and water quality
  • Lower air temperature
  • Improve a community’s appearance and well-being
  • Increase wildlife habitat
  • Increase nearby property values
  • Provide workforce development, educational and recreational opportunities

NBS work best as part of local, regional and state planning efforts around:

  • Hazard mitigation and risk reduction
  • Climate resilience
  • Watershed management
  • Source water protection
  • Land use and economic development plans


Building Community Resilience with Nature-based Solutions: Strategies for Success. March 2023. FEMA.…

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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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