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Research + Innovation

New state partnership to support local planning for community resilience

Coastal Dynamics Design Lab proposed networks
Proposed rain gardens and trails at the Princeville Elementary School. Image courtesy Costal Dynamics Design Lab.

The following statement was originally released by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Office of Recovery and Resiliency.

RALEIGH, N.C. – The N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) has committed funding to the NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab (CDDL) for the development of five North Carolina community floodprint reports over the next three years. A valuable tool for building future community resilience, a floodprint is a landscape planning approach developed by CDDL to address land and water relationships. The floodprint development process incorporates issues such as flooding, recovery and equity into the planning process. 

The new floodprint information will help guide NCORR’s program initiatives in areas of eastern North Carolina hit hard by hurricanes Matthew and Florence. “Our partnership with CDDL will result in community-based plans that address resiliency and development challenges,” said NCORR Director Laura Hogshead. “We have already seen positive outcomes from the development of floodprints and refer to them when determining local needs for disaster recovery and community resilience.”

NCORR launched the collaboration in January 2022, using U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation funds. Potential candidate communities for the floodprint process must be within the Most Impacted and Distressed (MID) areas, as identified by HUD or the state. Other considerations include community interest and flood-vulnerable properties.

“Community floodprints are co-created with local input through public meetings and discussions, so the recommended strategies fit the needs of the people who live there,” said Andy Fox, co-director of CDDL. “The new collaboration with NCORR is critical to scaling up our work to better serve people and places across eastern North Carolina. The partnership builds on past successes working with NCORR staff and represents a significant opportunity to provide communities with the technical assistance required to expedite ongoing recovery efforts and attract the resources needed for long-term resiliency and full community health,” Fox added.

CDDL will work with five focus communities to develop a community master plan/floodprint and design proposals that can then be used to apply for grant funding. The first of the five new floodprints will focus on Whiteville in Columbus County. Town leaders were contacted and offered the floodprint opportunity as a good fit for their community.

Floodprints have proven to be especially useful for NCORR’s ReBuild NC Strategic Buyout Program, which buys eligible properties located in areas at a high risk of future flooding. The properties are purchased from owners who voluntarily decide to sell their property and relocate to a safer place.

To date, CDDL has designed four floodprint reports for North Carolina communities, including Lumberton (phases one and two), Princeville and Pollocksville. The completed floodprints have laid the groundwork for actionable plans and have resulted in millions of dollars of additional grant-funded investments to implement the activities outlined in the reports.  

“The partnership with CDDL will provide valuable tools as the Strategic Buyout Program expands in eastern North Carolina,” said Maggie Battaglin, NCORR’s buyout program manager. “The floodprint report for Pollocksville has already been useful as we begin to offer buyout options for flood-damaged properties in that community.” 

More information about the floodprint initiative is available at the CDDL website. Learn more about NCORR and the Strategic Buyout Program at ReBuild.NC.Gov.