Our Priorities: Resilient Cities & Communities

Over 12% of the US population is exposed to flood risk, including the nearly 170 coastal communities reaching or exceeding the threshold for chronic inundation from rising seas by 2035. Drought is no less of a threat. Groups around the country look to River Network for support and leadership thanks to our decades-long track record as a trainer, network convener, and capacity builder. We foster learning on issues that span stormwater management, centering communities in resilience planning and building more equitable and inclusive organizations, and are a trusted and valued partner for grassroots groups and key federal agencies. River Network plays a critical role bringing diverse stakeholders together for the benefit of our local communities nationwide.

Below, learn about River Network’s work related to resilience, and connect with our staff working on these issues.

The Urban Waters Learning Network: Peer-to-Peer Support for Local Resilience Solutions

The Urban Waters Learning Network (UWLN) is a peer-to-peer network of people and organizations that share practical on-the-ground experiences in order to improve urban waterways and revitalize the neighborhoods around them. With support from the US EPA Office of Water, River Network partners with Groundwork USA in coordinating UWLN, providing support and opportunities for members to share successes, challenges, and technical resources. Our work to advance more equitable planning, mitigation, and recovery from the impacts of a changing climate leverages our decade-long support of the UWLN. 

Tools for Equitable Climate Resilience

tools-for-equitable-climate-resilience
A flooded park with trees and swing sets, set against the Houston, Texas skyline.

Communities across the United States are increasingly impacted by climate change and face growing problems like property damage, health concerns, and safety issues as a result of flooding and extreme heat. Inadequate wastewater treatment and lack of access to safe and affordable drinking water in many communities compound these threats.

With the support of the Kresge Foundation, River Network has embarked on a journey to explore climate resiliency strategies and equitable engagement of communities in climate resilience work. This two-part toolkit presents Community-Led Research and Knowledge and Leadership Development as essential tools for addressing the diverse risks posed by climate change.

Since 2019, River Network and the Urban Waters Learning Network (UWLN) have been digging deeper into a topic that has long been a concern of urban waters practitioners: the gentrification and displacement of people that we see taking place in our urban communities, oftentimes following efforts to revitalize and reinvest in the places we call home. We are addressing these topics by convening peer exchanges to explore strategies to mitigate displacement of people, and by producing blog posts, webinars, impact stories, and other resources.

Get started with the webinar above, or explore the full 5-part webinar series on understanding and mitigating the impacts of gentrification and displacement.

Experts of all stripes, from marine scientists to civil engineers, see a need for immediate actions to curb the deluge of garbage pouring into our oceans. Marine litter not only harms our ocean ecosystems, but is dangerous for freshwater systems and litter impacts our communities in many other ways, with environmental, social, and economic costs.

This toolkit empowers local communities to build a plan that works for them, taking into account their own unique challenges, and connecting them to others to share knowledge that might apply in other communities.

Explore the Toolkit here, or learn about our “Masks On, Litter Gone” campaign to integrate mobile app Litterati into our litter cleanup efforts.

Resources

A collection of go-to resources on all things related to stormwater, green infrastructure, climate adaptation and resilience, curated by River Network staff. Find helpful information on a variety of topics including:

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