Category: Watersheds, Wetlands & Stormwater (page 1 of 13)

Seeing is Believing: The Role of Visualization in Environmental Finance

Elizabeth Roknich is a fellow in the 2018 Leaders in Environment and Finance (LEAF) program. She spent summer 2018 at NC GreenPower, a Raleigh-based renewable energy nonprofit. Her work there included financial modeling, cost benefit analyses for program changes, and data visualization work in Tableau, which she used to create two dashboards to highlight their renewable energy generators and their Solar Schools program

Data visualization is a term you might have heard buzzing around lately, gaining popularity and attention across many fields. The idea behind visual representation is not new; people have been explaining data pictorially for centuries, from maps to graphs and on from there. Because of the way the human brain processes information, we are naturally able to understand data in visual formats more easily and quickly than in spreadsheets or reports.

What has really made data visualization boom, however, is the current capacity that computers have to process data at lightning speeds, and the sheer amount of data being collected at any given moment. Continue reading

Exploring a Regional Watershed Authority for Jordan Lake

Tori is a fellow in the 2018 Leaders in Environment and Finance (LEAF) program. As part of this fellowship, Tori spent summer 2018 at Triangle J Council of Governments, where she helped investigate the administrative and financial aspects of alternative nutrient pollution management models and the legal barriers to implementation faced.

Despite disagreement over how nutrient pollution should be managed in the Jordan Lake watershed, stakeholders tend to agree on one thing: the Jordan Lake Nutrient Management Strategy, commonly known as the Jordan Lake Rules, have room for improvement. Many institutions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors are working to figure out how to mitigate further degradation of water quality in Jordan Lake, in part by looking into alternative financial and governance options for a better regulatory framework. One of these institutions, Triangle J Council of Governments, has examined the framework of a regional watershed authority. Continue reading

Financing Nutrient Management in North Carolina

The EFC Enters Third Year of Considering Financing Strategies for Nutrient Management in the Jordan Lake Watershed.

In 2016, the North Carolina legislature commissioned a six-year nutrient management study to be done through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the purpose of reevaluating the nutrient management strategies for the Jordan Lake and Falls Lake watersheds.

The Environmental Finance Center (EFC) is one of more than a dozen teams working on the study, and our work is focused on the legislative directive to “review the costs and benefits of existing nutrient management strategies,” so that the State can modify such strategies in order to “share costs on an equitable basis. The first three years of the six-year study are focused on Jordan Lake, and the last three years will be focused on Falls Lake. Continue reading

Growing Economies and Shrinking Coastlines: Financing Wider Beaches

As of 2014, NOAA estimated that about 40 percent of the US population lives in a county on the coast and these coastal counties are responsible for 56 million jobs. As a nation, we have developed heavily along the coastlines, building large and valuable assets on property that may erode. As communities along the southeastern coastline have experienced and can likely attest to, there are very few viable options for slowing coastal erosion that do not either cause more erosion downdrift or damage to coastal ecosystems. To date, most communities have found beach nourishment to be the most viable option. So what is beach nourishment and how do we pay for it? Read on for answers to these questions and more: Continue reading

Are Floodplain Buyouts a Smart Investment for Local Governments?

Guest post by David Salvesen and Christian Kamrath

Hurricane Matthew, which struck North Carolina in October 2016, reminded us of just how vulnerable North Carolina is to flooding.  Torrential rains caused severe flooding that breached levees, closed major roads and inundated entire communities.  Thousands of homes in the eastern part of the state were destroyed. Continue reading

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