Climate Adaptation, Resilience, and Recovery

Extreme weather is increasingly taking its toll on cities. Low-income communities, which may have fewer trees and parks and more paved surfaces than wealthier, greener neighborhoods, are often hit hardest by flooding and temperatures 5 to 8 degrees hotter on average.

Federal Funding

  • Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)

    The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) aims to categorically shift the federal focus away from reactive disaster spending and toward evidence-based investment in resilience through nature-based solutions to enhance the resilience of infrastructure.BRIC supports innovative approaches and enhanced partnerships, like those that share funding mechanisms or project design. An innovative project might have multiple funding sources or in-kind resources from private- and public-sector stakeholders or offer benefits to the community beyond risk reduction.
    Park Funding Use
    Capital/Land Acquisition
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    State Governments, Local Governments can be sub-applicants to states
    Learn More
  • Flood Mitigation Grant Program

    This Program funds efforts to lower risk of repetitive flood damage. The program has two components:
    • Advance Assistance - Funding to develop mitigation strategies and obtain data to prioritize, select, and develop viable community flood mitigation projects. Design work facilitates viable projects for future grant applications.
    • Community Flood Mitigation Projects – Funding for projects that integrate cost-effective natural floodplain restoration and improvements that benefit communities with high participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.
    Typical Grant Amount
    Over $1,000,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Very Difficult
    Match from other sources
    25%
    Park Funding Use
    Capital/Land Acquisition
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    State Governments, Local Governments
    Learn More
  • Coastal Resilience Grants

    The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Office for Coastal Management provide grants to improve the resilience of local communities and wildlife habitat in the face of increasingly severe and frequent natural disasters.  These are post-disaster grants for communities impacted by extreme weather events and natural disasters.  The grants support natural and nature-based infrastructure that help with recovery of people and wildlife.  Grants are offered through this program sporadically.  Awards were announced in March, 2020 for 2018 disasters.
    Typical Grant Amount
    $1,000,000 - $3,000,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Very Difficult
    Match from other sources
    100%
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    State, local and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions
    Learn More
  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

    This program helps communities implement hazard mitigation following a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to reduce the risk of loss of life and property in future disasters. Funds can be used for land protection, aquifer storage and recovery, floodplain and stream restoration, flood diversion and storage, or green infrastructure methods to manage flood and drought conditions. Applicants must have a Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) approved mitigation plan before applying.

    Typical Grant Amount
    Over $1,000,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Very Difficult
    Match from other sources
    25%
    Park Funding Use
    Capital/Land Acquisition
    Learn More
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State Funding

Many states fund climate mitigation and resilience activities. Here are a few of the largest.

  • California Natural Resources Agency Urban Greening Grant Program

    One of the largest cap-and-trade funded programs in the country, which specifically supports park investments. California’s Cap-and-Trade Program focuses on reducing emissions from industrial facilities and energy providers, it has an “Offset Program” that invests a portion of funding for urban greening and community forestry programs that reduce or absorb greenhouse gases. Eighty percent of funds go to parks or recreation in critically underserved or disadvantaged communities. Local governments can apply through the California Natural Resources Agency.
    Match from other sources
    Varies by State
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Varies by State
    Learn More
  • Massachusetts Greening the Gateway Cities

    This program reduces household energy use by increasing tree canopy cover in urban residential areas. The program focuses on Environmental Justice neighborhoods with lower tree canopy, older housing, higher winds, and a large renter population. Tree planting crews create workforce development opportunities.
    Match from other sources
    Varies by State
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Varies by State
    Learn More
  • Massachusetts Coastal Resilience Grant Program

    The Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Grant Program offers financial and technical assistance for natural approaches to mitigate flooding and erosion. The 78 municipalities within Massachusetts’ coastal zone and certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations with coastal public property are eligible.
    Typical Grant Amount
    $20,000 - $1,000,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Very Accessible
    Match from other sources
    25%
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Local governments located in the coastal zone
    Learn More
  • Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program

    MVP grants provide financial resources to advance priority climate adaptation actions. Municipalities must apply first for an MVP planning grant. Communities must adhere to MVP core principles, which include engaging communities, particularly Environmental Justice and Climate Vulnerable Populations, and using nature-based solutions to achieve broad and multiple community benefits.
    Typical Grant Amount
    $10,000 - $400,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Very Accessible
    Match from other sources
    25%
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Local governments
    Learn More
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Additional Resources

Case Studies

Share Your Experience

This Hub highlights select federal and state funding programs that can be particularly effective at funding parks and green infrastructure in low-income communities. It is not intended to be a comprehensive source of funding opportunities, but a starting point with examples, links to additional information, and case studies.

We invite you to help us make this Hub stronger by sharing your experiences applying for, and implementing programs with these funding sources.

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Extreme weather is increasingly taking its toll on cities. Low-income communities, which may have fewer trees and parks and more paved surfaces than wealthier, greener neighborhoods, are often hit hardest by flooding and temperatures 5 to 8 degrees hotter on average.

Parks, trees, and other urban greening play an important role in mitigating climate change and building resilience to natural disasters. They cool the air, absorb rainfall and protect against flooding. For more information on funding specifically for stormwater management and green infrastructure, see the Stormwater Management section of the Equitable Funding Hub.

Extreme heat is the greatest climate threat to human health. It is the number one weather-related killer in the U.S. — deadlier than all other weather-related causes combined. Heat-related deaths are climbing in regions like the Southwest U.S., where they have risen as much as 5 times since 2014. Trees reduce heat up to 10 degrees depending on their size, type, and location, and parks can reduce heat by 10 to 20 degrees, depending on similar factors.

Natural disasters like heat waves and floods often prove the turning point for significant investments in parks and green infrastructure, but many cities, states, and regions now want to invest in preparing for and reducing the impacts of climate change, not merely reacting to it.

According to FEMA, for every $1 spent on mitigation, taxpayers save $4 in recovery costs. The following sources fund adaptation and resilience, as well as disaster recovery.

Climate change mitigation reduces greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, either by preventing its release, such as reducing vehicle emissions, or removing carbon from the atmosphere, such as with tree planting.
Resilience and Adaptation refers to the process of identifying threats and taking action to reduce to them. Protecting land and planting trees can prevent flooding and reduce heat.
Disaster Recovery is investment made to recover from disasters after the fact and efforts to prevent future disasters.