Stormwater Update: Notes from the Finance Forum

Fresh from attending the Stormwater Finance Forum at the University of New Hampshire, the Advisory Board is energized about helping our communities continue to address their stormwater needs. Our goals are to be an advocate for our communities, stay up-to-date on the latest strategies to comply with the MS4 permit, and provide a comprehensive list of resources to guide planning and implementation.

The Stormwater Finance Forum, hosted by the New England Environmental Finance Center, could not have come at a better time. The two-day event was attended by professionals from every New England state, ranging from federal to local government, and private firms to non-profits. Some main themes from the presentations emerged:

Problem Definition

 

Communities must define what the problem is and develop a clear outreach message to connect with their residents. An important question to consider is, “What is the tipping point for us to act?” These drivers can include aesthetic issues, flooding mitigation, permit compliance, and protecting water quality, among others.

Financing

 

Communities should determine which form of funding will work best for them. Will it be a tax or a fee? How will parcel size and impervious surface area be taken into account? And how will the money be budgeted in the long term?

 

Flexibility

 

There are over 40 (forty!) best management practices (BMPs) to treat water quality and reduce runoff. Communities can select the BMPs best suited a particular area, budget, aesthetic nature, and desired maintenance level.

Stakeholder Involvement

Including all community stakeholders throughout project development provides a greater chance of success. In particular, giving a voice to those who may not support the program is critical. While everyone doesn’t have to love the stormwater program, it should be something everyone can live with.

Right now, we’re working on compiling a detailed list of resources from this forum and elsewhere, as well as a building a dedicated page on stormwater for our website. We’ll let you know when it’s posted – stay tuned!