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Nature Based Solutions Advocacy Toolkit
Nature Based Solutions Advocacy Toolkit

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Sample Climate Policies

Below we have included key nature-based climate policies that we believe all cities and counties should adopt. To find the full list of sample policies navigate to the of the Resilience Playbook. You can incorporate this template language into your written request or public comment.

Strategies and Policies to Implement NBS
Nature-Based Solution
By X year, City departments should develop their own policies and procedures for capital projects to assess carbon sequestration opportunities, prioritize biodiversity and green infrastructure, and maximize local native plants.
Sequester Carbon
By X year, develop best practices guidelines for improving or maintaining carbon sequestration and retention, while preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services, in the soil, plants, and natural habitats.
Sequester Carbon
By X year, complete a watershed carbon case study and quantify the value of carbon storage provided by protecting this natural area.
Sequester Carbon
Require and incentivize green infrastructure in future developments and when possible, use green infrastructure as a preferred alternative.
Mitigate Flooding
Wetlands Reversion - Consider developing an inventory of the city’s drainage system and assess for potential wetlands reversion to adapt to sea level rise.
Mitigate Flooding
Under appropriate shoreline conditions, require or encourage development to use “soft” or “natural” solutions or “living shorelines” as an alternative to the placement of hard shoreline protection in order to protect development or other resources and to enhance natural resource areas. Examples of soft solutions include vegetative planting, dune restoration, and sand nourishment.
Mitigate Flooding
Develop a program to work with public and private landowners to decrease the risk of flooding by advancing watershed management projects that reduce and/or store runoff during rainfall events, including the installation of green infrastructure and Low Impact Development (LID) practices, and improve the condition in the floodplain, for example through floodplain restoration or improvement.
Mitigate Flooding
Support the implementation of forest management practices that protect existing carbon stocks by reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire. At the same time, grow large, mature trees and move surplus biomass to the soil carbon pool via mulching in place, prescribed fire, conservation burns, and off site uses, including compost and mulch production.
Restore Ecosystems
By X year, explore expansion of the City’s natural areas preservation system through land transfers and acquisitions of undeveloped/unprotected private and public lands.
Restore Natural Lands
Work with Open Space Districts on strategic land protection and stewardship actions that increase carbon sequestration and minimize conversion to land uses that have a lower capacity to sequester carbon.
Restore Natural Lands
Limit the conversion of open space and protected areas to developed land through enforcing and maintaining urban growth boundaries
Restore Natural Lands
Support local agricultural producers to plan, implement, and scale carbon sequestration.
Carbon Sequestration Agriculture
Increase our urban forest cover starting with communities impacted by recent fires and disadvantaged communities.
Carbon Sequestration Agriculture
Pilot appropriate carbon sequestration techniques as part of ongoing ecological restoration of degraded habitats.
Carbon Sequestration Agriculture
Ensure that agricultural easements have standards for Best Management Practices and prioritize conservation of agricultural properties that use or agree to implement regenerative agriculture practices.
Carbon Sequestration Agriculture
Improve the composting ordinance to advance compost infrastructure and support soil carbon sequestration activities.
Carbon Sequestration Agriculture
By X year, pilot appropriate carbon sequestration techniques as part of ongoing ecological restoration of degraded habitats.
Carbon Sequestration Agriculture
By X year, ensure highest and best use of compost made from organics collected from residents and businesses.
Carbon Sequestration Agriculture
Design roadway projects to be attractive and, where possible, to include trees, landscape buffer areas, public art, public space, and other visual enhancements. Emphasize tree planting and landscaping along all streets.
Urban Greening
Adopt EPA’s Storm Smart Cities guidance on how to include urban greening in LHMPs.
Urban Greening
Incorporate urban greening in the CAP by establishing programs, timelines, and collaborations with agencies.
Urban Greening
Require sustainable landscaping practices and a rating system (such as the Bay-Friendly Rated Landscape Program from ReScape California) for new landscapes built within the jurisdiction.
Urban Greening
Maximize, where woody vegetation is appropriate, planting coast live oak and other native trees and shrubs throughout the public realm.
Urban Greening
Plant X number of street trees (~25% increase) in the sidewalk tree wells to complete the street tree network by 2040.
Urban Greening
Develop guidelines on specific tree species and management procedures that integrate carbon sequestration, ecosystems services, and biodiversity.
Urban Greening
Establish requirements for major development and redevelopment projects to construct and maintain urban greening projects in the adjacent public right of way.
Urban Greening
By X year, create policy for land under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works to require preservation of mature trees during infrastructure modifications using solutions to retain them such as bulb-outs, basin expansion, and sidewalk re-routing.
Urban Greening
Map tree canopy gaps in cities and prioritize urban canopy expansion in communities vulnerable to urban heat effects, utilizing tools such as the Tree Equity Score.
Urban Greening
Include greening elements as a primary project scoring criteria for bike improvements.
Urban Greening
Map areas at risk of flooding, including those along creeks, low-lying, and coastal. Prioritize urban greening expansion in these spaces.
Urban Greening
Pursue stormwater infrastructure funding and financing options for multibenefit urban greening, including stormwater fees, developer impact fees, fees for offsite green stormwater infrastructure instead of onsite stormwater treatment, and Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts.
Urban Greening
Lobby state government and agencies for funding flexibility in state and regional transportation grant programs.
Urban Greening
Advocate for regional funding sources to support greening projects.
Urban Greening
Advocate for state grant programs to support local planning and project implementation.
Urban Greening
Advocate for greening funding in any potential state climate resilience bonds.
Urban Greening
Establish alternative fee mechanisms, similar to the SF Carbon Fund, to fund nature-based solutions. By X Year, create permanent code and financial incentives for homeowners and other private landowners to preserve existing mature trees and shrubs and to plant local native species.
Urban Greening
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