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Municipal Resilience

The Southern RI Conservation District has been partnering with towns in its District to help them plan and achieve their urban resiliency goals, particularly around stormwater management and climate impacts, and pursue funding for implementation.

We are also helping towns achieve certification through the Municipal Resilience Program (MRP) at the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (see below).

We can provide staff time, institutional experience, regional environmental knowledge and networking, and valued leverage with funding applications.

Why is Urban Resilience Important?

With climate change and continued urban growth comes an increase in the frequency and severity of weather events and associated impacts. As local economies, livelihoods, and quality of life are dependent on the health and sustainability of our clean and abundant waters, soils, air, crops, wildlife, and fisheries, it has become more and more important for cities to change and improve how they manage their natural resources.

Water management has taken a front row seat in this, as water actively and dynamically affects everything else, and is, of course, very directly tied to changing weather events.

surface waters provide:

  • crop irrigation, wildlife habitat, fishing for food, fire-fighting, recreation

groundwater provides:

  • drinking water wells, crop irrigation, water table reservoirs, soil health

rainwater provides:

  • crop irrigation, groundwater and hydrologic cycle recharge, air quality recharge
  • Stormwater management, for better or for worse, serves as a catalyst of high level impact on many issues of concern:
  • flooding, soil erosion, concentration and transport of water quality pollutants, the expense of water treatment, the expense of protecting from wastewater/sewer overflows, too much run-off and not enough groundwater recharge, coastal storm surges

Nature-Based Solutions

Many of the benefits and challenges mentioned above can achieve more integrated outcomes with a wider array of benefits and less expense if we apply nature-based solutions or green infrastructure to our management strategies. See below for articles that explain these management strategies. Local and federal funding programs are now frequently requiring use of nature-based solutions.

Municipal Resilience Program with the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank

In more recent times, federal and state funding opportunities have shifted to more deeply address critical concerns of stormwater management and climate change readiness. Out of this, Rhode Island’s Infrastructure Bank (RIIB) created the Municipal Resilience Program in 2018 with a goal to get every town in Rhode Island certified and therefore able to move forward with action grants. Certification requires engaging in a stakeholder planning process guided by the Nature Conservancy, to identify priority needs and resources related to managing stormwater and other environmental, logistical, and infrastructure concerns that relate to a town’s ability to withstand future climate change impacts and more severe weather events.


The City of Warwick became MRP-certified in 2019.

SRICD has been partnering with them to achieve some of their outreach goals.

Simple Steps to Protect Warwick’s Waters


The Town of Westerly became MRP-certified in 2019.

SRICD partnered with Westerly’s on its certification process, and has been conducting outreach for the Town through a variety of media. Green infrastructure articles in the Westerly Sun are linked below. SRICD hosts a weekly radio show on Westerly’s local radio station WBLQ, called Resiliency Radio Hour.

In addition, SRICD has assumed the role of Project Manager on several grant awards for Westerly’s implementation of priorities identified under the MRP process.


The Town of Richmond is working on their MRP certification in 2022.

SRICD is helping Richmond organize and plan their Community Resilience Building Workshop.