Urban Conservancy is a New Orleans-based nonprofit organization leading and collaborating to strengthen the urban environment and local economy through equitable practices, policies and programs. Urban Conservancy believes "[s]upporting sustainable stormwater management in New Orleans can be achieved through large scale infrastructure and small scale interventions on private properties."
Among the Conservancy's programs, the Front Yard Initiative aims to reduce yard paving in New Orleans. Rampant front yard paving is a community issue that has broad and significant effects on the city from stormwater to safety. Through the Front Yards Initiative the Urban Conservancy incentivizes residents to install green infrastructure in place of impervious surfaces by reimbursing eligible homeowners $2.50 per square foot of paving removed, up to 500 square feet, for a maximum reimbursement of $1,250. In May 2020, the Urban Conservancy surveyed Front Yard Initiative participants who installed GSI on their properties between 2015 and December 2019. The survey found that an overwhelming majority of respondents have seen dramatic improvement in localized flooding on their properties, and those improvements increase over time as the plants are established and soil conditions improve. However, area flooding remains a problem and participation rates among communities of color is low, among other findings. To address these lessons learned, one of Urban Conservancy recommendations is identifying financial products/subsidies needed to put GSI within reach of all New Orleanians, including ways to build GSI into affordable developments from the outset (in addition to retrofit-ting existing properties).
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