June 2016 Edition


This spring was an important time for the Environmental Finance Center. We had the opportunity to be involved with two major environmental forums: we hosted the Chesapeake Bay Financing Symposium and we facilitated sessions at Climate Summit 2016, both here at the University of Maryland.
In April, the Financing Symposium brought together more than 130 creative, innovative, and successful finance, business, and policy leaders to identify options for advancing a more market-like approach to Chesapeake Bay protection and restoration.  Exploring new ways to finance critical environmental efforts in this way serves to not only advance Bay restoration efforts, but also provide models that can be applied far beyond our watershed.
We were also tapped to help develop and facilitate sessions during Climate Summit 2016's public forum on campus. This was an important opportunity to connect with environmental leaders from across the country and around the world working to further the momentum of the landmark Paris Agreement.
As you might expect, the urgent need to address the rapidly expanding impacts of a changing climate has had the EFC focusing more and more on resiliency financing. The breadth and scale of needed mitigation and adaptation practices will require innovations in the financing systems that support implementation. The EFC is eager to lead the collaborative conversation.
You will be able to read more about these recent events and the exciting directions our resiliency work is taking us on our soon to be unveiled website at later this summer.
Summer always offers an environmental bounty for relaxation and play, so we hope you enjoy yours and look forward to updating you again in the fall.
Dan Nees  

MOST Center launch

EPA awards University of Maryland six-year grant to expand the work of its EFC

UMD Sustainable Maryland certifies 12 municipalities


EFC 2014 Annual Report  Link

Financing Green Infrastructure in Blair County, Pennsylvania 

Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Restoration Financing Strategy

Daniel T. Nees
Jennifer Cotting
Research Associate -
Green Infrastructure

Brenton McCloskey
Research Associate - Natural Resources

Sean Williamson
Program Manager -
Climate Change & Energy

Naomi Young
Research Economist

Medessa S. Burian
Program Manager -
Public Health
Mike Hunninghake
Program Manager - Sustainable Maryland

Andy Fellows
Program Manager - Local Government/Environmental Justice

Brandy Espinola
Program Manager

Jenny Pascaran Beard
Communications Manager

Toni Ames
Program Assistant

On April 25-26, the EFC held a first-of-its-kind Chesapeake Bay Environmental Finance Symposium at the University of Maryland's College Park campus.  Over the course of two days, over130 financial leaders, environmental experts and elected officials participated in highly engaged, invitation-only work sessions. Recommendations from these sessions will inform the development of a restoration finance action plan to be presented to the Chesapeake Executive Council, which is made up of Governors of the Bay states and to the Mayor of Washington, D.C. The EFC will be summarizing the results of the forum over the course of the summer. Click here  for more information. 
The Environmental Finance Center represented the University of Maryland at the international, multi-stakeholder  Climate Action 2016 summit 
May 5-6 in Washington, D.C. The EFC assisted in developing the session on City and Sub-National Implementation, which was chaired by the C ompact of Mayors. This session discussed effective collaboration within city, state and provincial networks to explore outcome measurements and local accountability regarding climate initiatives. 

Additionally, EFC Director Dan Nees and Program Manager Brandy Espinola each facilitated a session within the "City and Sub-National" and "Analysis and Tools to Support Decision Making" tracks during the public Climate Action 2016 Forum on campus May 4. This preamble to the summit included discussions on progressing the climate implementation agenda.    

For more information about this event, click here
EFC's Brent McCloskey facilitates a forum session
On June 15-16, along with the  US EPA's Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center and Region 3 in Philadelphia, the EFC held a Water Finance Forum in Big Stone Gap, VA, entitled "Financing Resilient and Sustainable Water Infrastructure." Targeting the critical water issues that challenge communities in Central Appalachia, over 90 participants attended the event held at Mountain Empire Community College, including utilities and water sector professionals, community leaders, technical assistance providers and regional funders. The event tackled issues related to expanding the reach of resources and innovation to meet water and wastewater needs within this at-risk region. Sessions included information on how utilities have made financing decisions with water quality and resilient operations in mind, implementing successful financing strategies, and accessing available funding sources for local infrastructure needs. More information as well as a link to the presentations at the event can be found here.
Sustainable Maryland released its 2015 Annual Report, a wrap-up of our annual certifications, events, trainings and more.

A few common themes emerged this year amongst our certified municipalities:
  • The use of power purchase agreements to construct solar arrays on municipal property.
  • Community gardens are a sure way to rally volunteers for a project, as it feeds both the appetite and the desire to socially engage with like-minded folks.
  • Green festivals are an effective way to both recruit volunteers and communicate sustainability to residents.
Some innovative projects recognized last year included:
  • Cambridge constructed the Eastern Shore's first complete Green Street, with porous concrete sidewalks, pervious paver parking areas, rain gardens, intersection bumpouts to slow traffic, and dedicated bike lanes.
  • Centreville earned the National Wildlife Federation's "Certified Community Wildlife Habitat" designation, reflecting both wildlife-friendly backyards and municipal policies.
  • Chestertown's Public Arts Master Plan is a vision for stimulating a local economy and fostering a sense of place.
  • Hagerstown adopted a "Livable Streets" policy to foster a pedestrian, bicycle and transit-friendly environment wherever possible.
  • Emmitsburg created a network of 15 miles of multi-user trails, utilizing over 1,000 hours of volunteer work and approximately $300,000 in private donations.
And check out this virtual tour featuring our 2015 Sustainable Maryland Certified municipalities.

Frederick GT summit

Green Teams from across Frederick County gathered to share recent successes and challenges in their communities the second county-wide Green Team Summit, with this year's theme of Municipal/County Interactions driving the conversation.

Lisa Orr, the County's sustainability program coordinator, discussed the Green Homes Challenge program and the Neighborhood Green stormwater initiative, both of which provide resources to homeowners. David Whitaker, the chief of comprehensive planning, discussed the new Livable Frederick initiative, a progressive approach to regional planning that will incorporate resiliency, adaptation, equity, systems thinking and community engagement.

Some recommendations that emerged during the course of the conversation included:

Waste Reduction: Scale up and streamline recycling, improving outreach and education in order to increase participation from 15-20%, implement a multifamily homes and business recycling

Energy: LED streetlight retrofits, Solar Coop, community solar and solar for municipalities.

Funding: Prioritize funding of sustainability projects, provide funding opportunities and grants for sustainability initiatives, and possible tax incentives for green businesses.
Sustainable Purchasing: Bulk purchasing, understanding what procurement contracts municipalities can piggyback off of,  coordinate with the MWCOG Environmental Buyers Committee, sustainable cooperative purchasing contracts specifically for toilet paper, LED lights, and solar panels (like the Prince George's Energy Collaborative model).

Stormwater: Increased funding for municipal stormwater projects that complement county-state regulation requirements, incentives for SW BMPs on residential property, increased water conservation.

Natural Resources: Municipalities should be able to access the County's tree canopy assessments at the municipal level.

For more information on the 2nd Frederick County Green Team Summit, including presentations and additional resources, check out our Summit overview.  
The EFC's paper The Economic Value of Riparian Buffers was released this month. Prepared for American Rivers, this paper details the value of buffers in terms of their function and identifies economic models that have been used to monetize the environmental, societal and human value of riparian buffers. The current state of research provides estimates for only two sources of economic value: residential property values and a more general community value. Estimates support the conclusions that riparian buffers have a positive economic value, but more research is still needed.  Electronic copies of the paper are available here. For more information about this research, contact Naomi Young.

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland works to equip communities with the knowledge, resources and leadership needed to empower decision-making that advances resource management priorities in an innovative and efficient way. Through direct technical assistance, capacity building, and program and policy analysis, we strive to move communities towards a more sustainable and resilient future.
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