a row of houses fronted by a beautiful rain garden full of pink flowers

Funding Nature-Based Infrastructure in Texas

Nature-based infrastrcture could protect our communities from water pollution, drought, and flooding. But funding oppertunities are limited. The "sponsored project program" could provide the funding we need. 

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Anna Farrell-Sherman
Clean Water Associate

Author: Anna Farrell-Sherman

Clean Water Associate

Anna works to protect Texas and our waterways. She advocates for nature-based infrastructure, like rain gardens and green roofs, that allow stormwater to slow down and soak into the soil thereby preventing water pollution, easing drought, mitigating flooding, and reducing urban heat.

Anna started on staff with Environment Texas in August of 2019, after graduating from Wellesley College with a BA in computer science with an emphasis on biology.  Anna is excited to be exploring Austin through rock climbing, cooking, and hiking.

 

Over and over again in Texas we hear news of basements flooded, river-banks erroded away, and toxic algea blooms. The news is hard - and the reality is too: our waterways in Texas are in danger. Everyday, as our stormwater is captured and funneled into concrete channels, ditches, and dam systems, we loose out on the benefits that nature-based stormwater infrastructure can bring. When water has a chance to slow down and soak into the soil, floodwaters slow, rivers stay withen their banks, and toxic pollutants are filtered by our plants instead of collecting in our rivers and creeks. 

Unfortunatly for our communitites, engineers interested in using nature-based infrastructure face a significant hurdle: lack of funding. Texas's Clean Water State Revolving Fund is supposed to fund green nature-based projects through its “green project reserve,” but the overwhelming majority of those green projects are water and electricity efficiency projects rather than nature-based ones. Iowa has taken steps to fix that.

Iowa's “sponsored project program” allows communities to apply for a second nature-based project along with traditional clean water loan projects. When they do, they get an interest rate break on the original loan as long as they use that additional money to finance a nature-based project. The community ends up with two projects for the price of one. 

Environment Texas hosted a webinar on this program, which has already financed over 100 projects in communities across Iowa, and are excited about the opportunity to bring it here to Texas. To support this effort, you can sign our leader to public leaders here: https://forms.gle/kjr3TokqtLZC4XNx7. Its too good not to miss!

Learn more about what makes nature-based infrastructure so cool by watching a recording of our webinar below. There is a discussion followed by a Q&A with our panelists:

  • Trenia Miller, Stormwater Manager from Lubbock who is struggling getting support for her interests in nature-based infrastructure
  • Kathy Roecker, Stormwater Management Plan Administrator and fierce advocate for nature-based infrastructure from Kyle
  • Dan Wedemeier, mayor from Readlyn, Iowa whose town is thriving with nature-based infrastructure from the program that we are intending to implement in Texas
  • Anna Farrell-Sherman, Clean Water Associate with Environment Texas
Anna Farrell-Sherman
Clean Water Associate

Author: Anna Farrell-Sherman

Clean Water Associate

Anna works to protect Texas and our waterways. She advocates for nature-based infrastructure, like rain gardens and green roofs, that allow stormwater to slow down and soak into the soil thereby preventing water pollution, easing drought, mitigating flooding, and reducing urban heat.

Anna started on staff with Environment Texas in August of 2019, after graduating from Wellesley College with a BA in computer science with an emphasis on biology.  Anna is excited to be exploring Austin through rock climbing, cooking, and hiking.