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Winter 2016 Newsletter


From the Director

Mountain Photo and Snow
Happy Holidays from the New England Environmental Finance Center! As this year comes to a close, it is my pleasure to send you our inaugural newsletter. The year 2016 was a busy and productive one for the NEEFC. In November we hosted the New England Stormwater Finance Forum titled Water as a Resource: Financing Opportunities and Challenges for Municipal Stormwater Management at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. The 1.5 day workshop was a wonderful opportunity for New England communities to come together, network, and hear about some new ideas and examples of the state of the art in stormwater management and financing options. For me, the biggest lesson learned was that communities in New England are very interested and eager to manage their stormwater, and that the resources available to them are many and diverse. The primary need in New England seems to be identifying local champions and telling a compelling story about how managing stormwater presents opportunities to create environmental benefits, community awareness and health, and to save money in the long term. We are continuing to work with New England communities to help them continue, or get started, on their stormwater planning and management. We also continued our assistance to the neighborhood of Bayside in Portland, Maine, helping facilitate a group of dedicated volunteers as they weigh their options in the face of rising tides, and we hosted some webinars on food recovery and composting in schools. Please enjoy our first newsletter and let us know what you think -- we would love to hear your suggestions!

Sincerely,

Martha Sheils
Director, New England Environmental Finance Center

Stormwater Finance Forum

In November, the NEEFC hosted a 1.5 day workshop, Water as a Resource: Financing Opportunities and Challenges for Municipal Stormwater Management at the University of New Hampshire. There were over 120 attendees from every state in New England. A variety of federal, state and local entities attended, and speakers from federal, state, local, and private organizations contributed a diversity of information and experiences. Even the weather cooperated, sending us a downpour right in time for a tour of the UNH Stormwater Center’s LID campus installations. We saw the power of porous pavers, raingardens and bioswales firsthand! 

We’d like to thank our coordinating partners including EPA Region 1, The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, the EPA Water Infrastructure Resiliency Finance Center, and most especially the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center.   

To access materials from the Forum, please click here.

Jamie Houle of UNH's Stormwater Center

For more photos of the forum, please click here

Assisting Bayside

The Portland, Maine, City Council is continuing its climate adaptation planning with funds committed to Phase One of the Bayside Adapts Project with the assistance of the NEEFC as project managers. Bayside is an up-and-coming area of Portland where new businesses have recently located, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and many small enterprises. Bayside is also the most vulnerable city area to the effects of king tides, new precipitation patterns and coastal storm surges, especially when some or all of those factors combine as they did in September 2015 to cause significant flooding (see picture below).
 
A Bayside Adapts Working Group (BAWG) is being staffed by Dr. Jack Kartez of the NEEFC to develop preliminary goals for Phase Two adaptation actions based on multi-interest input. BAWG includes members from the neighborhood associations, business property owners and operators, Portland Trails and the Portland Society for Architecture, among others. An engineering consultant is being selected to assess the drainage and future environmental conditions for Bayside to inform and to define Phase Two. The City Council Sustainability Committee has also launched a Resilient Bayside Design Competition with funds from the National League of Cities which will engage professionals and citizens in ideas for adaptation in coordination with the BAWG process.

For more information, see this article. 
(Photo credit: NH1)

 

Food Recovery and Composting

The NEEFC recently hosted two webinars on Recycling, Food Waste/Food Recovery and Composting: Waste Reduction in K-12 School Cafeterias. Click on the webinar title to view it on YouTube. 

 "Share It – Don’t Trash It!" covers the following themes:
  • How schools can contribute to food recovery by setting up Share Tables and collecting leftover food for composting;
  • How to find out more about the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy (see graphic below);
  • Making the connection between Share Tables and food insecurity facing 47% of Maine's K-12 students;
  • Up-to-date USDA and State of Maine guidelines for Share Tables, Offer vs. Serve and donating food;
  • How to get your school ready to begin sorting trash in the cafeteria to collect recyclables and leftover food for composting;
  • A School Resource Guide listing organizations involved in Food Waste / Food Recovery efforts

 "Compost It -- Don't Trash It!" covers the following themes:
  • How to set up, operate and monitor cafeteria trash sorting programs to collect recyclables and leftover food for composting;
  • Discovering the benefits of recovering leftover food and recyclables: reduce cafeteria trash by 70% to 80%, the potential to save money on hauling costs, leftover food stays out of landfills, and service learning opportunities for students;
  • How to address worries about odor and storage and other in-house concerns that can become barriers to a successful program;
  • A School Resource Guide listing organizations involved in Food Waste / Food Recovery efforts

In addition, the NEEFC was proud to support "Feeding the 5,000", a global event that drew attention to food waste, global hunger, and the cost of wasted food. NEEFC recruited students from local schools to tell their story about why they are passionate about saving food from being wasted and why they compost in school. This year marked the first time that New England held an event as part of the global campaign. It was held in Monument Square in Portland, Maine on October 7th. To read more about the event, please click here.


Of Interest...

Climate Change and Sunny Day Flooding:
An In-Depth Look


Sea level rise is no longer theoretical--it is happening now, a NYTimes article from September says. Citing examples up and down the United States' coastline, communities are experiencing "sunny-day flooding" in which a high tide and brisk wind are all it takes to flood streets and homes. These tidal floods, together with increasingly heavy rain, are wreaking havoc on storm water drainage systems throughout the coastal US. Local governments are bearing the brunt of the cost, having to pay for road repairs, fixing drains, and in the case of Fort Lauderdale, using vacuum trucks to remove seawater off the streets. "But the local leaders say they cannot tackle this problem alone. They are pleading with state and federal governments for guidance and help, including billions to pay for flood walls, pumps and road improvements that would buy them time," the article states. With Congress unable to take significant action at the national level, local governments are left to deal with these problems on their own. And protecting even just a single neighborhood from rising water can cost tens of millions of dollars. This article underscores the support that these communities need, and the importance of preventative action to mitigate future cost.


The article also includes a graphic (above) showing locations of tidal flooding in New England (credit: NYTimes).
 
Upcoming Webinars for Small Water Systems

 

Hosted By: The Environmental Finance Center Network 

Ask the Expert – Advice on Water System Partnerships
Thursday, January 12, 2017 | 2:00-3:00pm EST
(1:00pm-2:00pm CST | 12:00pm-1:00pm MST | 11:00am-12:00pm PST)
Cost: FREE | Register Now

If you are looking to find ways to partner or collaborate with other water systems, you probably have many questions about the process. You may have specific questions regarding something you’ve tried and had difficulty with. This online forum provides individuals with a unique opportunity to ask any and all questions regarding water system partnerships and regionalization. 

Achieving Revenue Stability through Your Water Rate Structure
Thursday, January 19, 2017 | 2:00-3:00pm EST
(1:00pm-2:00pm CST | 12:00pm-1:00pm MST | 11:00am-12:00pm PST)
Cost: FREE | Register Now

The vast majority of a water utility’s revenues is directly dependent on the volume of water sold to customers. Water demand fluctuates from year to year, and numerous studies have shown that average residential demands are decreasing, placing much of a utility’s revenues at risk. The proportion of the revenues that are at risk varies based on the rate structure design. This webinar will explain how demand changes affect revenues, and how water utilities can improve their revenue stability by modifying their rate structure design.
 

We'd Love Your Feedback!

We hope you enjoyed our first newsletter. Our goal is to provide relevant information to communities in New England that support their needs. If you have suggestions for future newsletters, please let us know!






Upcoming Events from EFCN

Ask the Expert – Advice on Water System Partnerships
Thursday, January 12, 2017
2:00-3:00pm EST
Cost: FREE | Register Now

Achieving Revenue Stability Through Your Water Rate Structure
Thursday, January 19, 2017
2:00-3:00pm EST
Cost: FREE | Register Now





About the NEEFC

Founded in 2001, the New England Environmental Finance Center  (NEEFC) strives to build capacity of public and private clients to pay for the growing costs of protecting the environment and to be better prepared to manage both chronic acute problems of environmental protection and finance. We are a founding member of the university-based Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN), a national partnership of EPA Regional Environmental Centers dedicated to advancing innovative solutions to the difficult how-to-pay issues of environmental protection and improvement. The EFCN works with the public and private sectors to promote sustainable environmental solutions while bolstering efforts to manage costs.

Our Programs

We provide technical assistance to communities in New England in several key areas. Click on each to learn more.

Water Resources and Stormwater Management

Climate Risk and Adaptation


School Cafeteria Recycling and Composting

Research and Custom Assistance

Smart Management for Small Water Systems





 














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New England Environmental Finance Center • University of Southern Maine • Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service 
34 Bedford Street, PO Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104 • efc@maine.edu

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