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Research Reports

ELI publishes Research Reports available for free download that present the analysis and conclusions of the policy studies ELI undertakes to improve environmental law and policy. These reports contribute to education of the profession and disseminate diverse points of view and opinions to stimulate a robust and creative exchange of ideas. Those publications, which express opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of the Institute, its Board of Directors, or funding organizations, exemplify ELI’s commitment to dialogue with all sectors.

Financing & Incentivizing Floodplain Buyouts: A Guide

Financing and Incentives Guide for Floodplain Buyouts

Environmental Law Institute, University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment
December 2017

Our Financing & Incentives guide is based on a review of what communities across the country are doing to make floodplain acquisitions a reality. We provide an overview of the sources and types of funds that exist and can be used to contribute to acquisition projects. Key insights provide a concise summary of how to approach this critical component of a successful buyout project.   Read More >

Prioritizing Future Floodplain Acquisitions (Cover)

Prioritizing Future Floodplain Acquisitions: Maximizing Opportunities for Habitat Restoration, Community Benefits, and Resilience

Environmental Law Institute, University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment
December 2017

This guide provies local governments and communities with ideas for proactively planning floodplain acquisitions and related projects in order to maximize community benefits. Understanding that mitigating risk and getting people out of harm's way are the main objectives of such projects, floodplain buyouts also provide opportunities for restoring habitat, improving resilience, and creating outdoor or recreation opportunities. Read More >

Green Infrastructure for Chesapeake Stormwater Management: Legal Tools for Clima

Green Infrastructure for Chesapeake Stormwater Management: Legal Tools for Climate Resilient Siting

Cynthia R. Harris & James McElfish
August 2017

One of the greatest impacts of climate change on the Chesapeake Bay watershed will be stormwater management. The Chesapeake region is in the position to take national leadership on the issue of climate change impacts to our vulnerable coastal communities. Rather than resorting to retreat, or relying on conventional stormwater strategies already proving ineffective, the people of Maryland and Virginia have an opportunity to demonstrate their resiliency in the face of change. Read More >

Legal Risk Analysis for Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies in San Diego

Legal Risk Analysis for Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies in San Diego

David Roche, Teresa Chan, Rebecca Kihslinger
June 2017

Adapting to sea level rise raises significant legal questions for local governments, especially in California. On the one hand, taking action could decrease risk to the community, but increase litigation risk from aggrieved property owners or public interest groups, depending on the nature of the action. On the other hand, a local government could decide not to act, exposing people and infrastructure to excess risk, while potentially exposing itself to litigation if the lack of action causes harm to individuals or public trust property. Risk is thus unavoidable. Read More >

Legal Risk Analysis for Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies in San Diego: Execu

Legal Risk Analysis for Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies in San Diego: Executive Summary

David Roche, Teresa Chan, Rebecca Kihslinger
June 2017

Sea level rise raises significant legal questions for local governments, especially in California. On the one hand, taking action could decrease risk to the community, but increase litigation risk from aggrieved property owners or public interest groups, depending on the nature of the action. On the other hand, a local government could decide not to act, exposing people and infrastructure to excess risk, while potentially exposing itself to litigation if the lack of action causes harm to individuals or public trust property. Risk is thus unavoidable. Read More >