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The Texas Hill Country is prone to both prolonged drought and catastrophic flash floods. These extremes will only get more intense with climate change. This issue paper introduces some of the nature-based and green infrastructure strategies available to reduce the impacts of flooding in the Hill Country. These solutions can be implemented at multiple scales, from the site or building level, throughout a community, or across an entire region or landscape.

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This annotated bibliography synthesizes recent studies and reports on the performance of natural and nature-based infrastructure. These resources can be used to inform the Regional Flood Planning Groups on natural infrastructure techniques as they develop flood management evaluations (FMEs), flood management projects (FMPs), and flood management strategies (FMSs).

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With hurricane seasons intensifying and built development proliferating, natural infrastructure represents a critical avenue for the Houston-area to both protect itself from future flooding and ensure livable green spaces for its communities.

This report provides an overview of natural infrastructure and associated terms. It outlines the benefits of this approach and highlights seven existing natural infrastructure projects in Houston. It also provides details on a number of proposed projects still open to funding.

The report was developed in collaboration with Bayou City Waterkeeper, Bayou Land Conservancy, Bayou Preservation Association, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Galveston Bay Foundation, Houston Advanced Research Center, Katy Prairie Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation.

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The polar vortex that descended on Texas from February 13 to 17, 2021 exposed not only the state’s ill-prepared electric grid, but also our aging, inadequate water infrastructure. As the Texas Legislature, state agencies, and local communities examine and address the failures that led to widespread suffering, loss of life, and economic harm during this winter storm and its aftermath, we urge decision-makers to consider how we might approach our water infrastructure differently as well.

We offer the following high-level policy recommendations to help ensure that all Texans have reliable access to safe drinking water, that their wastewater is properly treated, that the systems providing these essential services can quickly recover from shocks and stresses, and that our water utilities are equipped to adapt and grow from disruptive events.

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