What we do

Reducing flood risk, strengthening communities

FloodWise Community Assistance is a free program offering technical assistance to decrease flood risk and strengthen communities. FloodWise provides communities with:

Project Planning

We identify mitigation solutions and help develop funding strategies to support community goals.

Capacity Building

Our team helps with stakeholder coordination, facilitates trainings, and creates peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

Customized Research

We provide economic analyses, data visualizations, and policy audits to answer community questions.

Land Use Planning

We provide recommendations to reduce flood risk through plan and codes for land use and land cover.  

Project Planning

Our goal is to help communities develop projects that will:

  • generate multiple local benefits, including creating parks and recreational trails, improving water quality, and restoring wetlands;
  • stand up to future severe weather; and
  • align with community plans for economic development and growth.

Capacity Building

  • Building regional partnerships. We believe regional and watershed approaches are the most effective ways to decrease flood risk. We help coordinate partnerships that cross jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Training, workshops, conferences. We offer trainings on an as-needed basis. Workshops might include conducting benefit-cost analyses, building a funding strategy, and communicating flood risk. Check out this video on Flood Funding 101 and handout from the 2020  Building Blocks for Regional Resilience workshop in southern Minnesota.
  • Sharing lessons among communities. We connect community leaders with experienced specialists in other communities and facilitate peer-to-peer learning.

Customized Research

  • Economic analyses. We help quantify the economic benefits of reducing flood risk through open space protection, ecosystem services valuation, water quality improvements, and other positive outcomes. We also help communities understand their fiscal opportunities and constraints, including the costs of long-term operations and maintenance of mitigation projects.
  • Data visualizations and tools. We translate our research into approachable data visualizations and interactive online tools that can be used by local officials, residents, and other stakeholders to help communicate the pros and cons of projects.
  • Policy analysis. Our research questions emerge from on-the-ground community problems. By taking a bottom-up approach to research, we help solve real problems while also amplifying community voices to inform broader policy decisions.

Land Use Planning

  • Building and zoning code analysis. We review community plans and codes to compile recommendations as to how they can reduce regulatory conflict, compliment economic development goals, and ensure flood risk is integrated into a community’s development goals.
  • Support for community engagement. We help bring together diverse stakeholders in the community to ensure relevant voices, expertise and resources are directed to the land use planning process.
  • Floodplain mapping implementation. Our research can help communities understand the utility of existing floodplain maps, and how they can be used to reduce flood risk and guide the development of projects with diverse benefits.