Regional Centers of Excellence

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The Regional Centers of Excellence Initiative (RCE) promotes green infrastructure planning and projects at the regional level by supporting communication and peer-to-peer exchange among regional organizations engaged in this work. By identifying regions with exemplary green infrastructure programs and facilitating peer-to-peer exchange, NARC strives to strengthen existing green infrastructure projects and catalyzing new efforts.

Since 2009, the Initiative has promoted regional green infrastructure planning and implementation by supporting peer-to-peer information sharing among regional planning organizations. Green infrastructure priorities are incorporated into local land use plans, long-range transportation and environmental plans, zoning changes, and other programs at the regional and local level. The full effects of the RCE project on the regions, the stakeholders and their communicates will be visible for years after each project’s completion and extend far beyond its initial boundaries.

2014 Regional Centers of Excellence:

NARC is happy to announce the winners of the 2014 Regional Centers of Excellence: Eastgate Regional Councils of Government and Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council.

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Eastgate Regional Councils of Government (Eastgate): Situated in the heart of the rustbelt, Eastgate has long been a champion for the ecological and economic restoration of the Lower Mahoning River, contaminated from decades of steel production. Eastgate is working on a stakeholder driven comprehensive plan to restore the Lower Mahoning to a free-flowing river, rejuvenate the riparian corridor by re-establishing a forested riparian and green space corridor, and integrating natural stormwater management practices. Eastgate’s background expertly positions them to educate local stakeholders the importance of incorporating riparian forests and green space into local redevelopment plans. Click HERE to read the final report.

“Having been selected as one of two Regional Centers of Excellence in this year’s program is quite an honor,” said John Getchey, Executive Director, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments. “We look forward to increasing our efforts to address green infrastructure in our region and working with NARC in promoting sustainable planning practices.”

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Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (SWFRPC):  SWFRPC’s region strongly supports the implementation of green infrastructure best management practices for the treatment of stormwater. SWFRPC is working with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to plant trees and shrubs to beautify Florida’s roadways. Leveraging this work, they are studying the nutrient uptake by trees and woody shrubbery planted within stormwater conveyance systems. As green infrastructure is currently recognized in county-wide plans as the preferred stormwater management approach, this information will assist counties and municipalities in deciding what types of vegetation to plant in medians, swales, rain gardens, and stormwater ponds. Click HERE to read the final report.

“We at the SWFRPC are thrilled to expand our partnership with NARC to drive our green infrastructure program forward. This project emerged from public participation and potentially holds the key to effective and beautiful stormwater conveyances that better replicate natural processes. The Regional Centers of Excellence program is the perfect match for this work and will provide us with opportunities to transfer our findings to other regions.” – Lisa Beever, Director, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program

Previous Regional Centers of Excellence:

These regions were selected to serve as national models of land conservation and natural resource protection.

Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission: Green Bay, WI  Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission (BLRPC) prepared, published and distributed posters about the benefits and tools for protecting regional green infrastructure. The nine unique posters include one regional map and eight additional versions featuring each of the eight individual counties within the region. In addition to identifying the location of green infrastructure, the posters included essential information on green infrastructure preservation benefits and tools, including zoning changes, transfer of development rights, conservation easements, tourism strategies and transportation planning. Click HERE to read the final report.

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission: Philadelphia, PA   Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) integrated green infrastructure into its Long-Range Plan, Connections- the Regional Plan for a Sustainable Future. DVRPC developed a communications and outreach strategy to increase awareness about green infrastructure and planning tools available to preserve and protect this important resource. DVRPC developed print materials on their green infrastructure conservation programs and approaches, created a new green infrastructure webpage, and increased the number of national and regional public presentations given on their work. Click HERE to read the final report.

Land-of-Sky Regional Council: Asheville, NC   Land-of Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) worked with a multi-disciplinary group of leaders, representing over 40 organizations, from across its four-county region, to develop a regional framework for conservation and development. When LOSRC brought together stakeholders from public, private, and non-profit sources, their efforts gave rise to a series of maps, GIS datasets, information sharing, and other tools used to help guide land use decisions across the region. Click HERE to read the final report.

Houston-Galveston Area Council: Houston, TX  With a long history of successfully implementing and coordinating environmental programs, Houston-Galveston Area Council’s (H-GAC) award winning Eco-Logical project was the focus of this region’s RCE outreach. Eco-Logical promotes livability through the integration of long-range environmental and transportation planning. Click HERE to read the final report.

Copyright © 2013 National Association of Regional Councils