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Climate change is posing new and sustained challenges for communities across Massachusetts. Rising temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns have increased the frequency and magnitude of droughts and flooding in the region. Yet many communities statewide lack inclusion of climate resilience measures, like low impact development (LID) and other nature-based climate solutions, in their local regulations and bylaws. Oftentimes, climate impacts are actually amplified by unsustainable land development practices. 

Mass Audubon and partnering NGOs, including Mass Rivers Alliance, and regional agencies developed a comprehensive curriculum program "Building Community Resilience Through Local Regulations" to improve community climate resiliency in Massachusetts. The curriculum comprises 8 modules, each of which provides guidance on different components of sustainable development and the Mass Audubon Bylaw Review Tool that assesses local regulations with a conservation lens. The goal of this educational resource is to provide communities (planners, municipal staff, and interested members of the public) the tools and knowledge necessary to make LID more accessible in their land use regulations and bylaws. 

Each module below includes a detailed participant guide to bylaws and best practices, and PowerPoint presentation with applicable speaker notes. Please note that the PowerPoint presentations are customizable, but the acknowledgements slide should always be retained. Click on the links below for the full curriculum content! 

For more related resources, check out the SNEP Network's StoryMap and recorded webinars

Building Community Resilience Through Local Regulations

rain garden roundabout as an example of green infrastructure

Module 1:
Let Nature Do the Work!

The value of green infrastructure & climate change resilience.


Module 1 Participant Guide >>

Module 1 Presentation >>

rain garden of an example of stormwater management

Module 2:
LID 101


Implementation of low impact development techniques for stormwater management. 


Module 2 Participant Guide >>

Module 2 Presentation >>

Charles River in Cambridge during spring by Chris Mok

Module 3:
The Power of a Bylaw, 
Part I


Roles and responsibilities for implementing bylaws.


Module 3 Participant Guide >>

Module 3 Presentation >>

Module 4:
The Power of a Bylaw, 
Part II


Making LID the new standard.


Module 4 Participant Guide >>

Module 4 Presentation >>

parking lot with flooding during  a storm

Module 5:
Implementing LID


Case studies & examples.


Module 5 Participant Guide >>

Module 5 Presentation >>

spreadsheet chart

Module 6:
Bylaw Review

How to give regulations the LID  tune-up.  

Module 6 Participant Guide >>

Module 6 Presentation >>

Module 7:
State & Regional Guides



State and regional guides & resources.

Module 7 Participant Guide >>

Module 7 Presentation >>

group of people at a presentation

Module 8:
Implementing Regulatory Updates


What's next for local communities?

Module 8 Participant Guide >>

Module 8 Presentation >>

climate resiliency poster

Additional Resources

The bylaw curriculum was funded in part by the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Network, a cooperative agreement between the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Southeast New England Program and the New England Environmental Finance Center, and the Lookout Foundation. The curriculum was developed by SNEP Network Partners Mass Audubon, Cape Cod Commission, the Southeast Regional Planning and Economic Development District, and the Blackstone Watershed Collaborative in partnership with Mass Rivers Alliance and the Citizen Planner Training Collaborative. 

mass audubon logo
Mass Rivers Alliance logo
SNEP logo
NEEFC logo
lookout foundation logo
blackstone watershed collaborative logo
cape cod commission logo
CPTC logo
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