The community of Cincinnati is seeking to address the increasing risks posed by extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change, such as flooding and sewer backups. These events cost the city millions of dollars annually and disproportionately affect the health and well-being of underserved communities. The City of Cincinnati aims to change its policies and practices to harness the opportunities presented by this unique moment in time and create amore sustainable and resilient environment for all residents. Priority actions include incentivizing green infrastructure projects in vulnerable communities, restructuring sewer rates equitably, and transforming the city into a “sponge city” with diverse green elements.

To accomplish these goals, FUSE Executive Fellow Valorie Aquino will work with city, community, and private stakeholders to develop a climate adaptation strategy focused on the metropolitan sewer infrastructure. She will thoroughly analyze climate risks and vulnerability assessments, engage with stakeholders through a listening tour, and build a diverse coalition to pursue funding and create recommendations for climate resilience efforts. Valorie will prioritize the inclusion of historically marginalized communities and learn from successful programs worldwide to develop sector-specific best practices. By the end of the Fellowship, Valorie will have integrated the assessment into an actionable plan, formed a sustainable cross-organizational coalition, and attracted funding to mitigate storm impacts while prioritizing environmental justice and equity.