“Thanks to the Urban Conservancy for this fantastic initiative. FYI is transforming water management one house at a time!”
“[Referring to the August 5, 2017 flooding] Thought you would like to know that our yard did beautifully yesterday!” Owners of a Broadmoor house that used to get 8 inches of standing water in their front yard after a hard rain before they participated in FYI.
Becky and Christopher
“I am so happy I heard about this program! After removing the concrete from my yard, I was able to walk in my yard during the rain without wearing boots for the first time since buying the house. Aside from the benefit of improved drainage, the yard looks so much nicer without all the concrete. Your process was very clear and easy to follow. You were tremendously helpful in answering any questions I had and guiding me along the way.”
“I actually just refinanced my house. It gained $60,000 in value in 2.5 years and the appraiser put some real weight on the landscaping. Believe it or not, removing broken and ugly concrete and getting a little landscaping can improve your house value quite a bit!
“This project is driving equitable access to better stormwater management practices in New Orleans. Thank you!”
“I feel like the FYI project and process was a huge success for me and everyone there was great to work with. I love the way my property looks with the greenery and the large variety of plants in the front and along the side of the driveway. I also believe my front area and front room of my basement have been flooding a lot less during rainstorms since I replaced the cement with grass.”
FYI in the Press
New Orleans: Ready Or Not? Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands WWNO interviews FYI Project Manager, Felice Lavergne about why homeowner level interventions are important for our city’s resilience. “New Orleans is a city that floods. Even a small storm can leave streets impassable. City officials say they’re working on solutions, but they’re also asking citizens to help out.”
WWNO | July 2018
“The Front Yard Initiative developed by the Urban Conservancy in New Orleans, is an incentive program that reimburses eligible homeowners $2.50 per square foot of paving removed – up to 500 square feet – for a maximum of $1,250. This reduces runoff, allows groundwater recharge, improves resiliency, and has a host of other benefits.”
Chicago Sun-Times | February 2018
“So instead of checking off her list of interior renovations she’d like to do, Gielic spent her time and money on redeveloping her front yard. ‘I could have redone my bathroom or got central AC, but I really wanted a nice garden” she said.
For assistance, Gielic applied to the Front Yard Initiative, a program of the Urban Conservancy which reimburses homeowners for ripping out concrete on their property and replacing it with green space to help stormwater management. Gielic removed 500 square feet of paving and was reimbursed $1,250 by the program.”
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | February 2018
“LifeCity announced the winners of its ‘Love Your City Awards’ on January 26. Local businesses were recognized for environmental and social justice achievements.
‘The Love Your City Awards are important for two reasons. First, they celebrate the incredible impact of often untold stories and unsung heroes already succeeding in this work,’ said Liz Shephard, the founder and CEO of LifeCity. ‘And secondly, they inspire us to dig deeper and innovate new ways of growing our economy while strengthening our community and environment.’’’
The Urban Conservancy took home the Stormwater Leadership Award.
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | January 2018
“Rain poses a more regular threat than hurricanes in New Orleans – but it’s also an untapped asset.
“The concept of living with water rather than fighting against it is ‘becoming part of the common language’ says Dana Eness, executive director of the Urban Conservancy, a local nonprofit that has been involved in various educational efforts around stormwater management. Eness says her organization can’t keep up with demand for its Front Yard Initiative, a program administered with philanthropic support that pays homeowners to rip up concrete in their front yards and install water-loving plants and permeable materials in place.”
American Planning Association | January 2018
“This August, a freak rainstorm flooded some neighborhoods to levels not seen since Hurricane Katrina, a reminder of the mayhem water can inflict on a bowl-shaped city that lies below sea level. Hundreds of residents filed damage claims in the following week. Businesses reported thousands of dollars’ worth of damaged goods.
“But Lloyd and Renz’s home was unscathed by the August storm. That’s because a year and a half ago, weary of the constant flooding, they drastically overhauled their front yard with guidance from the Urban Conservancy, a local nonprofit that helps homeowners manage water sustainably through their Front Yard Initiative.
“‘The initiative is part of a broader effort to shift the way New Orleanians think about stormwater,’ explained Project Manager Felice Lavergne. ‘We need to slow it down, spread it out, absorb it into the ground, and the pumps should be our last line of defense,’ says Lavergne.
“In any iteration, the project is driven by one philosophy: You need to own your water.”
CityLab | October 2017
“In a flood-prone city that has a Sewerage & Water Board, a local levee board and the Corps of Engineers helping keep us dry, the Front Yard Initiative is a reminder that individual homeowners can and do play a big role in managing the water in their neighborhoods. The initiative pays homeowners $2.50 for every square foot of impervious paving they remove and replace with a surface that better manages water.
“There’s a certain helplessness that accompanies flooding, especially flooding of the variety that New Orleans experienced Saturday. You were forced to wait on the city’s pumps to do their job. But Dana Eness, Executive Director of the Urban Conservancy, suggested that we’re not as helpless as we can think. There are things we can do – beyond cleaning out the catch basins on our street – to mitigate the heavy rains that we are sure to get.”
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | August 2017