State Policy Program Focal Areas

Climate Adaptation

Climate change and sea level rise pose challenges for state and local governments. Adaptation to climate change and sea level rise will require a mixture of planning, investment and operational changes. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions is collaborating with state and local governments, utilities, and private decision makers to better understand options and develop innovative solutions to adapt to these new challenges.

Water Quality

States and local governments across the country are struggling to develop new strategies to address nutrient pollution and other water quality challenges. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions has been a resource for local governments, state agencies, and other stakeholders to help design cost-effective policies and practices to protect and restore water quality in state watersheds.

Accounting for the Value of Green Infrastructure

Water utilities across the country are increasingly turning to green infrastructure to help manage storm water and waste water. Green infrastructure can include a range of natural environments, such as forests, riparian buffers, and green space, as well as human‐built infrastructure such as constructed wetlands, rain gardens, and green roofs. Current accounting standards do not provide a way for water utilities to account for the benefits provided by these “green assets,” so water utilities can’t easily demonstrate the full savings they provide. The Nicholas Institute's State Policy Program seeks to develop alternate accounting approaches to make the value of green infrastructure visible and easily understood by multiple stakeholders. We are working in partnership with Earth Economics with funding generously provided by the Water Environment Research Foundation.