Lincoln’s Climate Action Plan is Already Making an Impact

I left a meeting with the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force in Lincoln last week feeling excited and proud of the great work Lincoln has done in just nine months since the City adopted its Climate Action Plan!

Verdis Group co-created Lincoln’s Climate Action Plan throughout 2019 and 2020 and the plan was formally adopted in March 2021. The City is collaborating with Lincoln Public Schools and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to scale up the impact.

Here are some highlights of the the progress Lincoln has made since the Climate Action Plan was adopted earlier this year:

  • One of our main recommendations to the City was to prioritize securing a second source for water. Lincoln’s current and only source has been impacted by heavy flooding from extreme weather events, and climate change will only exacerbate this risk. Lincoln officials said they are examining local resources and discussing funding options with federal partners to near a decision. 
  • The City recently formed a Salt Creek Resiliency Task Force to focus on floodplain management measures along Salt Creek, which runs through downtown Lincoln and gets most of the stormwater runoff generated within the entire county. This is great news for the vulnerable populations that live alongside it.
  • Sustainable agriculture initiatives are gaining momentum. The City updated its contracts with tenant farmers to require that they use regenerative agricultural practices on all City-owned land.
  • The City is already transitioning its fleet to electric and low emission vehicles. 
  • Lincoln Public Schools, a district of about 42,000 students, now diverts a majority (54%) of its waste from the landfill thanks to increased composting and recycling. Verdis Group advised LPS two years ago on sustainable features they could incorporate into two planned high schools. The construction of those schools is now underway, and each site is filled with climate-smart features including bio-retention cells, permeable pavement, wetlands, and other additions such as EV chargers.
  • The Climate Action Plan is inspiring residents to launch their own efforts. The Mayor’s Environmental Task Force heard examples including high schoolers starting a hydroponic garden and church groups starting tree-planting projects. These decentralized projects are a positive sign that residents feel a sense of shared ownership of the City’s goals. 
  • Lincoln’s success to date, in part, has inspired the City of Omaha to pursue their own Climate Action Plan. We expect to see a lot more about that project early next year.

Keep up the great work, Lincoln! To learn more about our climate planning process at Verdis Group, visit our website to download our free guide to creating a successful Climate Action Plan and read about our new Net Zero Pathway model. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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