Success Story: Resilience in Hazard Mitigation Plan

New Bern integrates resilience into hazard mitigation plan

Project Purpose

Hurricane Florence caused significant damage across North Carolina when it struck in 2018. It brought a nearly 11-foot storm surge into New Bern. The 1,000-year flood damaged over 4,500 homes and businesses in the city, causing almost $100 million in flood damages. In response, the City merged its Resilience Plan and Hazard Mitigation Plan to highlight vulnerabilities and recommend helpful strategies for building a path towards climate resilience.

Quick Facts

  • The City of New Bern is located between the Neuse and Trent rivers in a low-lying, coastal region of North Carolina.
  • The City released its Resiliency and Hazard Mitigation Plan in 2022.
  • As of December 2023, two projects outlined in the Resiliency and Hazard Mitigation Plan are in the planning and development phases.

Hazard mitigation and climate adaptation - What's the difference?

"The key difference between hazard mitigation and climate adaptation is that hazard mitigation encompasses all natural hazards, including short-term, episodic events that may or may not be connected to climate change. Climate adaptation efforts and plans are focused on reducing the risk to and mitigating impacts from actual or expected causes of climate change. As natural disasters cross geographic boundaries and increase in frequency and intensity, the need to support intersecting plans is greater than ever. Adapting to the expected impacts of climate change is a form of hazard mitigation. A hazard mitigation plan that addresses climate change in its risk assessment and includes adaptation actions in its mitigation strategy may reduce risk to current and future events” (FEMA, 2022, pp. 6-7).

See more examples of local plans in North Carolina that incorporate climate resilience.

Spotlight on Equity

Hurricane Florence did significant damage to housing in vulnerable neighborhoods. Many of the flooded neighborhoods were among the poorest communities in New Bern. Duffyfield, one of these flooded neighborhoods, is the first seeing the plan’s projects come to fruition. As of December 2023, the beginning phases of a canal restoration project and a stormwater enhancement project were already underway in Duffyfield.

In addition, several actions in the plan focus on providing extra support to New Bern residents who may have a harder time preparing for and responding to climate hazards. Example actions include:

  • Working with organizations and retailers to establish a farmers’ market or grocery store in food desert areas — neighborhoods that don’t have easy access to affordable, fresh and healthy food.
  • Working directly with leaders in vulnerable, culturally significant neighborhood communities to identify, communicate and promote affordable mitigation and adaptation opportunities for homes older than 50 years.


Community members attend a workshop on the New Bern Resiliency and Hazard Mitigation Plan. (Source: City of New Bern)
Community members attend a workshop on the New Bern Resiliency and Hazard Mitigation Plan. (Source: City of New Bern)
Key Info
Location New Bern, N.C.
Estimated Costs $90,000
Published March 1, 2024
Project Contact
Colleen Roberts
Public Information Officer and Brand Manager
City of New Bern
(252) 639-2707
Related Resources
Tab/Accordion Items

  • NC Emergency Management (NCEM) provided guidance on the document’s development.
  • To aggregate content for the plan, the city went through a robust public participation phase. Staff reached out to churches and community groups to gather historical data, solicit input on community needs and gather input on the plan’s proposed strategies.
  • New Bern released its Resiliency and Hazard Mitigation Plan in 2022. The document outlines a list of actions, mitigation procedures and priority projects.
  • As of December 2023, the design work for two priority projects, the Duffyfield Stormwater Enhancement Project and Duffyfield Canal Restoration Project, were underway.
    • The Stormwater Enhancement Project aims to enlarge an existing pond to a 5-acre stormwater treatment facility. The City is redesigning its stormwater capacity and channelizing stormwater runoff into Rose Street Pond. On flood-prone lands acquired from FEMA, the City is developing a network of wetlands with native plants and natural filtration. This wetland park will incorporate recreational and education opportunities.
    • The Canal Restoration Project will modify a stormwater pump inlet to help prevent nuisance flooding.

  • The cost to develop the Plan was $90,000.
  • Following Hurricane Florence, the City received well over $90,000 from the Duke Energy Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation Development, NC Department of Environmental Quality Division of Coastal Management, NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, State Attorney General’s Environmental Enhancement Grant, Wells Fargo Foundation and Craven County Community Foundation. Using this funding, the City developed its Resiliency and Hazard Mitigation Plan, hired a grant writer and began the initial phases of the two Duffyfield projects.
  • The Duffyfield Stormwater Enhancement project will cost around $6 million. Funding will go towards projects designed to decrease the severity of nuisance flooding, including the reconstruction of a water pump on East Rose Street, among others. The Golden LEAF Foundation provided an additional $249,760 for construction in 2023.
  • Implementation funding will also go towards modifications to an existing stormwater pump built in 2011 along the Duffyfield Canal.

City of New Bern, NCEM

  • The plan provides an overview of risks from natural hazards and climate change and discusses opportunities to build resilience. Action items include establishing health centers in the city’s most vulnerable areas, partnering with financial institutions to offer community workshops on planning for flood risk, exploring potential property acquisitions and more.
  • The plan categorizes goals and actions into six resiliency pillars: health and safety, housing, economy, infrastructure, natural resources and cultural heritage.
  • New Bern continues to make progress on plan implementation. The plan has even spurred additional flood resilience projects.

The City of New Bern’s Community and Economic Development Manager offered some advice: “Every community should have some foresight into planning out their resiliency. It gets difficult because [a resilience plan] is not mandated by legislation but is still an important part of operations. In eastern North Carolina especially, we live in a part of the state that can be impacted by hurricanes every year, but planning around this is important for any town.”

City Community and Economic Development Manager also noted that the Resiliency and Hazard Mitigation Plan has been simple to execute and produced reasonable and desirable outcomes because of how well it was written. The real difficulty with projects like these, shared the manager, is not the planning but the funding and resources required to put it into place.

New Bern Public Information Officer and Brand Manager Colleen Roberts noted that outreach efforts have been received very positively. “We’ve spoken to local civic groups and held public listening sessions with questions and answers at our recreation center and City Hall. Homeowners and business owners have been particularly interested in ways they can improve resiliency within their respective properties.”

FEMA. (2022, April 19). Retrieved from Local Mitigation Planning Policy Guide:

The City of New Bern. (2022, January). Resiliency. Retrieved from

WithersRavenel. (2022, March 23). Duffyfield Neighborhood Turns a Community Liability into a Park. Retrieved from