Online Courses Now Available!

The Texas Citizen Planner program is for local officials and community stakeholders who want to understand how community planning works and how it shapes development, not for professional planners. The program starts with a 4-unit course. Each unit includes reading materials, case studies, and engaging instruction from planning leaders, practitioners, and researchers. Now Available Online.


Community Planning for Flood Mitigation

  1. Future Flood Management Challenges: Thinking Outside the Box Culvert
    David Fowler, CFM

    This presentation will focus on Nature Based Solutions and Green Infrastructure as an alternative for reducing Flood Risk. However, there is still a need for structural “Grey” Structural flood management infrastructure particularly in Urban areas to reduce flood risk for valuable economic resources and public infrastructure. The trick is to find a balance using Green Infrastructure, and Nature Based Solutions where it is possible and gray infrastructure where needed. The problem is often “Grey” infrastructure is the only alternative considered. David’s presentation discusses national trends in flood management and highlights communities where they are changing this dynamic and using more nature based and green infrastructure.


  1. The Nature Conservancy’s Community Rating System (CRS) Explorer Tool and Green Print
    Lauren Hutch Williams, Ph.D.

    The Nature Conservancy (TNC) works with local partners to identify opportunities for nature-based flood solutions, such as open space protection and wetland restoration, and credits through the CRS program.


  1. State Agency Lunch & Learn, Assistance Programs: Local Benefits of Higher Standards and the CRS Program
    Yi Ling Chan, CFM

    This presentation will provide an overview of the NFIP and CRS programs, highlighting the benefits that can be realized through implementing higher standards, both through more affordable insurance rates, as well as more resilient communities. This presentation will also cover how the Texas Water Development Board, which is the State Coordinating Agency for the NFIP, can help communities with their floodplain management programs.


  1. Resilience Requires Partnership(s)
    Ataul Hannan, P.E., CFM

    The Houston metroplex is the largest population center within FEMA Region 6, affording vast opportunities to change the way communities grow in the face of ever increasing disaster potential. The challenges in this booming urban landscape include: little topographic relief, poor draining soils, and high water tables that are exacerbated by intense and extended rainfall events. In Summer 2018, the City of Houston and Harris County Unincorporated Area passed the most restrictive floodplain management standards, requiring 2 feet of freeboard above the 0.2% annual chance event. Following that, on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s land fall, August 25, 2018, voters approved $2.5 billion in bonds to finance additional flood damage reduction projects throughout Harris County. Building on the response of communities and residents in 2018, the integrated project team, made up of the Harris County Flood Control District, FEMA, and a cast of non-traditional partners are working closely to evolve risk awareness communications and data delivery throughout the 22 watershed project area. This presentation will provide listeners an opportunity to understand how the project planning effort supported an integrated and holistic approach, identifying and planning for these challenges up front.


  1. Steps to Elevation-Elevation 101
    Roderick Scott, CFM

    This program will provide the attendee an overview of the essential steps that are required to be taken to accomplish an elevation project. The elevation project is a critical adaptation project that is required for older high flood risk buildings in FEMA flood zones in order to get the building compliant with FEMA/NFIP minimum elevation requirements. The elevation project greatly lowers flood risk and flood insurance policy rates and stabilizes property values. It is very important for property owners and local government officials to understand the planning, financing and execution of these unique projects.


AICP Certification Maintenance (CM) and Continuing Education Credits (CECs) through the Texas Floodplain Management Association are sometimes offered for events. APA event archive for the Hazard Mitigation and Plan Integration and Flooding and Stormwater courses.


ASFPM’s No Adverse Impact (NAI)

      1. The No Adverse Impact (NAI) Approach to Floodplain Management
        Janet Thigpen, CFM

        No Adverse Impact (NAI) is a framework for improving flood resilience based on the principle that it is not acceptable for any property owner or community to adversely impact the property and rights of others. This approach can be integrated into all local government programs, including floodplain mapping, outreach, planning, regulations, mitigation, infrastructure, and emergency services. The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) has developed a toolkit, a series of how-to guides, and legal resources to support local implementation of NAI strategies.


      1. Flood Hazard Mapping – The Basics and the NAI Approach
        French Wetmore, CFM

        We will review the basic mapping and flood data provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and discuss why and how communities can obtain more accurate and useful data for their floodplain management program.


      1. No Adverse Impact (NAI) Planning for your Floodplain Management Program
        Terri L. Turner, AICP, CFM

        The No Adverse Impacts (NAI) approach to floodplain management advocates for a community-wide position that the actions of a property owner are not allowed to adversely impact the rights of other property owners.  Often, this includes the community adopting higher standards than the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  The NAI approach is founded in constitutional and common law, balancing private property responsibilities and rights with communities’ needs to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.  This legal foundation doesn’t mean your community won’t be sued for adopting and enforcing higher standards, but underscores the defensibility of higher standards if challenged.


      1. Legal Foundations for the No Adverse Impacts Approach to Floodplain Stewardship
        Jerry Murphy, JD, AICP, CFM

        The costs of natural hazards are often made worse by poor planning decisions. Review current environmental and development trends that are driving the need for hazard mitigation planning, and learn about the planning and development practices that can make communities better prepared and more resilient to flooding and storm surge.


Planning Foundations Course

      1. Introduction to Community Planning
        Shannon Van Zandt, Ph.D., AICP

        How do communities and local officials use the planning powers of local government to improve neighborhoods, promote economic development, preserve open space, and protect public safety? Development and placemaking issues concerning sprawl, smart growth, and new urbanism will be covered through an exploration of the planning process to help local officials better understand their planning options and impacts.


      1. Legal Foundations of Community Planning
        Matthew J. Festa, JD

        We will take a look at Texas law and the United States Constitution covering the legal basis and limits of municipal planning powers. The unit will also cover definitive court cases and enabling statutes that outline local planning authority, including issues related to takings, eminent domain, and due process.


      1. Building Communities: From Vision to Policy
        Matt Lewis, CNU-A

        The comprehensive plan, public participation, zoning and other major policy tools are available to municipalities. These tools form the backbone for how communities shape where and how development happens, promote the efficient use of municipal services, and protect public health and safety.


      1. Planning for Community Resilience
        Jaimie Hicks Masterson, AICP, LEED GA

        The costs of natural hazards are often made worse by poor planning decisions. Review current environmental and development trends that are driving the need for hazard mitigation planning, and learn about the planning and development practices that can make communities better prepared and more resilient to flooding and storm surge.


Community Planning for Hazards Course

      1. Tools and Strategies for Hazard Planning
        Earthea Nance, Ph.D., PE, CFM

        The objective of this presentation is to discuss the best practices in flood hazard mitigation planning. The field is currently in transition with both old and new paradigms that are guiding practice across the state of Texas and worldwide. The content is designed for public officials with a general familiarity of the subject, but who seek a deeper understanding that is relevant to practice.


      1. Collective Impact for Resilient Cities: How innovation in planning and design can help cities accomplish more.
        Katie Coyne, AICP, SITES AP, Certified Ecologist-ESA

        Many of the barriers we face when prioritizing and designing projects come from the differences we bring through our values, goals, past experience, the language we use, and individual perspectives. In this talk, we explore ways to coordinate across scales on multi-functional projects that target increased resilience through a more effective and collaborative process.


      1. Planning for Community Resilience through Hazard Mitigation
        David Jackson, CEM

        One challenge of making our communities more resilient, is operating in an environment where there are a lot of variables and unknowns. Keep in mind that the decisions we make today have far reaching consequences. Are the decisions we are making today taking risk into account? Are we positioning our communities for resilience tomorrow, 5 years from now, 10 years from now, and 50 years from now?


These are a non-credit courses leading to a “Citizen Planner” certificate of completion awarded by the Texas Community Watershed Partners, a program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Course materials and online resources will be made available through this site. Upon program completion, students join a network of local officials who are committed to making Texas communities better, safer, more vibrant places to live and work through sound planning practices.

Click Here to Enroll.


Curriculum Archive

For more information about Texas Citizen Planner, please contact Amanda Ashcroft, AICP at


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.