Washoe County has won the DeBoer Award in the category of Outstanding Cultural and Environmental Plan for its Green Recovery Plan. The award was presented by the Nevada Chapter of the American Planning Association to recognize excellence in planning projects and individual initiatives.
Washoe County’s Green Recovery Plan was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to address the physical, mental, and economic health of residents. The plan integrates disaster risk reduction measures into the revitalization of livelihoods and economies. The plan also incorporates lessons learned from the pandemic to better prepare for similar challenges in the future.
“I’m proud of Washoe County’s foresight in creating the Green Recovery Plan,” Sustainability Manager Brian Beffort said. “This document lays out the foundation to make our communities more resilient in the face of the next pandemic … or whatever other challenges come our way.”
The pandemic also illuminated other vulnerabilities in the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area: the links between climate change induced heat and air pollution, and the intensity of infectious diseases. The fragility of our mass transit infrastructure and the difficulty for vulnerable populations to access sufficient, healthy food needed to be addressed. The County developed the Green Recovery Plan, which includes the following goals and strategies, in response to these vulnerabilities.
Washoe County is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. The county is also working to enhance its resilience to climate change impacts such as wildfire, drought, flooding, and extreme heat. There is a commitment to strengthening food security and increasing access to healthy foods for all residents. The county is working to invest in equitable, multimodal transportation infrastructure that will make it easier for people to get around without relying on cars. There is also a commitment to establishing an urban forestry program that will expand the urban tree canopy and provide several benefits to the community. By implementing these initiatives, Washoe County is committed to becoming a more sustainable and resilient community.