In order to remain healthy, vibrant, safe and economically competitive, America’s counties must be able to anticipate and adapt to all types of change.  Through the Resilient Counties initiative, NACo works with counties and their stakeholders to bolster their ability to thrive amid changing physical, environmental, social and economic conditions.

Hurricanes, wildfires, economic collapse, and other disasters can be natural or man-made, acute or long-term, foreseeable or unpredictable.  Preparation for and recovery from such events requires both long-term planning and immediate action.  

NACo works to strengthen county resiliency by building leadership capacity to identify and manage risk, and allow counties to become more flexible and responsive.  Through the use of sustainable practices and infrastructure, counties will be better prepared to address these issues in a manner that can minimize the impact on local residents and businesses, while helping counties save money.


​Through the initiative, NACo:

  • Develops strategies to foster economic growth and competitiveness, 
  • Educates counties on techniques for implementing resiliency and sustainability strategies,
  • Provides tools for counties to educate their communities on resiliency initiatives, 
  • Identifies ways to leverage changing conditions and take advantage of new technologies and innovation, and 
  • Facilitates an open exchange with the private sector


 Initiative Activities and Resources

Initiative Activities

Within this initiative, NACo is sponsoring trainings, peer networking and resource development to support county leaders and other public- and private-s​ector partners seeking to build county resilience. These include:

Initiative Resources

Below please find presentations delivered at the December 2013 Resilient Counties forum. Click on each speaker’s name to view the presentation.​  View the full forum program here.

Lessons from County Leaders: Partnering to Confront Change

​A panel of county leaders discussed how their communities responded to significant local disasters and the steps they are taking to mitigate potential future disasters, with a particular focus on local and regional partnerships to maintain and improve county operations during times of crisis.

Leveraging Technology Tools to Prepare for Threats

New technologies, innovative mapping tools, mobile applications, social media and other tech resources can revolutionize how counties prepare for and recover from crisis situations. A panel of experts highlighted innovative tools available to counties.

  • Lori Cary-Kothera, Operations Manager  – Science and Geospatial Solutions Division, NOAA Coastal Services Center
  • Jason Hutchens, Solution Sales Engagement Manager – Public Safety (Central Region), Motorola Solutions
  • Rob Welton​, National Business Manager – Enterprise Security, Siemens.  
  • Moderator: Lauren Alexander Augustine, Director – Office of Special Projects on Risk, Resilience, and Extreme Events, National Academy of Sciences

Local Philanthropic, Business and Economic Development Engagement in Recovery Efforts​

The philanthropic community, local business leaders and economic development professionals can play a key role in fostering county resilience. Experienced community leaders described how their organizations have partnered with public- and private-sector leaders in recovery efforts.  View the presentations​.

  • Les Garner, President and CEO, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
  • Karla Twedt-Ball, Vice President for Programs, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation 
  • Robin Barnes, Executive Vice President and COO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.
  • Lon Olejniczak, Senior Vice President, TransAmerica 
  • Cindy Dietz, Director of Corporate Communications, Rockwell Collins
  • Moderator: Gerald McSwiggan, Director of Issue Networks, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Business Civic Leadership Center
Partnership Exercise: Use the chart to map out your network of local partners in various sectors.

“Pervasive Readiness: Pipedream or Possible?” (chapter co-authored by Jason Hutchens, found in McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook: Strategic Guidance for a Coordinated Approach to Effective Security and Emergency Management, Second Edition). Outlines significant lessons learned, best practices, and feasible approaches towards achieving a sustainable state of pervasive readiness.

"A Safe and Integrated City" (article by Rob Welton, Siemens): This paper explores ways that city leaders can work towards the goal of a safe, integrated city and options for financing safety and security technologies for their city.





More »



More »

RSS_Sketch.png County Solutions and Innovation Blog Spotlight:
Resilient Counties
New NACo Report: Tracking County Energy Savings and Emissions Reductions

Blue Earth County Justice Center.jpeg
The Blue Earth County Justice Center in Minnesota is a county-owned ENERGY STAR certified building.

This month, NACo released a new report, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: Tracking County Energy Savings and Emissions Reductions.  The report explores how NACo is helping 97 counties track energy and water consumption for more than 2,079 county-owned buildings using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  It also highlights the benefits counties have seen using the tool, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage.

The ENERGY STAR programis a free suite of products from the EPA that since 1992 has helped reduce energy and wate...

(read more)

2 weeks ago

EDA Announces Up To $35 Million Available for Implementation Grants to Assist Communities in Coal-Impacted Places


The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced that up to $35.5 million in funding is now available through the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative. POWER, which was announced at the end of March, is an EDA-led, coordinated effort among multiple federal agencies using existing resources to provide integrated and coordinated investments in communities and workers negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector.

This new funding opportunity leverages funding from EDA, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).  Funding from these programs has been aligned in this FFO to take a comprehensive approach ...

(read more)

2 weeks ago

NACo Leadership Participates in French-American Forum on Local Governments and Sustainability

Written by Alix Kashdan, Senior Intern, Community and Economic Development

“Road to COP21” banner in the French Embassy.  Source: NACo.

On March 5 and 6, the Embassy of France hosted “Focus 2015: A Forum of Communities for Urban Sustainability” in Washington, D.C.  The two-day conference gathered local government representatives from across the United States and France to discuss and share stories of sustainability and resiliency.  Local governments will play an important role at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, and the Focus 2015 Forum established a dialogue between French and American municipal governments in preparation for the December conference.

The Forum provided educational and discussion opportunities through workshops, panels, roundtables and speakers....

(read more)

2 months ago

NACo Releases New Waste Energy Recovery Issue Brief

Written by Rob Pressly​, NACo Program Manager.​

NACo recently released a new issue brief, Waste Energy Recovery: Renewable Energy from County Landfills.  This new report serves as a guide for county leaders to better understand the process of recovering energy from waste, and provides resources to help counties develop and finance energy-from-waste projects.

Each year, Americans collectively generate about 251 million tons of waste.  Nearly half of this waste is recycled or composted, but that still leaves about 135 tons of waste that get sent to landfills in counties throughout the U.S.  This can pose a number of issues for counties, including:

  • Costs associated with creating new landfills;

  • Costs associated with transporting waste across county or state lines when local landfills retire; and

  • Decreased air quality from methane and carbon dioxide emissions at landfills.

To avoid these issues, counties across the country have turned to alternative methods of handling municipa...

(read more)

3 months ago

Pipeline safety grant opportunity and new resources for counties

Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.
ew Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) Opportunity!
The U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is now accepting applications for the 2015 Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) for communities or impacted stakeholders seeking engineering, or other scientific analysis of issues relating to pipeline infrastructure.  Governmental entities or non-profit groups may qualify for a grant of up to $100,000 per year.  Applicants must be local communities or groups of individuals relating to the safety of pipeline facilities in local communities.  ‘Communities’ are defined as cities, towns, villages, counties, parishes, townships, and similar governmental subdivisions or consortia of such subdivisions.  For-profit entities are not eligible. 

  • The announcement can be found by using the “SEARCH GRANTS” tab at G...

(read more)

3 months ago