Growing up in Southbridge, a Delaware neighborhood that is just above sea level, Marie Reed was used to flooded homes, yards and streets. So when Hurricane Ida caused flooding in the fall of 2021, she was prepared. But her street didn’t flood, and she credits the $30-million South WIlmington Wetlands Park with absorbing stormwater like a sponge. Now a boardwalk winds through the formerly contaminated 14-acre marsh, and great blue herons and Canada geese dot the park. Like Reed, Angela Chalk grew up in a city that often floods - New Orleans. She believes respectful collaboration among residents, policymakers, academics, and community organizations can ensure green infrastructure projects reflect the needs of communities of color. Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has spent more than $260 million on green infrastructure, moving away from levees, flood walls, and pumps.

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