Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (07/14/2016)

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the Senate on June 8, 2016. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act of 2015

(Sec. 4) This bill requires the Department of Commerce to designate as a resilient waterfront community a unit of local government or Indian tribe that meets specified criteria and is:

  • bound in part by the Great Lakes or the ocean, or bordered or traversed by a riverfront or an inland lake;
  • self-nominated as a resilient waterfront community; and
  • designated as one by Commerce on the basis of a community-developed plan.

In making such a designation for inland lake and riverfront communities, Commerce must work with the Environmental Protection Agency and the heads of other federal agencies as necessary.

A resilient waterfront community plan is a community-driven vision and plan developed:

  • voluntarily at the discretion of the community to respond to local needs or take advantage of new water-oriented opportunities;
  • with the leadership of the relevant governmental entity or Indian tribe and the active participation of community residents, utilities, and interested business and nongovernmental stakeholders;
  • in consideration of all applicable state and federal coastal zone management planning;
  • to address economic competitive strengths; and
  • to complement and incorporate the objectives and recommendations of regional economic plans.

A resilient waterfront community plan shall consider all, or a portion of, the waterfront area and adjacent land and water to which it is connected ecologically, economically, or through local governmental or tribal boundaries, and integrate consideration of:

  • the economic opportunities resulting from water proximity and access and the community's relationship to the water;
  • ecosystem challenges and projections, including extreme weather and water conditions;
  • infrastructure needs and opportunities to facilitate specified strategic and sustainable capital investments; and
  • such other factors that align with metrics or indicators for resiliency, considering environmental and economic changes.

After the designation of a resilient waterfront community, its plan may be effective for a 10-year period.

(Sec. 5) Commerce must: (1) develop and maintain a resilient waterfront communities network to facilitate the sharing of best practices among waterfront communities; and (2) recognize such communities formally and publicly to promote tourism, investment, or other benefits.

(Sec. 6) Commerce may use existing authority to support:

  • the development of a resilient waterfront community plan, including planning and feasibility analysis; and
  • the implementation of strategic components after the plan has been approved.

A lead nonfederal partner (a local government or Indian tribe) may contract with an eligible nonfederal implementation partner (a nonprofit organization, a public utility, a private entity, an institution of higher education, a state government, or a regional organization) for implementation activities, such as site preparation, environmental review, acquisition of easements or land for uses for green infrastructure, construction of public waterfront or boating amenities and public spaces, and infrastructure upgrades to improve coastal resiliency.

In developing a plan, a resilient waterfront community, among other eligible planning activities, may:

  • conduct community visioning and outreach; and
  • collaborate across local agencies and work with regional, state, and federal agencies to identify, understand, and develop responses to changing ecosystem and economic circumstances.

Assistance may be furnished to:

  • initiate implementation of a resilient waterfront community plan and facilitate high-quality development, including leveraging local and private sector investment; and
  • address strategic community priorities identified in the plan.

The lead nonfederal partner shall ensure that assistance and resources received by it to advance its resilient waterfront community plan and for related activities are used for the purposes of any initiative advanced by Commerce to promote waterfront community revitalization and resiliency.

A resilient waterfront community that receives assistance under this bill shall furnish nonfederal funds from entities eligible to be nonfederal implementation partners toward the completion of planning or implementation activities.

(Sec. 7) At regular intervals Commerce must give a list of resilient waterfront communities to the applicable states and the heads of national and regional offices of interested federal agencies.

(Sec. 8) Nothing in this bill may be construed as establishing new authority for any federal agency.