Step 3: Set Your Community’s Visions and Goals

As local decision-makers know, comprehensive planning takes more than an internal review of flood and stormwater system conditions and management challenges. It takes genuine community and stakeholder engagement to set visions and goals that reflect community values and identify performance metrics in line with those visions and goals.

Navigate the Flood Step 3 provides decision-makers and technical staff alike a framework for setting your community’s flood and stormwater management visions and goals that incorporates the conditions and priorities identified in Steps 1 and 2, as well as the perspectives and aspirations of all interested stakeholders. Explore Subsections (a)-(d) below to walk through the engagement framework in Step 3 towards navigating the flood. Each Subsection includes case studies and technical and financial resources that will help you set visions and goals for your community. If you’re looking for information on how to build a detailed engagement plan, check out the Guide’s Stakeholder Engagement Plan

After working through Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3, your community will be poised to dive into identifying the best flood and stormwater management solutions to meet your community’s needs.

(a) Integrate community values with strategic planning and priorities through a public engagement process.

  • Continue engagement with community and utility leaders
  • Engage community stakeholders in developing goals and strategy identification and selection
  • Use a range of environmental, social, and economic (“Triple Bottom Line”)  criteria to create a broad foundation/ basis and equity considerations for comparison of strategy development and analysis (Step 4)
  • Reference the Stakeholder Engagement Plan

Case Study

(b) Clearly develop and articulate goals (both short and long term).

  • Reference the list of assets/ elements that may require immediate action identified in Step 2 and develop short term infrastructure and managerial goals accordingly 
  • Engage in integrated planning by developing long term goals that align with regulatory requirements, and balance  operational efficiency, cost savings, equity and resilience through triple bottom line benefits 

Are your goals as equitable as they could be?

  • Compliance 
    • Consider how you’re approaching regulatory compliance and consider communities that are impacted by % flooding/polluted stormwater runoff that still may not be mitigated upon meeting regulatory requirements
  • Cost-effectiveness 
    • Consider “Triple Bottom Line” criteria – are you sacrificing social and environmental benefits (and for who?) for immediate economic relief?
  • Maintainability
    • Consider where maintenance has historically been delayed 
  • Reliability
    • Consider where infrastructure is more likely to fail due to delayed maintenance  
  • Accessibility
    • Consider where and how easily residents are able to access streams (if recreation is feasible) and “greened streets,” often providing shade and other community benefits   
  • Public health and Community Livability 
    • Consider neighborhoods that are built next to environmental hazards (ex: CSO outfall, other environmental justice areas)
  • Economic development
    • Consider allocating funds to community members/organizations directly during the planning process, actual project implementation, and/or maintenance via the creation of “green jobs,” recognizing local community members as the experts and co-developers of the most sustainable solutions 
  • Environmental Impact 
    • Consider health and diversity of natural, urban waterways

Case Study


Do your goals consider potential impacts of climate change?

Case Study


(c) Develop objectives and strategies to achieve goals and set performance metrics.

  • Establish objectives to reach goals, criteria to reach objectives and quantitative metrics to clearly measure goal attainment (See below example sourced from CCMU Wet Weather Case Study)

(d) Identify low hanging fruit in line with goals to achieve quick wins and build project momentum.

  • Conduct a cost benefit analysis
    • In this case, the ratio should result in significant benefit  > cost
      • The cost benefit analysis should include a multiple benefits (“Triple Bottom Line”) approach to capture the full scope of GSI etc.


All Step 3 Resources

Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority: A Wet Weather Case Study of Incorporating Community Interests into Effective Infrastructure Decision Makings | US EPA, 2018

See specific sections: The Problem: Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), Need for a Long-Term Control Plan, and Camden’s Sewershed Alternatives Analysis

Power Corps PHL | Americorps

PowerCorpsPHL is a cross-sector collaborative model that engages disconnected young adults and returning citizens to the environment and new careers.

One Water Roadmap | US Water Alliance, 2016

See specific sections: Watershed-scale thinking and action, Arenas for Action and Arenas and Strategies for Action to work on developing goals

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Municipal Stormwater Programs | US EPA, 2008

This resource outlines the purpose and evaluates the effectiveness of municipal stormwater programs.

Tap into Resilience Toolkit | WaterNow Alliance

This toolkit addresses financial and legal questions that arise when scaling investment in decentralized stormwater management solutions.

An Equitable Water Future: A National Briefing Paper | US Water Alliance, 2017

This resource includes two primary sections: Part One: Water Stress and Vulnerable Communities and Part Two: The Pillars of Water Equity.

A Multi-Benefit Approach to Water Management | Pacific Institute, 2021

This resource explores how to develop solutions to flood and stormwater challenges through Multiple Benefits.

Community Resilience Benchmarks | ANCR, 2020

This resource is intended to prompt stormwater decision makers to make sure their community is resilient against flooding.

Community Led Research Toolkit | River Network, 2021

This resources provides tools for equitable climate resilience and fostering community-led research and knowledge.

A Guide to Assessing Green Infrastructure Costs and Benefits for Flood Reduction | NOAA, 2015

This resource provides a 6-step framework to inform planning assessments and prompt conversations regarding green infrastructure.

The Water Center at Penn and WaterNow Alliance Flood and Stormwater Management Guide

With support from the Kresge Foundation

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