Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering


Funding and Financing Natural Infrastructure

 Best Practices and Lessons Learned

A key need for implementing more natural infrastructure is funding to scope, design, construct, monitor, and adaptively manage these projects. SAGE and the USACE Engineering With Nature program have collaboratively developed a series of case studies to share innovative examples of funding and financing natural infrastructure. From homeowner cost-sharing programs to watershed-wide wetland restoration efforts, our case studies highlight funding and financing approaches that can be applied across a range of natural infrastructure techniques and scales.

The goal of this project is to raise awareness about a diversity of project types and funding/financing mechanisms. Our library of case studies will increase as additional projects are identified. Practitioners can nominate projects to be featured by contacting the project leads Matthew Smith (matthew.a.smith2 at and Margaret Kurth (margaret.h.kurth at

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project

San Francisco Bay, California

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is restoring over 15,000 acres of former salt production areas into a mosaic of tidal marshes and managed ponds across the southern extent of San Francisco Bay.

Key mechanisms: Voter-approved bonds, multi-agency project management

Link to Case Study

Hunter’s Point South Park

Queens, New York

Hunter’s Point South transformed an abandoned post-industrial area into a resilient mixed-use community with 3000 units of affordable housing, restored wetlands, and a vibrant recreational space.

Key mechanisms: Multi-agency project management

Link to Case Study [coming soon]


Exploration Green

Clear Lake City, Texas

Exploration Green transformed a 200-acre golf course into a multi-purpose green space with flood detention, habitat, and recreation benefits.

Key mechanisms: Voter-approved bonds, 401(c)(3) fundraising organization, volunteer mobilization

Link to Case Study

Elizabeth River Project

Chesapeake Bay, Virginia

The Elizabeth River Project’s River Stars cost-sharing program for homeowners has enabled the installation of over 1000 natural infrastructure projects within the watershed.

Key mechanisms: Cost-sharing program, nutrient credit exchange

Link to Case Study 


Project Motivation & Background:

There is a lingering scarcity of information about finance methods that can be used to secure the funds necessary to scope, design, construct, monitor and/or adaptively manage natural infrastructure (NI). Through this project, we are highlighting case studies of successful NI financing to illustrate how NI projects have been pursued, identify the challenges and benefits are associated with financing NI, and share best practices. For more information about this project, and for examples of how we publish case studies, please visit the project summaries above.

If you would like to nominate a project for future publication, please submit information below. Questions can be sent to Matthew.A.Smith2 at

Project Nomination

We are looking to highlight projects that fit any or all of the following funding/financing scenarios:

  • Innovative source(s) of funding
  • Innovative financing mechanism(s)
  • Innovative partnership(s) and coordination