Resilient Design Assistance in the Mid-Atlantic

In 2019, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked directly with stakeholder communities to identify and facilitate policy and planning measures that promote green infrastructure and help address flood management and water quality needs. The Resilient Design Assistance Tool, developed as part of EPA’s Water Technology and Innovation Initiative, is a design method that fosters multi-functional and distinct neighborhoods that provide communities with a variety of environmental benefits.

This approach was piloted in Seaford, DE, and Huntington, WV, to support and enhance existing community integrative hazard mitigation objectives and address flooding from extreme storm events. These pilot projects will serve as models for other interested communities. In this webcast, Jason Bernagros with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Matthew Konfirst and Samantha Rachko with EPA Region 3, and Breanna Shell, Planning Director for the City of Huntington, WV, will discuss how EPA is working with communities to advance the implementation of green infrastructure within hazard mitigation frameworks and promote sophisticated but feasible approaches to community resilience.

Speaker Bios

Jason Bernagros is a water resources planner and researcher with EPA’s Office of Research & Development and has been with EPA for 12 years. Jason has a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a LEED AP. He focuses on developing and applying engineering with nature, green stormwater infrastructure, low impact development (LID), and sustainable transportation planning tools; fostering collaborative partnerships; and delivering transformative technical assistance programs for communities and water professionals across the U.S. and Latin America.

Samantha Rachko is a Life Scientist and a Grants Project Officer at EPA Region 3 in the State and Watershed Partnerships Section. She has been with EPA for 3 years. Ms. Rachko has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Drexel University and a Master of Science in both Environmental Policy and Public Communication, also from Drexel University. Her focus at EPA Region 3 is green infrastructure, managing state grants, and science communication.

Matthew Konfirst is a Sustainability Coordinator and Data Analyst at EPA Region 3. He has  B.S and Ph.D degrees in Geology and Environmental GeoSciences from Northern Illinois University.

Breanna Shell is the Planning Director for the City of Huntington, West Virginia. She works in the Department of Development and Planning and has been with the City for 8 years. Ms. Shell has a B.A. in Psychology from Denison University and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. Currently she is active in community and economic revitalization efforts in several neighborhoods in Huntington; improving safe and quality transportation options for cyclists and pedestrians on-road and an off-road bike and pedestrian trail, the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health ; and continually working with the community to update our Zoning Ordinances to be more in line with the Comprehensive Plan update, Plan2025. Breanna is currently on the Boards of the statewide WV Complete Streets Advisory Board, and Unlimited Future, a business incubator.