Project Spotlight: Lyons, CO

Sustainable Recovery (by Toby Russell)

It’s been a long time in the making. Way back in August of 2013 Natural Capitalism Solutions won the contract to support the creation of the Lyons Environmental Sustainability Action Plan.  The vision of the plan was to create a document that would help guide Lyons on a path toward a sustainable future. A future that harnesses the creativity of the dynamic population minimizes their impact on the environment, and spurs innovation.

Just after the project started, a devastating flood tore though Lyons and changed everything. It destroyed and damaged twenty percent of the housing stock, desolated the town’s parks, and displaced 200+ residents. But in true Lyons spirit the community rose up, rallied around those that needed help, and volunteered—over 500 people took part in the recovery planning process. Natural Capitalism was there every step of the way to help guide them through this process keeping resiliency and sustainability at the forefront of the process.

The result was a great Recovery Plan but more had to be done to help the town become as resilient as possible moving forward.

Natural Capitalism and those that initially supported the creation of the Sustainability Plan picked it back up and drove it forward. In order to move beyond recovery Lyons needed a comprehensive strategy to be more resilient and to reduce their impact on the environment. After all, the effects of climate change directly contribute to the soaring increase of natural disasters.

Through a series of guided stakeholder meetings and research into best practices of successful sustainable communities 130 recommendations were identified and refined down to the 60 that were most popular and impactful. The recommendations along with the full Sustainability Action Plan can be found at: www.lyonssustainability.com.

The path for Lyons to a sustainable future is clearer now, in large part because of Natural Capitalism’s work. We applaud the efforts and accomplishments of our neighbors seven miles to the West and look forward to continuing our work with them in implementing this ambitious undertaking.

Posted in Blog, Toby Russell