Partnership with up to $30 million in funding will enhance coastal communities’ natural defenses against severe weather and flooding
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today announced a partnership that will restore, increase and strengthen natural infrastructure — the landscapes that help absorb the impacts of storms and floods — to protect coastal communities, while also enhancing habitats for fish and wildlife.
In its inaugural year, the National Coastal Resilience Fund will invest up to $30 million in the restoration or expansion of natural features such as coastal marshes and wetlands, dune and beach systems, oyster and coral reefs, mangroves, forests, coastal rivers, as well as barrier islands that help minimize the impacts of storms, rising sea levels and other extreme events on nearby communities and infrastructure. NOAA will use a small portion of the funding for scoping designed to assist communities in getting the regional information they need to make ocean and coastal management decisions and provide economic, security, and environmental benefits.
“Protecting local coastal communities and benefiting wildlife at the same time is a huge win-win for coastal regions of the United States,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The projects we fund through this new partnership with NOAA, and with the support of Congress, will provide lasting benefits to millions of Americans, and to the natural resources that are essential to the future of the nation.”
In 2017, the United States was impacted by 16 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events, resulting in a record $306.2 billion in damages. In addition, many coastal cities are experiencing high tide flooding 10 to 20 days or more each year, resulting in public safety and health risks, such as road closures, overwhelmed storm drains, and compromised infrastructure and water quality.
“Healthy coastal and ocean habitats are critical to our nation’s economic livelihood,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and acting under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. “This partnership dedicates resources to safeguard our natural resources and protect our communities from storms and flooding. This also brings long-term economic security by minimizing disruptions to businesses, transportation, commerce, and the emergency services on which communities depend.”
“We designed this fund to help those living and working along the coast address the challenges they face as the consequences of climate change come to shore,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. “I’m excited to see the innovative projects submitted for consideration by universities, nonprofits, and local governments to protect our coastal economy and way of life from floods, storms, and rising seas.”
The fund will focus on restoration projects that help reduce the impacts of regional threats, such as changes in sea and Great Lakes water levels, storm surge, tsunamis, increased shallow coastal and riverine flooding, and erosion. In addition to improving coastal resilience, restoration projects will benefit local economies while at the same time sustaining critical habitats and wildlife.
“In less than a century, Louisiana lost nearly one million football fields of land. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike exacerbated our land loss,” said Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana. “We’re in a David versus Goliath battle to save our coast. This partnership will help us strengthen our coastal communities and protect the habitats that are so unique to Louisiana.”
Building on the significant coordination and planning that has already been done in many of the nation’s coastal communities and recognizing the need for action, the new partnership will focus investments on projects that have been prioritized in existing community or regional resilience plans. Priority will be given to:
Implementation of design-ready restoration projects that enhance resilience and reduce risk
Planning and design projects to position communities for future implementation
Projects that demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative approaches to enhance coastal resilience with natural infrastructure
In partnership with NOAA, NFWF will establish the National Coastal Resilience Fund and administer the program, as authorized by Title IX of the National Oceans and Coastal Security Act. Both organizations will jointly establish criteria to review proposed projects for funding.
Access the full Request for Proposals offsite link, all proposals are due August 7, 2018.