NOAA announces additional community resilience grants totaling $4.5 million

Improved regional preparation, response, and recovery from coastal hazards top goal

NOAA’s National Ocean Service will announce today an additional $4.5 million in coastal resilience grants, bringing the total to $9 million in federal funds.

Multiple communities are teaming up to fine ways to be more resilient to increasing impacts of coastal storms such as this damage in Ortley Beach NJ following Sandy in 2012.

Multiple communities are teaming up to fine ways to be more resilient to increasing impacts of coastal storms such as this damage in Ortley Beach NJ following Sandy in 2012. (Image credit: Thinkstock)

NOAA awarded an original $4.5 million last month, designed to help coastal communities improve their resilience to adverse events by aiding their ability to prepare for and respond to a variety of coastal threats, including extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions.

“Our growing coastal communities need help responding to sea level rise, habitat loss, and other extreme threats,” said Russell Callender, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service. “Coastal and ocean-based businesses contribute more than $7.6 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product, so this makes sense economically as well as environmentally. The Administration wants to expand this program to $20 million in the next fiscal year, which shows you how important it is.”

NOAA received more than 130 proposals from coastal communities requesting more than $100 million. This grant program requires comprehensive, regional approaches that use science-based solutions. The proposals were reviewed by a panel of coastal management and science experts from around the United States that included representatives of government, academia and private industry. As part of their grants, recipients were required to raise a total of $5 million in matching support.

Twelve projects covering 200 coastal communities and 19 states were selected for funding.  These include:

  • Virginia Beach has one of the highest sea level rise rates on the Atlantic coast. Grant monies will be used to find new strategies that include infrastructure relocation and new infrastructure construction standards.

  • A regional project based in Charleston, S.C. will address infrastructure, land use, and water management practices to minimize flooding risks.

  • Five New England states--Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut--are banding together to study the effects of coastal storms. They will also  look at increasing the use of “living shorelines,” which are areas protected and stabilized using natural materials such as plants, sand, and rock, to guard again erosion.

  • Washington State communities will use grant funding to conduct several pilot projects focused on enhancing community resilience. Lessons learned will be used to revise state planning guidance.

  • Hawaii communities, often located in low-lying coastal areas, are using this opportunity to determine the most effective way to update community planning efforts.

A full list of projects is available here.

“The need is obvious,” said Jeff Payne, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. “But what is particularly significant about this program is the focus on the regional approach and partnerships. This grant program provides the impetus communities need to drive the processes that make things better for their citizens and the watershed as a whole. Communities need to understand their risk and vulnerability, and work in unison before any meaningful headway can be made to address the challenges associated with changing climate and ocean conditions.”

NOAA, through cooperative resilience grant programs in both NOAA Fisheries and NOAA Ocean Service, has awarded $13.5 million overall in coastal resilience grant money from 2015 to 2016.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.

Ben Sherman,, 240-533-0946
Donna McCaskill,, 843-740-1272