Bipartisan Infrastructure Law strengthens and protects communities, enhances natural habitats
NOAA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced a record investment in projects that will help communities prepare for increasing coastal flooding and more intense storms, while improving thousands of acres of coastal habitats. The funding, in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DOD) and private sector partners, provides more than $136 million to support 88 natural infrastructure projects in 29 states and U.S. territories.
The grants awarded through NFWF’s National Coastal Resilience Fund offsite link will leverage more than $94 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of $230 million. When combined with eight grants announced earlier this year, the new grants will push the fund’s total amount awarded to more than $144 million in 2022. Together, these 96 coastal resilience grants will leverage more than $97 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of $241 million.
This year’s awards include $93.7 million provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Additional federal agency funding comes from NOAA and the DOD, and private funding is provided by Shell USA, TransRe and Oxy, with additional funding from the Bezos Earth Fund.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law unleashes a historic opportunity for NOAA and our partners to make sure our coasts, and the communities and economies that depend on them, are ready and resilient in a changing climate,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to advancing conservation opportunities that help protect lives and livelihoods along our nation’s coasts.”
The natural infrastructure projects provide a buffer for communities against increasingly intense storms and flooding, while also improving crucial habitats for fish and wildlife species. The projects will restore and create more than 16,000 acres of coastal habitats, including coastal dunes in Texas and California, saltmarshes in Louisiana and Virginia, oyster reefs along the Atlantic seaboard and living shorelines to protect military facilities in Mississippi and Florida, among others. Twenty-eight of these grants will fund construction activities for resilience projects, and 60 of them — 29 for planning and 31 for engineering and design — will advance community initiatives, with the ultimate goal of becoming shovel-ready resilience efforts.
“This funding allows communities to invest in keeping their coasts healthy for generations to come and helps build a Climate-Ready Nation,” said NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “NOAA values the contributions of our partners to scale up efforts to help communities address climate-related risks.”
This year, with significantly increased funding from Congress through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the fund supported even larger efforts by coastal communities to plan, design and implement resilience projects that will reduce risks from rising sea levels and more intense storms. Recent devastating storm events from Alaska to Puerto Rico and Florida demonstrate the significant need for these types of investments that help communities build resilience to increasing flooding and erosion.
“As communities recover from devastating storm events, it is vital we support nature-based solutions that help communities not only protect against destructive flooding, but also enhance the coastal habitats that are so important to people and wildlife,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants will provide the critical resources that communities need to prepare for, rebound from and adapt to the more destructive storms that are impacting our coasts.”
The National Coastal Resilience Fund is a partnership between NFWF offsite link, NOAA, the U.S. DOD, Shell USA, offsite link TransRe offsite link and Oxy offsite link, with additional funding from the Bezos Earth Fund offsite link. NFWF launched the National Coastal Resilience Fund in 2018 in partnership with NOAA and joined initially by Shell USA and TransRe.
"The seven National Coastal Resilience Fund projects receiving DOD funding protect critical Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy training missions across eight strategically important installations,” said Mr. Paul Cramer, Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment. “Through the National Coastal Resilience Fund, DOD partners are leveraging $15 million in Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program funding coupled with nearly $7 million in NOAA funding to enhance installation resilience to sea level rise, storm surge, and other coastal climate change impacts. By supporting National Coastal Resilience Fund projects, DOD can promote interagency collaboration and develop new mutually beneficial partnerships to meet shared mission priorities."
“We have a long history of working with the community when it comes to protecting and restoring our Working Coast,” said Colette Hirstius, Shell USA’s senior vice president, Gulf of Mexico. “With strong partners such as NFWF, we can take meaningful action in the places where we live and work.”
“TransRe is proud to support projects that help communities most affected by extreme weather events,” said Ken Brandt, TransRe’s Chairman, President and CEO. “We are committed to lending a helping hand to support those communities’ own efforts as they build sustainable and resilient protections for themselves.”
“Protecting our coastal communities — its shorelines, wildlife and people — is essential for maintaining a healthy ecosystem and quality of life,” said Kimberly Mendoza-Cooke, Director of Policy & External Affairs for Oxy. “We are honored to proactively partner with NOAA and NFWF to improve resilience for these important communities.”
A short video about the NCRF can be found here offsite link. A list of the 2022 grants made through the National Coastal Resilience Fund in December is available here offsite link.