As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment in the Climate Action Plan to make local communities more resilient against future storms, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced $102.7 million in competitive matching grants to support 54 projects along the Atlantic coast.
The grants will fund science-based solutions to restore wetlands and other natural areas, better manage stormwater using green infrastructure and assist states, tribes and local communities in protecting themselves from major storms such as Hurricane Sandy, which devastated much of the East Coast in 2012.
“We are taking the lessons learned from this natural disaster to help local communities strengthen natural barriers between themselves and major storms such as Sandy that can cause major flooding and other damage,” Jewell said. “Together with our partners, we are stabilizing beaches, restoring wetlands, and improving the hydrology of coastal areas, both protecting local residents from the next big storm while creating jobs and restoring habitat for wildlife.”
“These grants have the dual benefit of providing jobs while supporting the goal of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to make communities more resilient to future storms, predicted with a changing climate,” Jewell said. “Using sound science, these innovative projects will help rebuild, restore and research the natural areas along the Atlantic Coast.”
The majority of the projects are in areas severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy, including 24 projects in New York and New Jersey receiving nearly $50 million.
The projects will restore an estimated 6,634 acres of wetlands and marshes, 225 acres of beach, 364 acres of riparian buffers, and 16 miles of streams. The efforts will also open 287 miles of streams to fish passage and restore 147 acres of flood plain.
The competitive grants are part of the $787 million the Department of the Interior received in supplemental appropriations for recovery and resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. This includes $176 million in internal funds allocated to resiliency projects including projects to restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline, create habitat connectivity, improve flood resilience and undertake other efforts to protect nearby areas from future storms.
Press Release, June 17, 2014