Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse yesterday joined with area small business owners and local officials in the flood-prone Island Park neighborhood of Portsmouth to highlight the newly funded National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund, which can help coastal businesses weather rising seas and worsening storms.
Congress approved $30 million in funding for the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund, which will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grant process, in the omnibus spending bill signed into law in late March.
“While proximity to the beautiful Sakonnet River is the main attraction drawing new businesses to Island Park, increasingly frequent flooding presents an obstacle for these businesses to thrive over the long term,” said Whitehouse.
“I developed the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund with communities like this in mind. This new federal investment presents a real opportunity to protect Rhode Island businesses and homes from rising seas.”
Whitehouse authored legislation creating the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund to provide a dedicated resource for hardening coastal infrastructure, building community resiliency, investing in restoration, and supporting ocean and coastal research.
Eligible applicants for grant funding include local governments, states, universities, NGOs, and public-private partnerships.