There are 25 coastal communities in the state that will receive grants to help with risk assessment and resilience planning work.
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management is awarding the communities a total of $675,000 through the new Resilient Coastal Communities Program, the division announced Wednesday.
The four phases of the program are community engagement and risk and vulnerability assessment; planning, project selection and prioritization; project engineering and design; and implementation. The funds are to be used for the completion of Phases 1 and 2.
“North Carolinians on our coast are on the front lines of climate change. These grants provide vital resources so that coastal communities can identify and address the climate hazards that impact their residents and economies and prepare for a more resilient future,” said Dionne Delli-Gatti, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality, in a statement.
The Resilient Coastal Communities Program is in place to help coastal communities develop and put in action a resilience strategy designed specifically for that community. The program also helps with projects or activities that reduce the impacts of coastal and climate hazards like flooding and storms.
“DCM is proud to launch the Resilient Coastal Communities Program, which is the first of its kind in this state and modeled after successful programs in other coastal states. This initial round of funding will provide support for 25 communities to lay the groundwork for efficient investments in long-term resilience to coastal storms and flooding,” said Division Director Braxton Davis in a statement.
The Division selected Aurora, Beaufort, Belhaven, Cape Carteret, Hertford, Leland, Navassa, Sunset Beach, Surf City, Topsail Beach, North Topsail Beach, Vandemere, Washington and Windsor to receive technical assistance in completion of Phases 1 and 2.
Beaufort, Craven, Currituck, Dare for Hatteras Island, Hertford, Hyde and Pamlico counties have also been selected for the program.
Duck, Nags Head, Swansboro and Pine Knoll Shores have shown significant momentum in resilience planning and have been selected to complete the remaining requirements of Phases 1 and 2.
Phases 1 and 2 will run concurrently under a single contract per community to avoid having to issue a second request for proposals from the communities in quick succession. Contractors matched with communities by the Division will lead the development of the community’s resilience strategy, working directly with local governments and the Community Action Teams created to represent each participating locality.
Community applications were scored across seven criteria, including their level of risk exposure to vulnerable population and critical assets, their economic status and need, and their internal capacity and momentum with related efforts.
This program has received funding from DEQ under the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund and a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The competitive application period for communities wishing to participate in the program opened in November and closed Jan. 15.
DCM received 30 applications representing 32 coastal communities, one application was submitted jointly by three communities. DCM reviewed the community applications with program partners at the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, North Carolina Sea Grant and The Nature Conservancy.
For more information about the Resilient Coastal Communities program, go to the DCM website.