Today, coastal states and territories received $77 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) with funds leveraged from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to implement restoration and acquisition projects that enhance coastal resilience.
States and territories have partnered with the federal government through the Coastal Zone Management Act for 50 years to cooperatively preserve, protect, develop, restore, and enhance the resources of the Nation’s coastal zone. But for the past two decades, federal investment in coastal economies and infrastructure has stagnated, even as challenges faced by coastal communities have grown precipitously.
The BIL and IRA turn the corner on meeting the nation’s infrastructure investment backlog. Today’s announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the first of five years of resilience funding from BIL and IRA, is a transformational moment for nation’s coasts.
The Funding breakdown:
- Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Programs – $54.4 million, including $50.1 million for 20 coastal infrastructure projects tackling community needs on the ground, as well as $4.3 million to support capacity-building within state coastal programs.
- National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs) – $23 million, including $20.2 million for 13 projects as well as $2.8 million to support capacity-building within reserves.
Notably this funding represents just a fraction of what’s needed. Even in this first year of funding availability, over $222 million in project requests were made for “shovel-ready” projects to restore or acquire coastal areas critical to enhancing community resilience.
Additionally, NOAA announced $32 million in funding over the next five years to support state coastal programs and NERRS to advance coastal community resilience in ways that best serve each state and territory.
The investments announced today, when combined with BIL and IRA funding to other important programs such as the Regional Ocean Partnerships, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s National Coastal Resilience Fund, the Dept. of Transportation PROTECT Act program, and the EPA’s place-based conservation programs like the National Estuary Program, set the United States on a better, more proactive path toward preparing for and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Coastal resilience is not a one size fits all undertaking; funding to state coastal programs, NERRS, and regional and local grant programs will empower states to prepare their coastal communities for hazards in ways that are uniquely suited to their needs.
Some of the 20 funded projects being led CZM programs announced today include:
- GEORGIA – Ossabaw Island Living Shoreline: A Collaboration to Model Resiliency through Ecosystem Restoration – Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division will receive $826,000 for the design and construction of a living shoreline on Ossabaw Island in Georgia. The project will restore functional estuarine habitat and protect natural shoreline ecosystems, while preserving unique cultural and archeological resources.
- WASHINGTON – Graveyard Spit Restoration & Resilience Project – Washington State Department of Transportation in coordination with the Department of Ecology will receive $3,976,788 to restore and protect of Graveyard Spit, on the north shore of Willapa Bay, to help protect community infrastructure and cultural resources that are threatened by sea level rise and other coastal hazards.
- ALABAMA – Acquisition of Coastal Pine Savanna and Emergent Marsh Habitat on West Fowl River, Mississippi Sound in Mobile County – Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will receive $1,103,000 to conserve and protect sensitive tidal marsh, pine flatwood, and savanna habitats, which act as a habitat and nursery ground for commercially and recreationally important fishery species, protect uplands from storm surge and coastal flooding, and allow carbon to be sequestered.
- OHIO – Chagrin River Floodplain Land Conservation Project – Ohio Department of Natural Resources will receive $1,705,000 to acquire 105 acres of riparian habitat along the Chagrin River, critical habitat that will increase climate resiliency for urban coastal communities and will contribute to a growing conservation, public access, and recreation corridor along the river, from downtown Willoughby to Lake Erie.
Other project descriptions available on NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management website.
For more information contact:
Derek Brockbank, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org; 917-536-6878.
Since 1970, the Coastal States Organization has served as the collective voice for the nation’s coastal States, Commonwealths, and Territories on federal legislative, administrative, and policy issues relating to coastal, Great Lakes, and ocean management.