Whitehouse Encourages Rhode Islanders to Apply for New Coastal Resilience Funding
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today encouraged local governments and organizations to apply for funding from the National Coastal Resilience Fund, a significant new source of federal investment to restore, increase, and strengthen natural infrastructure that protects coastal communities, while improving wildlife habitats. Whitehouse wrote the legislation creating the fund, which was originally authorized as the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund.
“Senator Kennedy and I designed this fund to help those living and working along the coast address the challenges they face as the consequences of climate change come ashore,” said Whitehouse. “I’m excited to see the innovative projects submitted for consideration by Rhode Island universities, nonprofits, and local governments to protect our coastal economy and way of life from floods, storms, and rising seas.”
In its inaugural year, the National Coastal Resilience Fund will invest up to $30 million in the restoration or expansion of natural features such as marshes and wetlands, dunes and beaches, oyster and coral reefs, forests, rivers, and barrier islands that can lessen the effects of storms and other natural events on nearby communities. Nonprofit and for-profit organizations, universities, tribes, and local and state governments are eligible to apply. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will co-manage the fund. About $500,000 from the National Coastal Resilience Fund will support regional ocean planning and data portals.
“In less than a century, Louisiana lost nearly one million football fields of land,” said Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), who helped champion FY18 funding for the National Coastal Resilience Fund. “Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike exacerbated our land loss. We’re in a David versus Goliath battle to save our coast. This partnership will help us strengthen our coastal communities and protect the habitats that are so unique to Louisiana.”
The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council projects the Rhode Island coastline will see between 9 and 12 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. The 2017 U.S. Atlantic hurricane season was the most expensive ever, causing $202.6 billion in damages and widespread harm to coastal communities and ecosystems.
The National Coastal Resilience Fund will support innovative proposals for boosting coastal communities’ natural protections from storms and floods and their ability to recover more quickly. NFWF will focus investments from this first round of funding on projects identified in existing community or regional resilience plans from around the country. In future years, the fund is expected to support additional authorized ocean and coastal priorities.
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