This competitive grant program funds projects that are helping coastal communities and ecosystems prepare for and recover from extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions. All project proposals undergo a rigorous merit review and selection process by a panel of subject matter experts from across the United States that include representatives of government, academia, and private industry.
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NOAA will not award Coastal Resilience Grants in 2018, but a new competitive grant opportunity will be available later this year. With the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (2018), Congress appropriated $30 million to strengthen coastal communities and protect, conserve, and restore ocean and coastal resources and coastal infrastructure. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will administer this funding and establish a new grants program in partnership with NOAA, as authorized under the National Oceans and Coastal Security Act. Current funding opportunities available through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation can be found at nfwf.org/whatwedo/grants/Pages/home.aspx.
This competition integrated the two resilience-focused grant programs within NOAA’s National Ocean Service and NOAA Fisheries. The combined Coastal Resilience Grant Program seeks to protect life and property, safeguard people and infrastructure, strengthen the economy, and conserve and restore coastal and marine resources.
NOAA received more than 167 proposals requesting more than $135 million. NOAA has awarded 19 projects totaling $13.8 million, with recipients providing an additional $8.3 million in matching funds, for a total of $22.1 million.
Award recipients include state and local government agencies and nonprofits who will use these funds to increase their ability to prepare for and recover from a variety of coastal threats, including hurricanes, tsunamis, and sea level rise. Project focus areas include flood protection, infrastructure improvement, restoration of coastal habitat, and proactive community planning initiatives.
The awards cover 17 states and Puerto Rico. Over 350 coastal communities are benefiting, and 1,100 acres of habitat will be restored and used to enhance flood protection. Projects began October 1, 2017.
NOAA's Office for Coastal Management, part of the National Ocean Service, administered this competition and received over 130 proposals requesting more than $100 million. Twelve projects were awarded (six using federal funds from fiscal year 2015 and six more funded in 2016). The federal funding total was $9 million with an additional $5 million in matching support.
While the selected projects incorporate a variety of approaches, a few themes stand out: prioritizing efforts based on where communities are most vulnerable; incorporating climate change data and information into existing community plans and policies; and using natural and nature-based solutions (sometimes called "green or hybrid infrastructure") to control flooding and provide ecosystem benefits. These projects are benefiting over 200 coastal communities in 19 states.