Superstorm Sandy NOAA Disaster Relief Appropriations

Under the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management awarded $2.4 million to coastal communities impacted by 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. The funds were awarded as a means of helping communities increase their ability to withstand natural disasters.

To ensure far-reaching impact, the award competition stressed a partnership approach and the need for region-based, multifaceted solutions. A large percentage of the projects focused on using natural infrastructure—such as marshlands, natural areas, stormwater ponds, and other resources—to reduce flooding. Many projects resulted in changes to local and state ordinances, and actions taken to lower community risk might also result in lowered flood insurance premiums.

For example, a map viewer provided by a Connecticut grant gives communities information they need to build hazard-resilient, nature-based shorelines. A New York City grant produced a natural infrastructure tool that now informs a $176 million flood-control project headed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And three grants have enabled many New Jersey communities to get detailed flood-risk analyses, take steps to reduce flood insurance rates, identify marsh areas vulnerable to sea level rise, move to create nature-based shorelines, and integrate hazard-resilience measures into local policies and plans. (2017)

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Fast Fact: Did you know that for every dollar invested in hazard mitigation strategies, the nation saves about six dollars in future costs? For more statistics related to this story, check out Hazard Mitigation Value and Hurricane Costs.