The funding will go towards assisting communities and wildlife that have been affected by heavy storms or wildfires.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), announced on June 6 that $25.2 million in available grants will be dispersed to help coastal communities affected by storms and wildfires in 2020 and 2021 to increase resilience to future natural disasters.
“The ECRF supports nature-based restoration projects that provide dual benefits – meaning results for human community resilience and benefits for fish and wildlife. Restoring and protecting natural systems, such as through wetland habitat restoration, living shoreline construction, and wildfire fuels reduction, will help protect coastal communities from the impacts of storms, floods, sea-level rise inundation, erosion, and wildfires,” said NOAA Public Information Officer, Rob Blumenthal.
Sixteen projects have been assembled to help communities better withstand natural disasters and recover faster afterward, improving fish and wildlife habitats. In addition, restoring and protecting biological systems will help protect coastal communities from the impacts of storms, floods, sea-level rise inundation, erosion, and wildfires.
The ECRF is a competitive grant program established to increase the resilience of coastal communities located within federally declared disaster areas impacted by hurricanes and wildfires. The fund supports conservation projects that strengthen natural systems at a scale that will protect coastal communities from the future impacts of storms, wildfires, and associated natural hazards while improving habitats for fish and wildlife species.
“The first round of funding was directed toward communities that received a federal disaster declaration in 2018 as a result of the impacts of hurricanes Michael and Florence, Typhoon Yutu, and catastrophic wildfires,” said Blumenthal. “This second round of funding was directed toward communities that received a federal Major Disaster Declaration with a Public Assistance designation in 2020 or 2021 as a result of hurricanes or wildfires. Projects are identified via a “Request for Proposals” and are evaluated by experts in the field using criteria laid out in the RFP that include things like budgets, conservation need, and outcomes.”
Congress granted the funding through the fiscal year 2022 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The NFWF is leveraging these funds with additional support from the Bezos Earth Fund. The Bezos Earth Fund was founded by Jeff Bezos in 2020 and created by a commitment of $10 billion from Bezos to be dispersed as grants within this decade to fight climate change and protect nature.
The selected projects will employ nature-based activities that support wildlife, such as wetland habitat restoration, living shoreline construction, dam removal, and wildfire fuel reduction. As a result, communities across ten states will benefit from this project, and, when fully implemented, these projects will also help over 60,000 acres of habitat.
This grant slate represents the second slate of Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund (ECRF) projects administered by NFWF in partnership with NOAA. The first grants were awarded in 2020 as a response to the storms and wildfires in 2018. To date, the ECRF has awarded over $73.6 million to 43 coastal resilience projects that will benefit communities impacted by natural disaster events.
As directed by Congress, the ECRF focuses on coastal communities within the U.S. and U.S. territories located within federally declared disaster areas impacted by hurricanes and wildfires. The second round of funding for which the 16 grants were just announced was explicitly focused on coastal communities within counties and parishes that received a federal Major Disaster Declaration with a Public Assistance designation in 2020 or 2021 as a result of hurricanes or wildfires.
In addition, the new grants will leverage $4.9 million in additional funding to generate a total conservation impact of $30.1 million. With additional support from the Bezos Earth Fund, the NFWF and NOAA announced another round of funding for ECRF projects. The $4.9 million is additional funding from grantees contributing to the projects.
Grant projects will take place in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York.
The 16 projects include:
– Shoreline habitat restoration in Aloe Bay, Alabama.
– Living shoreline assessment and design for Navarre Beach in Santa Rose County, Florida.
– Invasive species control for wildlife resilience in fire-impacted lands of Sonoma County, California.
– Bayou Grand Cheniere creation in Louisiana.
– Increasing community resilience through the restoration of Dularge Marsh in Louisiana.
– Living shoreline installation on Lake Chien in Louisiana.
– Designing a living shoreline to restore Chippechaug Cove Marsh in Connecticut.
– Restoring Hammock River Marsh through improved hydrologic flow management in Connecticut.
– Piney Point Lighthouse and Museum shoreline restoration in Maryland.
– Assessment and design of green infrastructure for the Royce Brook Watershed in New Jersey.
– Coastal landscape enhancement for community resilience at the western Lighthouse Center in New Jersey.
– Living shoreline installation on the Delaware River in Camden, New Jersey.
– Nellie Bennett Marsh restoration planning in New Jersey.
– Site assessment and design for the restoration of Keegan Bayou and Bayou Auguste in East Biloxi, Mississippi.
– Site assessment and design for Walsh Road dam removal in New York.
– Pocosin Wetland hydrology restoration and water management across North Carolina’s coastal plain.
A more in-depth breakdown of the grants awarded to each project can be found in the NFWF Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund document.