State awards first ever Resilient Coastal Communities Program grants

NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management (DCM) is awarding grants to 25 communities for technical assistance in risk assessment and resilience planning work.

A total of $675,000 will be made available for completion of Phases 1 and 2 of the new NC Resilient Coastal Communities Program (RCCP). DCM will contract directly with selected contractors to provide direct technical assistance services to localities.

“North Carolinians on our coast are on the front lines of climate change. These grants provide vital resources so that coastal communities can identify and address the climate hazards that impact their residents and economies and prepare for a more resilient future,” said Dionne Delli-Gatti, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality.

The RCCP serves as coastal NC’s resilience framework for communities to develop and implement a locally-driven Resilience Strategy and implement projects or activities which reduce the impacts of coastal and climate hazards like flooding and storms. DCM has selected eighteen municipalities and four counties to receive technical assistance to complete a Resilience Strategy.

“DCM is proud to launch the Resilient Coastal Communities Program, which is the first of its kind in this state and modeled after successful programs in other coastal states. This initial round of funding will provide support for 25 communities to lay the groundwork for efficient investments in long-term resilience to coastal storms and flooding,” said Division Director Braxton Davis.

The program is being implemented over four phases:

1)         Community Engagement and Risk & Vulnerability Assessment

2)         Planning, Project Selection and Prioritization

3)         Project Engineering and Design

4)         Implementation

The Division has selected the following fourteen municipalities to receive technical assistance in completion of Phases 1 and 2:

  • Town of Aurora
  • Town of Beaufort
  • Town of Belhaven
  • Town of Cape Carteret
  • Town of Hertford
  • Town of Leland
  • Town of Navassa
  • Town of Sunset Beach
  • Topsail Island (Including the Towns of Surf City, Topsail Beach, North Topsail Beach)
  • Town of Vandemere
  • City of Washington
  • Town of Windsor

The following seven counties have also been selected for the RCCP:

  • Beaufort County
  • Craven County
  • Currituck County
  • Dare County (Hatteras Island)
  • Hertford County
  • Hyde County
  • Pamlico County

An additional four communities which have shown significant momentum in resilience planning have been selected to complete the remaining requirements of Phases 1 and 2:

  • Duck
  • Nags Head
  • Swansboro
  • Pine Knoll Shores

Phases 1 & 2 will run concurrently under a single contract per community, in order to avoid having to issue a second request for proposals from the communities in quick succession. Contractors matched with communities by the Division will lead the development of the community’s Resilience Strategy, working directly with local governments and the Community Action Teams created to represent each participating locality.

Community applications were scored across seven criteria, including their level of risk exposure to vulnerable population and critical assets, their economic status and need, and their internal capacity and momentum with related efforts.

To date, this program has received funding from DEQ under the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund and a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The competitive application period for communities wishing to participate in the program opened in November 2020 and closed on January 15. DCM received 30 applications representing 32 coastal communities (one application was submitted jointly by three communities).  DCM reviewed the community applications with program partners at the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR), NC Sea Grant, and The Nature Conservancy.

For more information about the Resilient Coastal Communities program, go to the DCM website.

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