New Jersey will receive $25.3 million in federal grants, including $7.1 million for state-led projects, to help protect coastal communities from future storms through state or local projects using science-based solutions, Governor Chris Christie announced today.
The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) today announced $102.7 million in competitive matching grants for 54 projects in 12 states and the District of Columbia under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resilience Grant Program. The investments will support local efforts to stabilize beaches, restore wetlands, improve the hydrology of coastal areas, improve infrastructure and assist planning for storms.
New Jersey, which received funding for 13 projects, is required to begin work within six months of the award date. Projects must also be completed within 24 months. The program is funded by Hurricane Sandy disaster relief appropriation and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
“These funds will help restore natural resiliency to our treasured coastline,” Governor Christie said. “The projects DEP submitted on behalf of the state, as well as the locally-sponsored projects, are innovative strategies that will offer natural protections in the short and long-term, restore habitat for wildlife, and at the same time support our coastal economy with job opportunities. We look forward to work getting started.”
“Our Natural Historic Resources staff put in a lot of time preparing applications and working with partners for various projects,” added Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin. “We’re happy for the local governments, universities and conservation organizations that also were approved for projects and we look forward to offering technical assistance and working with them through various permitting processes.”
DOI announced the program last October. DEP and the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding (GORR) studied county and municipal projects that may be eligible for the program, as well as state projects.
Approved DEP projects for program funding include:
- Reusing Dredged Material to Restore Salt Marshes and Protect Communities: Reuse dredge materials to restore 90 acres of salt marsh for Avalon, Stone Harbor and Fortescue. Enhanced salt marsh will provide wildlife habitat and reduce flooding and erosion impacts on nearby communities: Grant award: $3,420,000; State matching funds: $4,782,320; Total project funds: $8,202,320.
- Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards: Develop, design and deliver green infrastructure techniques that add ecological value and enhance community resiliency for coastal communities: Grant award: $3,440,000; State matching funds: $894,888; Total project funds: $4,334,888.
- Enhancing Liberty State Park’s Marshes and Upland Habitats: Create and improve Liberty State Park’s 40 acres of salt marsh and 100 acres of upland habitat in Jersey City. Project will improve ecosystem resiliency and create a new publicly accessible area within the park. Grant award: $250,000. State matching funds: $146,968. Total project funds: $396,968.
A complete list of projects under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program is at: www.doi.gov/news/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=537484
Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia also took part in the competitive grant program. All of the states involved were officially declared a natural disaster as a result of the storm event in late October 2012.
DOI’s commitment of $100 million was matched with $2.7 million in funding from the U.S. Attorney General’s offices in New Jersey and Delaware. The projects in the 13 jurisdictions will restore an estimated 6,634 acres of wetlands and marshes, 225 acres of beach, 364 acres of riparian buffers, and 16 miles of streams. The efforts will also open 287 miles of streams to fish passage and restore 147 acres of flood plain.
The competitive grants are part of the $787 million DOI received in supplemental appropriations for recovery and resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. This includes $176 million in internal funds allocated to resiliency projects including projects to restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline, create habitat connectivity, improve flood resilience and undertake other efforts to protect nearby areas from future storms.
Projects were categorized by Restoration and Resiliency Projects (ranging from $250,000 to $5 million); Coastal Resiliency Assessments (up to $1 million); Green Infrastructure ($250,000 to $1 million); Community Coastal Resiliency Planning ($100,000 – $500,000); Planning and Design Grants for Large Restoration and Protection Projects (up to $250,000).
DOI scored the projects based on Environmental and Community Benefit (65 points); Collaborative and Partnerships (10 points); Work plan and logistics (10 points); budget (10 points) and Youth and Veteran Engagement (5 points).