NFWF, NOAA announce $7.7M for coastal resilience projects

Sept. 1, 2022
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation worked to award an early slate of eight grants so that communities experiencing rising coastal hazards would have the funding to support resilience projects.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced $7.7 million in eight grants support ongoing natural infrastructure projects in seven states.

The grants will support the design and implementation of projects to enhance the resilience of coastal communities and improve habitat for fish and wildlife in Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia.

The grants were awarded through the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF). NFWF worked to award an early slate of grants in August, ahead of its standard annual award date, so that communities experiencing increasing impacts from rising seas, more intense storms, and other coastal hazards would have funding to spend toward resilience projects. In 2022, NFWF anticipates investing approximately $140 million in grants through the NCRF once additional awards are announced in November.

“As coastal communities face growing threats including coastal flooding and hurricanes, communities need resources immediately to help them reduce threats and increase resilience,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The Foundation has worked extremely hard to provide this funding as quickly as possible to help these communities bolster their natural defenses to current and future storms, while also enhancing the coastal habitats that are so vital to both communities and wildlife.”

The projects supported by the eight grants announced will restore and enhance coastal habitats — including wetlands, dunes, and tidal rivers. These awards build on previously funded NCRF projects and will support efforts of the grantees to finalize project designs and implement important nature-based coastal resilience projects across the country.

NFWF, in partnership with NOAA and joined initially by Shell and TransRe, launched the NCRF in 2018 to support on-the-ground projects to engage communities and reduce their vulnerability to growing risks from coastal storms, sea-level rise, flooding, erosion and extreme weather through strengthening natural ecosystems that also benefit fish and wildlife.

Restoration Implementation

The following projects received grant funding to implement their planned actions:

Coastal Wetland Restoration to Improve Community Resiliency in West Ashley, City of Charleston, S.C.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources received a grant totaling $1,549,200, and itself produced matching funds of $1,070,500 to restore the tidal marsh adjacent to Old Town Creek at Maryville through community-based channel excavation, salt marsh restoration, and construction of oyster reef living shorelines. The project aims to improve community coastal resilience and enhance tidal marsh habitat in a degraded estuarine area using nature-based solutions.

Restoring Coastal Dunes to Improve Community Resilience and Enhance Wildlife Habitat, Hawaii

The University of Hawaii received a grant totaling $1,435,700, and itself produced matching funds of $417,600 to restore 12 acres of impaired coastal sand dunes at Kapukaulua to address the impacts of coastal hazards and enhance habitats for native Hawaiian plants and animals. The project aims to preserve and restore dune along one mile of shoreline to reduce the impacts of erosion, sea level rise, and high wave flooding.

Scheeff and Middle Bass Island East Point Preserve Shoreline Stabilization, Ohio

The Put-In-Bay Township Park District received a grant totaling $700,000, and itself produced matching funds of $950,000 to construct a living shoreline at Scheeff East Point Preserve through a variant of natural shoreline restoration techniques. The project will remove foreign debris, and place fallen trees and boulders, to stabilize existing shoreline and deflect wave energy. It will also plant native vegetation and beach materials to enhance wetland and quatic habitat for native mussels and fish.

Final Design and Permitting

The following projects received funding to develop final design plans and permits for their initiatives:

Eastern Shore Barrier Island Stabilization and Marsh Habitat Engineering Design and Permitting, Va.

The College and William and Mary, of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science received a grant totaling $310,300, and itself produced matching funds of $253,400 to develop final engineering design plans for 217-acres of marsh restoration and expansion along southern Cedar Island, Va. to enhance backbarrier marsh and lagoon habitat to improve rural community resilience. The project aims to secure permitting and provide outreach to resiliency planning organizations and citizens on the Eastern Shore.

Final Designs to Improve Coastal Resiliency at Gull Cove and Guonochontaug Pond Breachway, R.I.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and NBNERR received a grant totaling $200,000, and provided matching funds of $50,000, to complete final designs and permitting for two shoreline resilience projects in Portsmouth and Charlestown. The project will be an implementation-ready design to restore coastal habitat, improve resiliency to flooding and erosion, and increase shoreline access.

Final Floodplain Habitat Design to Establish Green Infrastructure along Woodbridge River, N.J.

The State University of New Jersey and Rutgers received a grant totaling $397,600, and provided matching funds of $210,500, to produce final floodplain restoration designs that incorporate nature-based solutions and green infrastructure to improve ecosystem function and mitigate flood risk in three communities in coastal New Jersey. The project aims to improve community resilience and wetland habitat for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.

Megunticook River Watershed Fish Passage and Flood Prevention, Maine

The Town of Camden received a grant totaling $1,601,000, and provided matching funds of $260,000, to develop final designs and engineering plans for full or partial removal of four dams and for fish passage construction at two additional sites where dam removal is not feasible. The project aims to, once constructed, improve flood resiliency and habitat connectivity for sea run and resident fish.

Utilizing a Traditional Framework to Minimize Flooding in Maunalua Bay Watersheds, Hawaii

The Malama Maunalua received a grant totaling $1,506,700, and provided matching funds of $155,000, to develop plans utilizing agupua’a, a land division roughly equivalent to a watershed, to address flooding and erosion risk ins everal watersheds of Maunalua Bay of O’ahu, Hawaii. The project will utilize green infrastructure solutions to reduce runoff and adapt streams to mimic natural flow in order to reduce flooding and erosion.