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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

December 6, 2019   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

National Recap: US grants $29 million for coastal protection

The National Coastal Resilience Fund publicly dedicated a total of $29 million in grants to environmental causes across the country Nov. 18. The funds are being matched by approximately $60 million from government agencies and nonprofits in 20 states; Washington, D.C.; and two U.S. territories, establishing a total of $89 million going toward environmental sustainability initiatives. 

The National Coastal Resilience Fund is a public-private partnership that works to assist communities threatened by storms and flooding as a result of the climate crisis. The fund partnership was established in 2018 after extreme weather conditions caused over $300 billion in damage across the U.S. the previous year. The partnership aims to minimize the impact of extreme weather on natural areas like wetlands, coastal beaches and coral reefs.

The grants were announced by officials from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation at a news conference in New Orleans on Nov. 18. 

The largest grant on the list was awarded to the Texas General Land Office, which will receive $3 million to restore approximately 80 acres of marshes in Galveston County’s Swan Lake. The land office will also contribute $9.5 million of its own funding to the swamp restoration efforts.

The foundation also awarded a $1 million grant to the tiny Native Alaskan village of Shaktoolik which is listed among a handful of Alaskan communities warned to relocate “as soon as possible” because of coastal erosion and flooding. The grant will help the village build a coastal berm that will protect the split of land where it is located. 

Four projects in California are receiving approximately $2 million to set levees back from a tidal creek area, which will reduce flooding and reconnect tides to wetlands. 

Other grants awarded include just under $3 million to the University of Miami for coral reef restoration and a $75,000 award that will allow the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to assess and design green infrastructure around the Quonochontaug Salt Pond.

Other projects will be established in the following states and territories: California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North and South Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, Guam and Puerto Rico.

The grants awarded through the public-private partnership come as global climate crisisrelated concerns continue to grow. Recently, movements like the Global Climate Strike and demonstrations at the nation’s capital have called for policymakers, public figures and those with excess financial resources to take concrete action against the quickly escalating climate crisis. These grants provide an opportunity for institutions and small, environment-related nonprofits to effectively pursue concrete environmental change in their own regions and communities. 

Brontë Cook can be reached at bcook4@ithaca.edu