Barrier Islands in North Carolina | Credit: Constance Knox
  • Coastal Resilience

    Six of the ten most destructive hurricanes in the history of the United States have occurred in the past eleven years. These include Hurricanes Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), and Ike (2008) that hit the Gulf of Mexico states; Hurricane Wilma (2005) in southern Florida; and Hurricanes Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012) that caused devastation in the Northeast. For more than 15 years, NFWF has managed conservation programs benefitting marine and coastal ecosystems, with an increasing focus on coastal resilience. More recently, NFWF has worked to increase the Foundation’s knowledge of coastal and in-land waterway resilience. In 2013, NFWF entered into a partnership with the Department of the Interior to create a grants program - the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grants Program - supporting projects that utilize natural systems to mitigate the impacts of future storms, helping to protect Northeast communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

    In early 2016 and in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and with the involvement of the Army Corps of Engineers, NFWF extended these early Sandy efforts to complete a regional resilience assessment for the Southeast Atlantic coast. This assessment identified spatial data on (a) threats from floods, coastal storms, and sea-level rise, (b) community assets and populations exposed to these threats, (c) areas critical to threatened and endangered fish and wildlife species and other species of concern, and (d) protected areas greater than 5,000 acres. These data were integrated to identify what we have called “resilience hubs” – areas where natural resource restoration efforts will have the greatest impact for human community resilience while benefitting critical fish and wildlife habitat.

    In addition to this Southeast Atlantic Coast Regional Resilience Assessment, NFWF worked with partners to conduct a study of the Cape Fear watershed in North Carolina. Through this study, local stakeholders were consulted to gather critical state, local, NGO and other data on fish and wildlife that is much more detailed and precise than at the regional level. Project opportunities were also identified that could increase resilience of communities and ecosystems within the watershed.

    Currently, NFWF is taking a deeper look at regional resilience along the entire United States coastline by developing more in-depth coastal watershed resilience assessments for seven additional watersheds around the United States. The goal of this effort is to build support for future resilience work and to strengthen the ecological integrity and functionality of coastal ecosystems in order to protect human communities and to enhance fish and wildlife and their associated habitats.


 Program Information

  • (Updated: 11/17/2017)


 Staff Representatives






 Due Dates


  • No Current Due Dates