Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program
The Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program is designed to restore key habitats and bolster natural systems, enabling them to withstand the impacts of future storms. Projects in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia are eligible for funding.
In 2013, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (Sandy Supplemental) appropriated $829.2 million for the Department of the Interior (DOI) to rebuild and repair coastal assets and make strategic investments in future coastal resilience. With these funds, DOI provided $204 million to support DOI-led projects designed to strengthen natural ecosystems in the region affected by Hurricane Sandy in order to reduce ecosystem and community vulnerability to coastal storms, sea level rise, flooding and erosion.
In addition, DOI partnered with NFWF to administer the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program to support projects led by state and local governments, tribes, nonprofits, and universities. Through this process, NFWF received 375 grant applications requesting over $563 million.
After a rigorous review by experts, 54 projects in the Sandy-impacted region were funded. Grant funding totaled $100 million in DOI funding from the Sandy Supplemental and more than $3.1 million in private funding leveraged by NFWF. In addition, the grantees committed over $55 million in additional funding and in-kind contributions, for a total conservation investment of over $158 million.
Projects were selected that addressed one or more of the programs goals to:
- reduce the impacts of coastal storm surge, wave velocity, sea-level rise, and associated natural threats on coastal and inland communities
- strengthen the ecological integrity and functionality of coastal/inland ecosystems to protect communities and to enhance fish and wildlife and their associated habitats
- enhance the understanding of the impacts of storm events and identify cost-effective resilience tools that help mitigate the effects of future storms
Grant funding is benefiting 210 communities and engaging over 3,200 youth and veterans and more than 5,500 volunteers. The program is restoring:
- more than 6,600 acres of marsh and wetland
- more than 225 acres of beach and dune
- more than 200 miles of river and stream connectivity
- green infrastructure to reduce over 182 million gallons of stormwater runoff
The majority of projects are concentrated in the areas of greatest impact from Hurricane Sandy, including New Jersey (13 projects), New York (11) and Rhode Island (7); however, the program funded projects throughout the area that was declared a natural disaster including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
A preliminary evaluation of the ecological and socio-economic impact of the DOI portfolio of Sandy projects, including the 111 DOI-led projects and the 54 NFWF-funded projects, is underway. In addition, longer-term ecological and socio-economic monitoring is ongoing through 2023 to more fully understand the effectiveness of the range of strategies in order to inform future investments.