Sandy-Impacted Communities Can Compete for $200,000 Flood Resilience Planning Grants

May 30, 2018

Municipalities in the nine counties most affected by Superstorm Sandy can form teams to compete for $200,000 resilience-planning grants to address flooding, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection has announced. The grant competition is part of Resilient NJ, a new program created to identify and implement innovative regional solutions to address coastal and river-related flooding.

“Through Resilient NJ, we encourage eligible local governments to develop innovative ideas to address flooding in their communities that will protect lives and property by strengthening overall resilience,” Acting Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe stated. “It is critical that we apply what we’ve learned from Sandy to better plan for future storms and sea-level rise.”

Resilient NJ is open to all municipalities in the following counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union. Teams may cross county borders. Regional teams, though, must be made up of at least three contiguous municipalities and at least one community-based organization. County governments, regional planning commissions and utility authorities are also eligible to participate.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing the grant funding as part of its National Disaster Resilience Competition, which works to make communities more flood resilient after major natural disasters.

Ginger Kopkash, assistant commissioner for land use management, pointed out, “The Resilient NJ program is an exciting opportunity for regions in New Jersey to take advantage of their common resources and services to ensure they can recover from future floods. Community outreach is going to be a major focus of this program. We expect some really innovative solutions to come out of these planning grants.”

A panel of DEP experts will review applications submitted by each team and score them based on a set of criteria, and as many as five regional teams will receive grants of up to $200,000 each to improve resiliency.

The winning teams will be paired with multidisciplinary consulting groups of planners, engineers, ecologists, designers and other experts to participate in a comprehensive planning process to develop Resilience and Adaptation Action Plans and, ultimately, implement selected actions from those plans.

A request for proposals will be released this summer to choose the consulting teams. Each regional team and its consulting team will assess future flooding vulnerabilities along the coast and from rivers, identify specific actions to reduce flood risk, evaluate those options using a detailed cost-benefit analysis, and then develop action plans.

Grant applications are due Friday, July 20. Winning regional teams will be notified no later than Oct. 21.

For more information and application materials, visit nj.gov/dep/oclup/resilientnj. —J.K.-H.

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