Secretary Jewell announces $40 million in grants, matching funds to help New Jersey survive future storms

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United States Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced $102.7 million in competitive matching grants to support 54 projects along the Atlantic coast, including nearly $40 million in money for New Jersey projects. United States Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced $102.7 million in competitive matching grants to support 54 projects along the Atlantic coast, including nearly $40 million in money for New Jersey projects. United States Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced $102.7 million in competitive matching grants to support 54 projects along the Atlantic coast, including nearly $40 million in money for New Jersey projects.

Jewell made her announcement on Monday, June 16 and said it was part of a commitment by the administration of President Barack Obama to make coastal communities more resilient against future storms.

The grants will fund science-based solutions to restore wetlands and other natural areas, better manage storm water using green infrastructure and assist states, tribes and local communities in protecting themselves from major storms such as Hurricane Sandy, which devastated much of the East Coast in 2012, Jewell said.

More than $102.7 million in grants were awarded, she said.

“We are taking the lessons learned from this natural disaster to help local communities strengthen natural barriers between themselves and major storms such as Sandy that can cause major flooding and other damage,” Jewell said. “Together with our partners, we are stabilizing beaches, restoring wetlands, and improving the hydrology of coastal areas, both protecting local residents from the next big storm while creating jobs and restoring habitat for wildlife.”

Ocean City will receive $3.9 million in grants and matching funds to restore hundreds of wetland acres in Great Egg Harbor Bay. The project will enhance and raise damaged wetlands to mitigate future storm impacts and provide healthier habitats.

She said $1.3 million in grants and matching funds will be used to increase Seven Mile Island's beach resiliency.  

Also, $4.7 million in matching funds will help pay for an $8.2 million project to restore 990 acres of salt marsh for Avalon, Stone Harbor and Fortescue.

Interior’s commitment of $100 million was matched with $2.7 million in funding from the U.S. Attorney General’s offices in New Jersey and Delaware, as well as donations from Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The $102.7 million grant commitment was further leveraged by $72 million in grantee partner match, making the entire conservation impact of the grant program more than $175 million.

The majority of the projects are in areas severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy, including 24 projects in New York and New Jersey receiving nearly $50 million.
The projects will restore an estimated 6,634 acres of wetlands and marshes, 225 acres of beach, 364 acres of riparian buffers, and 16 miles of streams. The efforts will also open 287 miles of streams to fish passage and restore 147 acres of flood plain.

The competitive grants are part of the $787 million the Department of the Interior received in supplemental appropriations for recovery and resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. This includes $176 million in internal funds allocated to resiliency projects including projects to restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline, create habitat connectivity, improve flood resilience and undertake other efforts to protect nearby areas from future storms.

 


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