CRC Wins Federal Grant to Foster Rhode Island’s Storm Readiness

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Adapting to Coastal Climate Change

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The U.S. Department of the Interior awarded a $400,000 grant to CRC to help the local municipalities of Newport, North Kingstown and Warwick prepare for climate change by adding green infrastructure — techniques that build on the natural ability of vegetation, soil and rocks to slow and/or absorb water — to their planning approaches.

“Leveraging the natural abilities of a shoreline to adapt to more water — be it from storms or sea level rise — is increasingly a direction that science and policy are examining, and we’re pleased to be part of that,” CRC Coastal Manager Pam Rubinoff said.

CRC, which is affiliated with the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program., also will partner with the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences, the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association, Save the Bay and the University of New Hampshire on the project.

CRC is among several Rhode Island groups awarded federal funds for projects to build resiliency to flooding and erosion caused by storms and sea level rise. Another of those grants went to URI Graduate School of Oceanography Professor John King, who was awarded $870,000 in funds for collection of new data to inform the developing Rhode Island Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP), a regulatory plan that will guide how coastal communities prepare for, and adapt to, storms and encroaching ocean water as seas rise.

The grants are part of a larger effort by the U.S. Department of the Interior to support research and restoration efforts for protecting coastal communities and shoreline areas in the aftermath of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. More than 370 proposals were submitted to the $100 million grant competition, and 54 were awarded, including the two URI projects.