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NOAA Awards $11M for Coastal and Infrastructure Resilience Research

The awards will fund 18 coastal resilience research projects across the nation

Motorists crossing a flooded street in a low-lying Norfolk neighborhood called Colonial Place, which floods at every high tide

Motorists crossing a flooded street in a low-lying Norfolk neighborhood called Colonial Place, which floods at every high tide. Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program/Will Parson

NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) is announcing $11M in Fiscal Year 2022 to fund 18 coastal resilience research projects across the nation. The complex challenges of sea level rise, coastal flooding, and increased storm frequency pose increasing risks to our nation’s communities and their surrounding ecosystems. Storm surge and coastal flooding that alters shorelines also represent a significant — and costly — threat to ports, roads, railways and public transportation. As the shift of preferred coastal protection measures from traditional engineered structures to natural and nature-based features (NNBF) gains momentum, so too does the need for scientific assessments of their effectiveness and implementation.

NCCOS is allocating $800K for three new awards and $3.2 million for 13 continuing awards, funded under its Effects of Sea Level Rise (ESLR) Program. Funded projects will help inform mitigation of sea level rise (SLR) impacts to coastal ecosystems, communities, infrastructure and surface transportation; and investigate the ability of NNBF to reduce the impacts of sea level rise and flooding. A full list of the new grant awards is available online.

In addition to the competitive ESLR awards, NCCOS was congressionally directed to fund two efforts to improve coastal community response to sea level rise.

  • $5M for a Community-Direct Spending (CDS) request for a Coastal Infrastructure and Resilience Research Initiative in Georgia. The project aims to develop the knowledge and tools to design adaptive coastal infrastructure and equitable resilience strategies under projected future sea level rise scenarios along the Georgia coastline. The project is led by the Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • $2M to address the increasing risk of coastal inundation due to sea level rise through a project with the Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology (CIROH), in coordination with the National Weather Service. The project is led by Alabama University and aims to connect the National Water Model with models that can predict the performance of natural and nature-based features for reducing the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge.

These awards contribute to a larger NOAA effort to provide science to inform decisions, conserve priority ecosystems and advance the use of natural infrastructure to lessen the effects of coastal hazards. By combining field research with models and tools that can predict vulnerability and resilience, these projects will identify the most effective actions and land management decisions that consider both human and ecological needs, and will help develop best practices for the inclusion of ecosystems in coastal protection strategies.

NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for NOAA’s National Ocean Service and its partners, bringing research, scientific information and tools to help balance the nation’s ecological, social and economic goals. Visit our website for more about NCCOS research.