Washington, DC – Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today joined with Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) to announce $193,090 in federal funding to make the state’s coastline more resilient to future storms and rising sea levels. The funds were made available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Coastal Zone Management Program, and will go to support CRMC’s Rhode Island Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP).
The Beach SAMP is an ongoing project aimed at identifying areas at high risk to coastal erosion, storm surge, and sea level rise along Rhode Island’s coast. It will also seek to analyze the economic costs associated with shoreline changes and identify specific infrastructure and facilities that may be at risk for future flooding. Data collected through the Beach SAMP will be used to develop practical policies that Rhode Island communities can use to increase coastal resilience and minimize future damage from coastal hazards. This includes nature-based resiliency projects like restoring wetlands, coastal dunes, and beaches which also protect coastal homeowners and businesses.\
“This is a smart investment in protecting our coastal communities,” said Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NOAA. “Along with the $870,000 in federal funding the state received last month for URI’s coastal resiliency project, these federal funds will help further develop the Beach SAMP and make Rhode Island a national leader in coastal modelling and management.”
“As climate change continues to threaten our coasts with rising sea levels and bigger storm surges, we need to better understand and anticipate how these threats will affect our state,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “The Beach SAMP will give local managers, homeowners, and businesses the information they need to protect coastal properties and resources. This funding will also help the program expand its scope beyond the state’s southern coast to include other coastal communities.”
“Rhode Islanders know better than most the potential for direct and dramatic impacts from climate change on our beaches and coastal communities,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “I am pleased that with this funding, the Beach SAMP will enable us to respond to these threats in a meaningful, forward-thinking and cost-effective way.”
“Climate change is having a real impact on Rhode Island’s coastal communities,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “While current information can help us prepare for some of these very serious threats, the Beach SAMP will help us carefully monitor and track storms and rising sea levels to help homeowners and businesses mitigate the effects posed by global climate change. The Coastal Resources Management Council is extremely well qualified to use these funds effectively to benefit Rhode Island."
"One of Rhode Island's greatest assets is our magnificent coastline, and this grant will allow the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council to identify areas at risk of coastal erosion, storm surge and sea level rise,” Governor Chafee said. “I am glad that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has stepped up with this grant that addresses issues facing our coastal management.”
“This NOAA award will provide needed funding to assess the erosion problems along the South Shore of Rhode Island,” said CRMC Executive Director Grover Fugate. “With this information, we will be able forecast what our future shoreline will look like as climate change impacts our state, and allow us to make better decisions both in the short and long-term.”
In addition to this funding from NOAA, CRMC has also received funding from BOEM, DOI, FWS, NRCS, HUD, and the State of RI to fund the Beach SAMP and other coastal resiliency efforts. These funds will help state leaders and resource agencies better manage the coastal areas to protect property, lives, and natural habitat into the future.