New Hampshire renews its program to improve resilience to climate crisis hazards in coastal communities

On May 20, 2020, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Coastal Program announced targeted funds available for projects that improve resilience to coastal hazards in New Hampshire (NH) communities.

Each year, coastal NH communities experience damages to property, infrastructure, natural and cultural resources, and associated economic and social disruptions from coastal storms, flooding, and erosion.

According to the 2019-2020 New Hampshire Coastal Flood Risk Summary, coastal flood hazards are projected to intensify and expand with the effects of climate change. In order to address current and future coastal flood hazards, communities have expressed a need for funding and technical assistance to increase capacity, improve vulnerability and risk assessment information, conduct planning, and design site-specific adaptation strategies.

This year, as communities grapple with the added challenges of providing public health and safety and encouraging economic resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of ensuring that our communities can be resilient to natural coastal hazards is even more apparent.

The NHDES Coastal Program has now announced the 2020 NH Coastal Resilience Grant opportunity. These funds are intended to support decision capacity-building, assessment, planning, and design projects to increase resilience to coastal hazards. Projects must take place within one or more of the 17 Coastal Zone communities.

For the purposes of this funding opportunity, “Coastal resilience” is defined as the capacity of a coastal community or coastal system to thrive in a changing climate—not only measured by the capacity to “bounce back” quickly from shocks and stresses, but also, and perhaps more importantly, measured by the capacity to “leap forward” to create new ways of working that enable sustained achievement of community goals and social, economic, and environmental well-being over the long-term.

Eligible applicants include coastal municipalities, state agencies, quasi-governmental organizations (such as regional planning commissions), academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations. Preference will be given to proposals that involve coastal municipal governments or demonstrate clear buy-in from one or more coastal communities.

Total anticipated federal grant funding for all NH Coastal Resilience grant projects is approximately $150,000. Applicants must request a minimum of $25,000 and no more than $75,000 in federal grant funds per project. A 4:1 federal grant funds to non-federal match through cash or in-kind services is required. Non-federal match commitments exceeding the 4:1 requirement are encouraged. Funds are made available to the NHDES Coastal Program through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office for Coastal Management, under the Coastal Zone Management Act

This funding opportunity marks the fifth year that the NHDES Coastal Program has offered competitive grant funds for coastal resilience projects. Between 2014 and 2019, 16 projects were funded throughout the NH coast totaling more than $700,000 in federal grant funds and nearly $400,000 in match commitment from grantees.

Projects selected for funding in 2019 included a vulnerability assessment of the Seabrook Wastewater Treatment Facility, integration of coastal resilience in Sustainability Program development for the town of Exeter, improved stormwater and urban tree management in the city of Dover, and development of coastal hazards and adaptation master plan chapters for the towns of North Hampton and Durham.

Coastal Zone communities include Dover, Durham, Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Madbury, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, North Hampton, Portsmouth, Rollinsford, Rye, Seabrook, and Stratham.

Contact NHDES Coastal Program Resilience Coordinator Kirsten Howard at (603) 559-0020 or with inquiries about the open request for proposals or past coastal resilience grants

For more information on eligibility, project types, and submittal requirements, view the full request for proposals in PDF or as a Word Document. Proposals must be submitted electronically by email to by 4:00 pm EDT on Friday, July 31, 2020. The highest scoring applicants will be asked to refine scopes of services and budgets for contracting.

Photo of tugs in Portsmouth, New Hampshire by Michael Roy from Pixabay.

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