CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES $50 MILLION IN GRANTS
AVAILABLE FOR LOCAL STORM-RESILIENCY PROJECTS
HUD-FUNDED PROGRAM COMPLEMENTS STATE’S COMPREHENSIVE RESILIENCY EFFORTS
(14/P119) TRENTON – Municipalities, counties and local government agencies may now apply for grants for projects that improve storm resiliency as part of $50 million in federal funding now available through the Department of Environmental Protection, the Christie Administration announced today.
The state is making U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding available for projects that reduce local flood risks and enhance resiliency. The funding comes from HUD’s second round of Superstorm Sandy aid for New Jersey, released earlier this year to help the state meet a broad range of post-storm needs.
This initiative will focus on critical risk reduction initiatives, which include, among other things, addressing flood risks posed by coastal lakes and inland waterways, enhancing storm water management systems, and incorporating both man-made flood barriers and nature-based solutions, such as restoration of wetlands and creation of living shorelines, where appropriate.
“The Flood Hazard Risk Reduction Measures Grant Program is part of the Christie Administration’s ongoing commitment to making New Jersey more resilient in the face of future storms,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. “These competitive grants provide an excellent opportunity for municipal governments, county governments, improvement authorities and other local agencies to move forward with shovel-ready projects that will provide direct protection to communities and neighborhoods.”
The Flood Hazard Grant program was formally kicked off this week with its publication on Monday in the New Jersey Register. Please visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/floodhazard/ for additional information, including the scoring criteria for potential projects.
Projects must be in the counties most impacted by Superstorm Sandy, as determined by the federal government, including Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union. Preference may be given to areas of low and moderate income in accordance with HUD’s national objectives. Regional coordination on projects is encouraged.
Each application will be evaluated for potential effectiveness in reducing flooding and enhancing resiliency, compliance with environmental reviews, constructability, analysis of cost-to-benefits, protection of critical infrastructure, and other factors. The maximum grant award for any project is $15 million.
The DEP will host an information session on the CDBG Flood Risk Reduction Grant Program on Friday Nov. 14 from 2p.m. to 4 p.m. at its headquarters Public Hearing Room, 401 E. State Street, Trenton. The deadline for submissions of project applications is December 15. The DEP expects to announce grant awards around the middle of January.
The program complements the Administration’s comprehensive Sandy recovery and resiliency efforts, which include Blue Acres buyouts of flood-prone residential properties, the DEP’s partnership with the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to provide financing for hardening of water and wastewater infrastructure, and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) residential flood-elevation program.
The DEP also recently released a series of studies it commissioned, which were developed by the state’s leading academic institutions and which proposed diverse ways to better protect the state from future storms. Among the options evaluated are bolstering vulnerable areas with more hard protective structures such as levees and flood gates, restoring salt marshes to better absorb flood waters, and conducting detailed modeling to better understand flood pathways.
Study areas focused on the Hudson River waterfront (including Hoboken, Jersey City Weehawken and Bayonne), the Hackensack River (including Moonachie and Little Ferry), the Arthur Kill (including Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway and Woodbridge), the Barnegat Bay watershed, and Delaware Bay.
Applicants are encouraged to evaluate these studies as they put their CDBG project applications together.
The recommendations from the academic institutions have been submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for inclusion in its comprehensive plan for providing greater storm resilience for the North Atlantic Region. They also may be integrated into HUD’s Rebuild by Design Initiative, which is focusing on flood vulnerability reduction strategies for the New York-New Jersey Harbor region.
Institutions taking part in the studies in active or support roles were Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Richard Stockton State College, Monmouth University, and Montclair University.
For more information on the CDBG project grant program, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/floodhazard/
For more information on the university studies, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/flood/index.html