(Virginia Beach, VA. – Sept. 29, 2022) Yesterday, Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced $13.6 million in funding for 27 applications through the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. The program, which prioritizes natural infrastructure and low-income geographies, funds resilience planning, capacity building, studies and project implementation to advance community-scale flood resilience for local and regional governments across the commonwealth.
Applications submitted from over 50 localities totaled nearly $93 million – demonstrating a need to fund flood resilience statewide. Although this announcement fell short of allocating the full $40 million DCR had made available in April, DCR noted that an additional $30 million would be available for 32 remaining applications following revisions.
“Communities across Virginia desperately need funding and support to plan for and implement resilience strategies that reduce flooding already impacting lives and livelihoods across the Commonwealth. Southwest Virginians are still recovering from two summers in a row of devastating floods – and remnants of Hurricane Ian could once again inundate communities still cleaning up from July’s floods. We are thrilled to see this program continue to support investment in our communities stretching from Tazewell County to the Eastern Shore that need it most, as many of these communities do not have the resources to initiate this important planning and implementation without these grant awards.
“Flooding is impacting both coastal and inland communities today, and climate change will drive increased impacts in the future due to sea level rise and extreme rainfall. But the reality is that our communities cannot afford to wait for the promise of funding sometime in the future. The sole source of revenue for the Community Flood Preparedness Fund is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, from which Governor Youngkin has pledged to withdraw.
“The Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Youngkin Administration must continue to invest now in programs that reduce flood risk for vulnerable communities while equitably addressing the disproportionate impacts of statewide flooding.”
- Emily Steinhilber, Director, Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds, Virginia, Environmental Defense Fund
- The third round of the Community Flood Preparedness Fund awarded $13.6 million to 22 local and regional governments across Virginia. Of this, 94 percent of funds awarded went to low-income geographies and 12 awards funded capacity building projects.
- According to Virginia’s Coastal Resilience Master Plan, by 2080, the number of residents living in homes exposed to major coastal flooding will nearly triple from 360,000 people to nearly 1 million. Flood damages will skyrocket 1,300%, from $400 million to $5.1 billion annually. Without action, nearly 90% of tidal wetlands and almost 40% of dunes and beaches may be permanently inundated by 2080.
- Virginia’s Community Flood Preparedness Fund launched in 2021 and provides critical funding for local governments to plan and implement flood resilience projects and, importantly, can help local governments secure additional federal dollars through matching programs. Soil and Water Conservation Districts and state-recognized Tribes are also eligible to apply for the Community Flood Preparedness Fund.
- The fund receives revenue from Virginia’s involvement in the market-based Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). As the state’s only dedicated funding for flood resilience, continued revenue from RGGI auctions as well as other sources are critical to Virginia’s ability to address its growing flood risk.
- In 2021, the fund awarded over $32 million to nearly 50 applications from 30 local governments across the state, from Roanoke to Alexandria to the town of Oyster on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Learn more about the Community Flood Preparedness Fund and award recipients here.
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