HUD Grant Will Improve Shoreline Infrastructure in New Haven and Bridgeport
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today joined Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) Commissioner Evonne M. Klein and members of the state's congressional delegation to announce that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved a $54 million grant the state applied for that will be used to improve shoreline infrastructure and increase resiliency to combat future weather events.
"Over the last few years in Connecticut, we have transformed the way we respond to emergencies, and we are now more prepared to respond to an extreme weather event than ever before. We are no doubt continuing to be proactive in modernizing our infrastructure so that our state - and especially our shoreline - is even more protected for the next severe weather event," Governor Malloy said. "Global warming is real - the science is real. And the more we all acknowledge that reality, the more prepared we can be for extreme weather. I want to thank the Obama Administration, particularly Secretary Julián Castro and his team at HUD, the state Department of Housing, and our Congressional delegation for our united efforts to see that we can help communities better prepare for future storms."
Connecticut was one of a few states that received grants from the National Disaster Resiliency Competition (NDRC), which was a competitive funding round offered by HUD to ensure states are prepared for future weather events. The grant will be administered by DOH, who has been the primary state agency charged with administering the Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.
"Under Governor Malloy's leadership we have made a swift and smart recovery from Super Storm Sandy," Commissioner Klein said. "This funding will build on that success, ensuring that Connecticut is better prepared for future storms. Making our state more resilient will safeguard residents and protect our shoreline from future storm damage."
"Bridgeport's South End has sustained repeated, severe flooding, damaging property, endangering lives and causing extended power outages - an experience shared by Connecticut's coastal communities all along the Long Island Sound," Senator Richard Blumenthal said. "This substantial, competitive federal award will do more than just repair past damage - it will help ensure the South End will thrive for decades to come while also funding comprehensive planning efforts to proactively protect and preserve all of our coastal communities."
"Today is a transformational day for our coastline communities," Senator Chris Murphy said. "Just days after HUD Secretary Julián Castro visited Connecticut, I'm pleased to announce that we have secured $54 million to rebuild more resilient communities along the Long Island Sound. I first invited Secretary Castro to visit the state during an Appropriations Committee hearing last year, when I personally pressed him for additional Sandy relief funds. Hurricane Sandy ravaged our coast and flooded our homes, and with the risks of climate change only getting worse, we can no longer rely on band aid fixes. We need forward-looking improvements and bold investments. Today's federal grant, which was made possible by the hard work and close collaboration of local, state, and federal leaders, gets us closer to that goal."
"Through this grant, we will address vulnerabilities to our infrastructure that can make such a difference in instances of extreme weather, which is becoming all too common due to climate change," Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said. "Events like Hurricane Sandy threaten the safety, health, and economy of our people and our state. I am pleased that we have been awarded this grant, so that we can reduce these risks, and factor the social and economic needs of local communities into our disaster planning moving forward."
"As we prepare today for another major storm to descend on the Eastern Seaboard, we remember the long-term damage that Sandy caused to our communities," Congressman Jim Himes said. "Today's $54 million grant will help Bridgeport, Fairfield County, and other communities prepare for future disasters, which will save money and lives down the road. The federal government has been a strong partner in helping us rebuild from the devastation of previous storms, and today we are continuing and expanding the efforts to make our communities more resilient and less vulnerable to the next disaster. Climate change is causing these extreme weather events to be more common, so there's not a moment to waste in our preparations."
"Though it has been over three years since Super Storm Sandy devastated the region, Connecticut still faces considerable recovery efforts," Congressman John Larson said. "I commend Governor Malloy and HUD for their continued commitment to ensuring Connecticut emerges stronger and more resilient than ever. I am proud to support our neighbors in Bridgeport and across the coastline in their efforts to guard against future flooding and storm damage."
"This grant announcement is great news for Connecticut and will go a long way to helping us prepare for future natural disasters," Congressman Joe Courtney said. "With our state being located on the edge of the eastern seaboard with over 300 miles of coastline, we are particularly vulnerable to a range of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, coastal flooding, and sea level rise. I'm very glad that HUD was able to recognize the risks faced by our state and has committed to helping us prepare for the worst, even as we hope for the best."
"Make no mistake, the National Disaster Resilience Competition was hard fought, and I am thrilled that the Department of Housing and Urban Develop is awarding $54 million for Connecticut to improve our infrastructure," Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said. "Having survived Super Storm Sandy and other recent disasters, Connecticut understands resiliency. This federal funding will improve our ability to withstand the increasing challenges of climate change and recover quickly from natural disasters."
The State of Connecticut is focused on reconnecting and protecting economically-isolated coastal neighborhoods through investments in green streets that will protect against flooding as well as strengthen existing ties to transportation nodes. This HUD funding will support a pilot project in Bridgeport that is part of the state's broader Connecticut Connections Coastal Resilience Plan. Funds will establish the South End Resilience Network, reconnecting the South End community with the downtown via a raised greenway that, combined with a stormwater treatment park, will also provide protection from coastal flooding. In addition, the funding will support the state's efforts to bring these same approaches to other at-risk communities along the I-95 corridor by contributing to planning efforts, including economic and climate modeling.
Funding for the following projects has been approved under the federal grant:
Bridgeport - South End East Resilience Network - $34,368,759: Elevation of University Avenue and construction of a greenway earthen berm to create a new baseline for the establishment of an urban coastal community that will be protected against future storms and sea level rise, removing the risk to reinvestment and inviting new development to strengthen this extension of downtown Bridgeport.
Bridgeport - Community Design Center - $1,000,000: Construction and rehabilitation of an anchor community center in the South End to serve as a design center and central location for future recovery efforts.
Bridgeport - South End District Energy Infrastructure Study - $350,000: Analysis of opportunities to utilize micro-grids, cogeneration systems, and alternative energy sources to limit disruptions in energy supply due to emergencies.
New Haven/Fairfield County - Floodplain Design Guidelines - $330,000: Development of new guidelines to incorporate cutting edge flood mitigation technologies
New Haven/Fairfield County - Connecticut Connections Coastal Resilience Plan - $18,228,600: Extend this existing planning effort to more communities in New Haven and Fairfield Counties with the goal of providing accessible downscaled inland and coastal flooding information at the watershed scale for inland and coastal municipalities.
Bridgeport and the new administration of Mayor Joe Ganim appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of $54.2 million in federal funds awarded Thursday to Connecticut to help Fairfield and New Haven counties better prepare for coastal flooding and climate change.
Ganim, who was at the White House in connection with a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was pulled aside and told the city was receiving about $38 million for flood control in the city's south end, said his spokesman, Av Harris.
The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rockefeller Foundation as part of the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition for states and communities affected by major disasters between 2011 and 2013. Ganim's predecessor, Bill Finch, was a strong backer of the application.
"Climate change is real and we must think more seriously about how to plan for it," said Julián Castro, the HUD secretary who recently visited Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.
Connecticut's entry on behalf of the state was put together by the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation, a joint center run by UConn and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Office of Policy and Management and other departments. It had asked for nearly $115 million for resiliency work in Bridgeport and New Haven and for resiliency planning in the Connecticut coastal counties most damaged by Storm Sandy.
HUD only mentioned Bridgeport in its announcement, but the state also is receiving planning funds for floodplain design guidelines and further work on the "Connecticut Connections Coastal Resilience Plan" in Fairfield and New Haven counties.
The HUD announcement upstaged plans for a press conference Friday at noon by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and the U.S. representative whose districts include Bridgeport and New Haven, Jim Himes of the 4th District and Rosa L. DeLauro of the 3rd District.
A number of Bridgeport's coastal neighborhoods have suffered repeated flooding, most notably during Sandy and the earlier Tropical Storm Irene. Finch, who lost a Democratic primary last summer, had been active in looking for means to remediate flooded areas, which included moving some housing projects. The new Barnum train station was partly designed to provide a transportation hub for those residents that might be moved to other areas of the city.
But it will be the new Ganim administration that will have to work with the institute and the Malloy administration on formal plans in keeping with the parameters of the application.
"These initiatives transcend administrations," April Capone, who is handling the application process as part of her intergovernmental affairs duties at the Office of Policy and Management, said in November. "Yes, we did have a mayor who was very progressive. This does not hinge on one elected official."
The new mayor was excited to receive the grant, Harris said.
HUD said the state's coastal resilience plan is focused on "reconnecting and protecting economically-isolated coastal neighborhoods through investments in mixed green and gray infrastructure that protect against flooding while strengthening their connectivity to existing transportation nodes."
Connecticut was among 40 finalist states, cities and counties applying for the funding. Thirteen received awards. New York and New Jersey were already promised at least $181 million. In the end, New York state ($176 million) and New York City ($38.5 million) got $214 million; New Jersey got only $15 million; and Louisiana and New Orleans got the most, nearly $234 million.
Springfield, Mass., received $17 million.
Groton - Six research projects that will benefit Long Island Sound and coastal Connecticut with a total value of $879,091 will be funded by the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program, according to an announcement on Friday.
The projects help achieve objectives set out in the program's four thematic focus areas: healthy coasts and oceans; safe, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; resilient coastal communities and economies; and environmental literacy and workforce development.
The recipients are:
* Wei Zhang and Christine Kirchhoff of the University of Connecticut Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for research aimed at reducing coastal community vulnerabilities by evaluating and comparing trade-offs in residential home building designs to reduce risk of wind and flood damage. The towns of Fairfield and Milford are participating in the study.
* Stephen Swallow of the UConn Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, who will lead a team of investigators who will survey Connecticut coastal residents to examine their preferences and values with respect to various measures to preserve coastal areas and resources in the face of sea level rise.
* Robert Mason and Zofia Baumann of the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, who will examine mercury concentrations and methylation in water and sediments, and how it accumulates into marine fish and shellfish. They will sample multiple locations along the Connecticut coast that differ in mercury sediment concentration levels.
* Hans Dam of the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, who will investigate the combined effects of warming waters and ocean acidification on a key species of copepod, Acartia tonsa. Copepods, small zooplankton, are the most abundant animals in the ocean and Long Island Sound, and are a primary food source for larger animals such as fish. Hannes Baumann and Michael Finiguerra are also participating in the project.
* Penny Vlahos and Michael Whitney of the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, who will determine chemical budgets and fluxes of carbon and nitrogen in Long Island Sound, to determine how much goes into the Sound and back out to the ocean, by what routes, and how fast. This information is essential to effectively manage water quality in the Sound.
* Finiguerra, of the UConn Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Rachel Gabriel, of the UConn Neag School of Education, will bring together an educational researcher, a coastal scientist, and high school teachers to develop and test a variety of education strategies to increase coastal literacy.
Connecticut Sea Grant, part of the National Sea Grant College Program, is a federal and state partnership based at UConn's Avery Point campus and administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
(HARTFORD, CT) - Today, State Department of Housing (DOH) Commissioner Evonne M. Klein, announced more than $7 million in grants that were awarded to cities and towns across Connecticut who were most affected by Superstorm Sandy. These grants will be used for planning activities to develop mitigation and resiliency plans.
Last year the state was awarded $71.8 million through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. The CDBG-DR funding has been distributed by DOH to help the most impacted and distressed communities in Connecticut recover from Superstorm Sandy. This is one of the final allotments being made under the program to help improve infrastructure and planning to make critical upgrades that will combat against future storms.
"These grants are yet another way that Connecticut is rebuilding after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy," said Commissioner Klein. "Thanks to the leadership of Governor Malloy, who has made housing and resiliency a top priority, we were able to award these grants to several municipalities, state agencies, and organizations across the state to make proactive efforts to combat against future storms."
The CDBG-DR Tranche # 2 Planning for Mitigation and Resiliency award recipients are as follows:
* Fairfield-South Benson Pump Water Station & Drainage Improvement- $300,000
The grant will be used to provide flood protection to more than 1,000 residences, a school, a museum, and Town Hall.
* Fairfield-Planning Resiliency for Downtown Fairfield Using Green Infrastructure- $100,000
The grant will be used to provide guidance needed to direct all future development and redevelopment of downtown. It will incorporate green infrastructure that will reduce future storm water flooding problems.
* Fairfield-Pine Creek Dike Elevation Plan- $300,000
The grant will provide funding needed to determine the appropriate height to raise the existing dike, helping to protect against future storms.
* Fairfield-Fairfield Beach Design of Beach Sand Replacement- $100,000
This grant will help make town owned beaches more resilient against future storms.
* Fairfield-Riverside Drive Coastal Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Study- $250,000
This grant will fund a study to determine needed infrastructure upgrades to alleviate damage from future flooding.
* Milford-Pelham Street Planning and Design for Resiliency and Public Access- $150,000
This grant will provide funding to replace a seawall and a staircase on Pelham Street to reduce erosion and will improve public access to area beaches.
* Milford-Crescent Beach Planning & Design for Beach Resiliency and Stabilization- $225,000
The proposed project contains 3 phases that will increase resiliency on Crescent beach and the surrounding area to protect the community against future storms.
* Milford-Gulf Street & Welch's Point Road Planning and Design for Stabilization & Resiliency- $275,000
This project will determine needed infrastructure upgrades and will stabilize the shoreline and harden nearby roads against future storms.
* Milford-Walnut & Wildemere Beach Study for Resiliency and Stabilization- $325,000
This project will help make hard and green infrastructure improvements to stabilize the shoreline.
* Stonington-Coastal Resilience Plan- $150,000
The project is intended to be a comprehensive study of coastal resiliency and is intended to improve area infrastructure, housing, transportation, and economic development.
* West Haven-Community Coastal Resilience Plan & Wastewater Treatment Facility Outfall Feasibility Study- $278,000
The project is intended to be a comprehensive study that will produce recommendations that will benefit housing, transportation, public facilities, and infrastructure.
* Old Saybrook-Community Coastal Resilience Study & Infrastructure Evaluation- $125,000
The project will fund a Community Coastal Resilience Study for the Town of Old Saybrook. The study will produce recommendations for regulatory tools that will benefit housing, transportation, public facilities, and infrastructure.
* New Haven-Residential Planning and Demand Analysis for the Redevelopment of Church Street South $500,000
The project will outline strategic goals for the redevelopment of a blighted and environmentally hazardous residential property. It will determine the most appropriate residential and mixed-use developments needed in the area, and will make use of planning initiatives included in existing storm water and flood mitigations studies. The plan will also evaluate current roadway design, potentially resulting in a new road and pedestrian corridor from Union Station to Church Street.
* Westport-Downtown Westport Flood Resiliency Planning: Master Drainage Plan & Stream Study $650,000
This grant will fund a study of the major stream tributary that collects water from the upper reaches of the town and causes flooding in Downtown Westport. The study of current drainage conditions and issues will attempt to identify the causes of flooding and provide suggested improvement measures.
* New London-Shaw's Cove Pump Station Steel Pile Wall Reconstruction $120,000
This project will evaluate the Shaw's Cove levee and reconstruction, which is a critical infrastructure component in the city's flood control plan. Located in a vulnerable location, the levee protects the Shaw's Cove Pump Station and the fuel holding tanks as well a variety of housing units and businesses and is in need of improvements.
* Waterford-Climate Change Vulnerability: Risk Assessment & Adaptation $175,000
The study will focus on municipal infrastructure and natural resources most likely to be affected by future storms. The study will complete an analysis of its drainage infrastructure, roadways, and sewer pump stations in order to identify priorities for increasing resiliency.
* University of Connecticut-Scoping of Dredge Material Islands & Wetlands for Green Infrastructure Resiliency Projects- $317,709
This grant will fund a study to determine the feasibility, of using dredge materials to build fringe wetlands or offshore islands to prevent erosion and improve drainage.
* CT Rises-Long Term Planning & Recovery $111,550
Individual plans for cities and towns across the state will be developed to implement a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC), which is the most effective method of getting information and assistance to residents in a timely manner following a major storm. The grant will help develop a permanent portal for future disaster assistance.
* Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments-Regional Long Term Recovery - Land Use Resiliency Plan $100,000
The goal of the study is to create a clear path to recovery after future storms and plan for initiatives to build resiliency throughout the region. The plan will establish the overall responsibilities for emergency recovery operations as well as plans for responding to future storm events. This will be done by encouraging partnerships between local, regional and state governing bodies, the private business sector, nonprofits, social service agencies, emergency responders, and area residents.
* Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH)-Drinking Water Vulnerability Assessment and Resiliency Plan- $600,000
The plan will help identify vulnerabilities, as well as take measures to enhance resiliency in areas with drinking water supplies.
* Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)-Municipal Resilience Planning Assistance Project $1,205,450
DEEP will develop tools for municipalities in the four counties affected by Superstorm Sandy to assess the vulnerability of infrastructure (including waste water treatment plants, pump stations, roads, and public safety assets) to flooding from rivers and storm surges now and in the next 25-50 years when it is likely that sea levels will be higher. DEEP will create technical assistance programs for municipalities to test and evaluate their tools and supports that currently exist.
* Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP)-Fuel Study: Improve Resiliency through the Strengthening of the Fuel Network $200,000
The study will enhance public safety measures by addressing current municipal plans that could adversely impact evacuations of residents from at-risk areas following an emergency event. The study will evaluate rapid response planning and responding immediately following a major storm.
* Division of Emergency Management & Homeland Security (DEMHS)-Update of the State of Connecticut's Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan $50,000
This grant will fund a plan to identify the State's mitigation policies and capabilities to reduce risk and future losses. This task includes a review of the current plan, updating the risk assessment model, and determining a final outcome with FEMA.
* Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)-Development of a Data Management System & Decision Support Tool to Assess Water Availability & Sustainability $530,000
This grant will fund a study to address the predictive tools needed to evaluate the state water resource capacity, sustainability, and infrastructure. The proposal is for a pilot project in the southeastern Connecticut coastal area including New London County and part of Middlesex County.