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  • Writer's pictureTom Kenny

NOAA Climate Resilience and Coastal Communities Funding

The U.S. Department of Commerce has introduced a $2.6 billion framework to invest in coastal resilience through President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This initiative aims to support communities and individuals impacted by climate change, with a particular focus on environmental justice and tribal priorities. Approximately $400 million will be allocated specifically for tribal habitat restoration and fish populations. The funding will also contribute to weather and climate data improvement, support the America the Beautiful conservation initiative, and enhance NOAA's fleet of research aircraft and ships for studying the ocean and atmosphere.

The $2.6 billion investment will address climate resilience and benefit coastal communities, particularly tribes and vulnerable populations. It will provide resources for weather and climate event preparation, workforce development, marine resources, nature-based solutions, conservation, regional partnerships, and tribal priorities. This investment will supplement the funding outlined in the nearly $3 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), including the previously announced $562 million in Climate-Ready Coasts awards.

The IRA initiative outlines several funding programs:

  1. Climate Resilience Regional Challenge ($575 million): NOAA will launch a competitive grant program to invest in holistic and collaborative approaches to coastal resilience at regional scales. The program will have two funding tracks: Regional Collaborative Building and Strategy Development, and Implementation of Resilience and Adaptation Actions.

  2. Tribal Priorities ($390 million): This funding is specifically designated for tribes to support habitat restoration, fish passage, capacity building, science, fish hatcheries, and Pacific salmon.

  3. Climate-Ready Fisheries ($349 million): Projects aimed at conserving fisheries and protected species in coastal regions throughout the country. The objective is to develop dynamic fisheries management systems that incorporate climate and ecosystem environmental data for informed decision-making.

  4. Ocean-Based Climate Resilience Accelerators ($100 million): NOAA will establish a competitive business accelerator program to meet market needs related to coastal and ocean-based resilience products and services. These accelerators will assist businesses in commercializing products and services that help communities adapt to climate change.

  5. Climate-Ready Workforce ($60 million): Funding to address emerging and existing workforce needs, placing workers in high-quality jobs that enhance climate resilience. Training and support services will also be provided to help workers advance their careers and implement climate resilience efforts in the public and private sectors.

The framework also includes additional funding for high-quality project applications received through BIL competitions, non-competitive funding for the Integrated Ocean Observing System, support for marine and Great Lakes sanctuary designations, technical assistance to states, localities, tribes, and other partners, and funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.

The IRA has allocated $3.3 billion to NOAA, including $200 million for improving NOAA's climate and data services. This includes initiatives such as developing tailored climate data products and services for the private sector, advancing climate information and adaptation capacity, improving numerical weather prediction, and enhancing severe weather warnings.

The remaining IRA funding will support critical infrastructure improvements for NOAA facilities, including the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, the Sandy Hook Lab, piers in Newport and Charleston, construction of research vessels, high-performance computing capacity, acquisition of a second "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft, and facilities projects at multiple national marine sanctuaries.

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