The North Carolina Land and Water Fund (NCLWF) awarded $15 million in grants this week for 17 projects that will help protect North Carolina’s communities and natural resources from flooding, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.
“Reducing flood risk is critical for the health of our families and our economy,” Cooper said. “These grants will benefit local communities by enhancing water quality, providing open space for North Carolinians, protecting our natural resources, and keeping our communities safe.”
“In addition to reducing the risks of flooding, these state investments will increase recreation opportunities, conserve wildlife habitat, preserve historic and cultural sites, and enhance quality of life,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “This funding from the General Assembly and Governor demonstrates our state’s commitment to protecting communities across the state.”
As directed and funded by the North Carolina General Assembly, grants awarded will protect and restore floodplains and wetlands for the purposes of reducing flooding, improving water quality, restoring wildlife habitat, and providing recreational opportunities throughout the state. Funds were awarded by the NCLWF Board of Trustees for projects designed to store floodwaters during major rain events, remove infrastructure from flood-prone areas, and restore wetlands, floodplains, and other natural areas to better retain stormwater.
Examples of some of the diverse flood reduction projects funded include:
• North Carolina State University will construct and monitor natural infrastructure systems to study the potential of "water farming" on agricultural lands to reduce flood risks downstream. Berms built around agricultural fields and the construction of a stormwater retention pond will allow farm managers to contribute to the control of flood waters while continuing to maximize crop yields.
• The City of Durham will add flood control storage to a stream and wetland project being developed along 2,085 linear feet of tributaries to South Ellerbe Creek. Construction of a low embankment and outlet structure will allow the stream and wetland complex to store over 50 acre-feet of stormwater and provide significant flood mitigation for downstream residential neighborhoods.
• The Haywood Waterways Association will acquire lands upstream of the Town of Canton to store floodwaters, remove infrastructure from the floodway of the Pigeon River, and relocate the Town’s public water supply intake to an elevation above expected flood levels.
• The City of Lumberton will acquire four floodplain parcels within its “Lumber Loop” urban greenway corridor and remove structures and impervious surfaces. Floodplain wetlands will also be restored and connected hydrologically to existing adjacent wetlands. Floodplain restoration will allow for 23 acre-feet of stormwater to be detained, limiting flooding in nearby neighborhoods.
• The Town of Seven Springs will build upon ongoing FEMA flood buyout efforts by enhancing the ecological, public, and local community benefits of newly acquired public lands. FEMA-purchased parcels will be developed to support the nearby Cliffs of the Neuse State Park and improve town services while preserving floodplain areas that can be flooded safely and naturally.
“The Board received 61 applications totaling over $80 million in requests from North Carolina communities, conservation groups, and agency partners proposing a wide variety of great projects throughout the state,” said Ann Browning, chair of the NCLWF Flood Risk Reduction Committee. "While high demand required tough decisions by our trustees, it is gratifying to see such strong interest among our community partners in deploying nature-based solutions to help protect North Carolinians’ lives and property from flood risk.”
A complete list of grant awards is available on the NCLWF website at https://nclwf.nc.gov/2022-flood-risk-reduction-awards/open
About the North Carolina Land and Water Fund
The North Carolina Land and Water Fund, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources previously known as the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, was established in 1996 to protect the state's drinking water sources. The North Carolina General Assembly expanded the Fund’s mission to include conserving and protecting the state's natural resources, cultural heritage and military installations. The North Carolina Land and Water Fund has conserved over 500,000 acres to date and protected or restored 3,000 miles of streams and rivers. To learn more, visit nclwf.nc.gov.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.