On Friday, December 1, United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse announced over $1.5 million in federal funding had been awarded through the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF) to improve the environmental resiliency of Rhode Island communities. The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council was one of the three recipients. Funding through the NCRF was provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as well as additional funding through the Inflation Reduction Act.

The WRWC was awarded a $320,000 grant to develop a watershed-wide plan addressing resiliency challenges. The project will boost flood resiliency and reduce water quality impacts along the Woonasquatucket River. This grant will also support our ongoing work of training frontline leaders and municipal partners to rank and prioritize restoration sites. WRWC Executive Director Alicia Lehrer expressed her gratitude for this funding on behalf of the organization: “The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is so grateful to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, the National Coastal Resilience Fund, and Senator Whitehouse’s advocacy for the opportunity that NCRF provides to make the Woonasquatucket River Watershed, and all coastal areas, more flood resilient. These funds will help us build on our strong partnerships with Woonasquatucket watershed communities and our residents most affected by flooding to prioritize and develop projects that will not only help us adapt to climate change but improve our communities next to the river.”

The NCRF was developed by Senator Whitehouse to improve environmental resilience among coastal communities by strengthening the natural infrastructure that protects our coastlines. Since its founding in 2018, the NCRF has awarded more than $400 million in federal funding for environmental resilience projects across the country. Within Rhode Island, the grant’s funds have helped the state identify areas along the coastline that are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels and design projects to prevent flooding and restore natural habitats that function as natural buffers for coastal areas. The WRWC is incredibly grateful for Senator Whitehouse’s ongoing support and efforts to combat climate change!

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