Local Government Guide to Coastal Resilience: Funding

Types of Funding and Financing

Once partnerships are in place and mitigation actions are defined, communities must find funding to implement their ideas. Funding and financing options for adaptation, mitigation and recovery efforts include: 

Taxes and Fees

Taxes and fees offer a consistent stream of income to fund resilience efforts. Across the U.S., there are several examples of local county governments imposing taxes to pay for projects that enhance coastal resiliency. For example, the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay area, established a 20-year parcel tax that will help fund wetland restoration efforts (a method to combat increases in sea level) in the Bay.
Local governments may also set up fees to help pay for infrastructure that helps to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards. The EPA has created a guide on how to use fees (specifically stormwater fees) to fund such projects.


Counties, states and other localities are the main funders of infrastructure in the United States.​ Municipal bonds enable state and local governments to build essential infrastructure projects. Tax-exempt bonds were written in the first tax code in 1913 and are a well-established financing tool. The debt issued for capital projects help governments pay for public projects, such as the construction or improvement of schools, streets, highways, hospitals, bridges, water and sewer systems, ports, airports and other public works. Municipal bonds are a proven, decentralized investment tool that maintains the decision-making for infrastructure with state and local leaders in partnership with their residents. Learn more at NACo's Municipal Bonds Action Center.

Federal grants

Federal government grants are one of the more common ways local governments acquire the finances needed to fund resiliency efforts. In addition to the sources listed below, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has compiled a comprehensive list of disaster recovery funding resources -- some of which are also available pre-disaster -- and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency has compiled a fairly comprehensive list of federal mitigation grant programs.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the primary U.S. government agency responsible for supporting state and local authorities in a disaster. FEMA administers several programs that provide funding for eligible mitigation planning and projects that reduces disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. The programs include the:

  • FEMA Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Program. EMPG provides resources to assist state, local, tribal and territorial governments in preparing for all hazards. The EMPG program’s allowable costs support efforts to build and sustain core capabilities across the Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery mission areas.
  • FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program. The FMA program provides funds for planning and projects to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings that are insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on an annual basis.
  • FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). HMPG funds help communities implement hazard mitigation measures following a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration.
  • FEMA Port Security Grant Program (PSGP). PSGP provides funding to help maintain or reestablish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities, protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness and improve port-wide maritime security risk management.
  • FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grant Program. The PDM Grant Program is designed to assist local communities in implementing a sustained pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation program. The goal is to reduce overall risk to future hazard events and reliance on Federal funding in future disasters.The program which provides funds for hazard mitigation planning and projects on an annual basis.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant Program. The Coastal Resilience Grant program funds projects that are helping coastal communities and ecosystems prepare for and recover from extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions.

Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

  • National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant program funds projects to protect, restore and enhance coastal wetland ecosystems and associated uplands. The grants are funded through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which is supported by excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Department of Defense (DOD)

  • Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP). SERDP is a partnership program between the DoD’s environmental science and technology program, DOE, EPA, numerous other federal and non-federal organizations. The program invests across a broad spectrum of basic and applied environmental research, as well as advanced development.

Foundation and corporate grants

Funding opportunities are also available through the private sector, primarily from foundations. Many foundations recognize the importance of resilience and have allocated funds to those efforts. Here is a sampling of some of these funders and their programs:

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is the nation's largest private conservation grant-maker. Their coastal resilience related grants include:

Threshold Foundation

  • Thriving Resilient Communities Grant. This program funds regional and national network hubs in the US that systematically work to strengthen local and regional resilience around climate, economy and social justice.


Identifying Funding Opportunities


Coming soon


Granting Writing Tips and Tricks


Coming soon