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Local Government Guide to Coastal Resilience: Funding

  • Document

    Local Government Guide to Coastal Resilience: Funding

    • Identifying Funding and Financing
    • Grant Writing Tips and Tricks

    Identifying 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.

    Bonds

    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 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant Program. The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program supports states, local communities, tribes and territories as they undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards. BRIC is a new FEMA pre-disaster hazard mitigation program that replaces the existing Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program.

    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)

    • HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program. Through the CDBG-DR program, Congress allocates billions in funding to HUD for necessary expenses related to natural disasters relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, and economic revitalization following a presidentially declared disaster.

    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:

    • Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program
    • Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program
    • National Coastal Resilience Fund
    • Resilient Communities Program

    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.

     

    Granting Writing Tips and Tricks

    Counties have considerable financial obligations irrespective of any financial burdens imposed on them by natural disasters. As the number of billion-dollar disasters that impact the U.S. increases over time, counties must seek out and maximize funding opportunities to meet high costs associated with natural disaster response. Once a county has found potential funding sources that can help meet the financial need of natural disaster mitigation projects, they are almost always met with a grant application that they must apply for in order to receive the funding needing for mitigation projects. Once a grant source for disaster mitigation projects has been located counties can increase the likelihood of submitting a successful grant application by adhering to the following best practices.1

    Pre-Grant Writing Tips

    Before beginning a grant application counties should carefully review the grant announcement page to ensure that their proposed project is in alignment with the announcement and ensure that they can meet the funding requirements of the grant. For example, some grants have a match requirement. Counties should ensure that they are able to meet matching requirements. Additionally, some grant announcements will not fund projects that are being partially funded by another granting agency. Counties should ensure that they are submitting grant proposals for projects that are significantly different from other projects or programs already receiving funding from another granting agency. Finally, it is imperative that counties ensure that their proposal aligns with the mission of the grant announcement. If the county official in charge of writing the grant proposal is unsure of if their grant proposal aligns with what the granting agency wants, they should contact the program manager prior to their proposal development. 

    Formatting the Grant Proposal

    Typically, there is a grant specialist within the county that has experience with and whose job it is to submit grant proposals on behalf of county projects. When putting the grant proposal together, the county grant specialist should refer to the grant announcement to ensure that they are following the guidelines of the funding agency and including all correct information under proper subheadings the granting agency is expecting to see. Typical sections to include in the grant proposal include: the objective of the proposed project, methods, staffing, and administration, evaluation, proposed timeline, and budget of how the funds are being proposed to be used. The county grant specialist should refer to the guidelines outlined by the funding agency to determine their proposal format and will include information such as acceptable margins, fonts, and line spacing.For longer proposals a table of contents is typically included, and any figures and charts included in the proposal should be legible in black and white copy.

    Grant Application Sections

    Executive Summary

    The first section of the grant application is typically the executive summary. In this section counties should outline the problem they are trying to address (in this case it would be the effects of natural disasters on the jurisdiction), the county proposed solution to that problem (i.e. the mitigation project or program), and the extent of the benefits to the jurisdiction. If those benefits can be quantified they should also be outlines. When addressing the problem and proposing solutions to the problem, counties should ensure to include the extensive research (and reference that research) that supports the need for the program or project outline in their grant application. Additional tipis for the executive summary would be to be persuasive, use an active voice as much as possible, be concise and avoid unnecessary technical language and jargon as much as possible.

    Introduction

    The introduction lays out the description of the county applicant, their goals, philosophy, and ways in which they are qualified to implement the proposed project or program. This section could include the track record of the county to implement programs or projects like the one outlined in the proposal. 

    Statement of Need

    This section of the grant proposal should describe the problem facing the county and the reason the grant money is needed for the project. The statement of need would outline the population and the geographic area that would benefit from the project and how the county proposes to provide that benefit. The mitigation methods the county will employ to address any coastal hazard should also be specified. The language within the statement of need should also balance statistical data that support that county need as well as persuasive language.

    Goals and Objectives

    The goals and objectives section of the grant proposal will outline specific goals and their associated objectives for the proposed mitigation project. It is best practice to ensure that objectives outline who the intended beneficiaries are and what are the desired outcomes for the beneficiaries, a plan to monitor progress, criteria to identify when the desired objective has been met, and the expected timeline to meet the desired objective.

    Program Narrative

    The program narrative provides a detailed overview of how the county proposed mitigation project will solve the problem the county briefly outlined in the statement of need. Specifically, counties should list out and provide enough detail for the series of activities that will help meet the goal and objectives of their proposed mitigation project, as well as the resources and staff that will spearhead such activities and their respective areas of expertise. It is important to be explicit in how the series of activities relate to each other and how they interconnect to meet the project goal. Further detail on how results of the project will be measured and reported should also be incorporated into this section. The narrative also presents an opportunity for counties to highlight how their proposed mitigation strategy is innovative to help distinguish it from other proposals. An appendix should also be incorporated into this section to provide supplementary data for the project and references.

    Program Evaluation

    Counties should have a system in place for measuring and easily reporting their success with meeting project goals and outcomes as most granting agencies require such evaluation documentation. However, counties choose to design their evaluation, they should ensure that it includes plans for both product evaluations, or the progress on attributes of the actual project and process evaluation, or how effectively the project was carried out as anticipated, evaluation.

    Future Funding

    Counties should outline their plan to sustain their mitigation projects after the funds for their project from the granting agency has ended. This plan should include long-term plans for the project and should be taken into consideration when counties are preparing their overall proposal budget.

    Budget and Timeline

    The budget specific section of the proposal should provide details on how funds will be spent for the proposed mitigation project. Counties should include fixed and on-going costs associated with the project with careful consideration to any budget restrictions of the funding agency and any adjustments to budget items that are subject to inflation for multiyear grants. If applying for a federal grant, counties should use SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance) as a reference for budget sums. Finally, the budget section should have a budget justification section that aligns with the personal narrative. This justification section should include but is not limited to explanation of salaries and benefits that align with local data, equipment costs, travel explanations, materials and supplies, and indirect costs.

     

     

    • Click here to check out the Risk Communication section

    ENDNOTES

    [1] https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1819-25045-2871/local_grant_writing_guide.pdf

    Identifying Funding and Financing
    2020-10-30
    Document
    2020-12-22

Identifying 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.

Bonds

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 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant Program. The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program supports states, local communities, tribes and territories as they undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards. BRIC is a new FEMA pre-disaster hazard mitigation program that replaces the existing Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program.

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.

 

Granting Writing Tips and Tricks

Counties have considerable financial obligations irrespective of any financial burdens imposed on them by natural disasters. As the number of billion-dollar disasters that impact the U.S. increases over time, counties must seek out and maximize funding opportunities to meet high costs associated with natural disaster response. Once a county has found potential funding sources that can help meet the financial need of natural disaster mitigation projects, they are almost always met with a grant application that they must apply for in order to receive the funding needing for mitigation projects. Once a grant source for disaster mitigation projects has been located counties can increase the likelihood of submitting a successful grant application by adhering to the following best practices.1

Pre-Grant Writing Tips

Before beginning a grant application counties should carefully review the grant announcement page to ensure that their proposed project is in alignment with the announcement and ensure that they can meet the funding requirements of the grant. For example, some grants have a match requirement. Counties should ensure that they are able to meet matching requirements. Additionally, some grant announcements will not fund projects that are being partially funded by another granting agency. Counties should ensure that they are submitting grant proposals for projects that are significantly different from other projects or programs already receiving funding from another granting agency. Finally, it is imperative that counties ensure that their proposal aligns with the mission of the grant announcement. If the county official in charge of writing the grant proposal is unsure of if their grant proposal aligns with what the granting agency wants, they should contact the program manager prior to their proposal development. 

Formatting the Grant Proposal

Typically, there is a grant specialist within the county that has experience with and whose job it is to submit grant proposals on behalf of county projects. When putting the grant proposal together, the county grant specialist should refer to the grant announcement to ensure that they are following the guidelines of the funding agency and including all correct information under proper subheadings the granting agency is expecting to see. Typical sections to include in the grant proposal include: the objective of the proposed project, methods, staffing, and administration, evaluation, proposed timeline, and budget of how the funds are being proposed to be used. The county grant specialist should refer to the guidelines outlined by the funding agency to determine their proposal format and will include information such as acceptable margins, fonts, and line spacing.For longer proposals a table of contents is typically included, and any figures and charts included in the proposal should be legible in black and white copy.

Grant Application Sections

Executive Summary

The first section of the grant application is typically the executive summary. In this section counties should outline the problem they are trying to address (in this case it would be the effects of natural disasters on the jurisdiction), the county proposed solution to that problem (i.e. the mitigation project or program), and the extent of the benefits to the jurisdiction. If those benefits can be quantified they should also be outlines. When addressing the problem and proposing solutions to the problem, counties should ensure to include the extensive research (and reference that research) that supports the need for the program or project outline in their grant application. Additional tipis for the executive summary would be to be persuasive, use an active voice as much as possible, be concise and avoid unnecessary technical language and jargon as much as possible.

Introduction

The introduction lays out the description of the county applicant, their goals, philosophy, and ways in which they are qualified to implement the proposed project or program. This section could include the track record of the county to implement programs or projects like the one outlined in the proposal. 

Statement of Need

This section of the grant proposal should describe the problem facing the county and the reason the grant money is needed for the project. The statement of need would outline the population and the geographic area that would benefit from the project and how the county proposes to provide that benefit. The mitigation methods the county will employ to address any coastal hazard should also be specified. The language within the statement of need should also balance statistical data that support that county need as well as persuasive language.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives section of the grant proposal will outline specific goals and their associated objectives for the proposed mitigation project. It is best practice to ensure that objectives outline who the intended beneficiaries are and what are the desired outcomes for the beneficiaries, a plan to monitor progress, criteria to identify when the desired objective has been met, and the expected timeline to meet the desired objective.

Program Narrative

The program narrative provides a detailed overview of how the county proposed mitigation project will solve the problem the county briefly outlined in the statement of need. Specifically, counties should list out and provide enough detail for the series of activities that will help meet the goal and objectives of their proposed mitigation project, as well as the resources and staff that will spearhead such activities and their respective areas of expertise. It is important to be explicit in how the series of activities relate to each other and how they interconnect to meet the project goal. Further detail on how results of the project will be measured and reported should also be incorporated into this section. The narrative also presents an opportunity for counties to highlight how their proposed mitigation strategy is innovative to help distinguish it from other proposals. An appendix should also be incorporated into this section to provide supplementary data for the project and references.

Program Evaluation

Counties should have a system in place for measuring and easily reporting their success with meeting project goals and outcomes as most granting agencies require such evaluation documentation. However, counties choose to design their evaluation, they should ensure that it includes plans for both product evaluations, or the progress on attributes of the actual project and process evaluation, or how effectively the project was carried out as anticipated, evaluation.

Future Funding

Counties should outline their plan to sustain their mitigation projects after the funds for their project from the granting agency has ended. This plan should include long-term plans for the project and should be taken into consideration when counties are preparing their overall proposal budget.

Budget and Timeline

The budget specific section of the proposal should provide details on how funds will be spent for the proposed mitigation project. Counties should include fixed and on-going costs associated with the project with careful consideration to any budget restrictions of the funding agency and any adjustments to budget items that are subject to inflation for multiyear grants. If applying for a federal grant, counties should use SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance) as a reference for budget sums. Finally, the budget section should have a budget justification section that aligns with the personal narrative. This justification section should include but is not limited to explanation of salaries and benefits that align with local data, equipment costs, travel explanations, materials and supplies, and indirect costs.

 

 

ENDNOTES

[1] https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1819-25045-2871/local_grant_writing_guide.pdf

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