WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has awarded $7.16 million in federal funding through the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program to Maryland communities struggling to recover from Super Storm Sandy. These funds are intended to reduce community risk by strengthening natural ecosystems that were damaged by Super Storm Sandy.
“Super Storm Sandy cost our country billions of dollars in damage and over one hundred lives. The unprecedented flooding and winds hurt communities throughout Maryland, devastated our coastal ecosystems, and threatened the health of the iconic Chesapeake Bay,” said Senator Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. “After Super Storm Sandy hit, Team Maryland pledged federal support to rebuild our communities and mitigate damage from future storms. With 70% of Marylanders living in coastal zones and vulnerable to future extreme weather, this is the kind of investment we need to bolster our natural defenses to protect lives, livelihoods and the Bay.”
“Super Storm Sandy was one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the United States and had a measurable impact on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and the surrounding rivers and wetlands that act as natural storm buffers. These rivers and wetlands now need to be rehabilitated to help protect Marylanders during future storm events,” said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee which funds the NFWF. “Those hit hardest by this storm must know they have a federal government on their side to help protect them in case of another major storm. Protecting these ecosystems means protecting the people of Maryland. These funds in the federal checkbook will help those still reeling from the devastation of Sandy to promote a healthy environment that will promote community resiliency to future storms.”
The $7.16 million in federal funds includes $5,287,024 for American Rivers, Inc. for the removal of the Bloede Dam on the Patapsco River, $1,484,567 to The Conservation Fun to increase the resiliency of the Blackwater NWR ‘s Tidal Marshes, $222,730 to the Conservation Fund to increase the resiliency in MD’s Greater Baltimore Wilderness, and $76,000 to the Town of North Beach for living shoreline and wetland restoration. In addition to the $7.16 million going directly to Maryland, Maryland’s coasts will also be benefitting from regional projects across state lines to increase preparedness for super storms.
Senators Cardin and Mikulski have continued to fight for funding for Super Storm Sandy Recovery. Together they worked to ensure that the Super Storm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations Bill would help Marylanders still struggling to recover from Sandy. They also were able to expand the Community Development Block Grant program to restore infrastructure in communities that were badly damaged after Super Storm Sandy.
Team Maryland has been vigilant in seeking disaster assistance since Sandy hit the Atlantic coast in October 2012.
With the full support and backing of Team Maryland, FEMA reversed its initial denial of Individual Disaster Assistance for Somerset County, approving approved this assistance, which provides critical housing assistance and disaster-related support for families and individuals coping with the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Senators Cardin and Mikulski also led the Maryland delegation in urging President Obama to support a Pre-Disaster Declaration, Disaster Declaration and Individual Assistance for Maryland counties impacted by Super Storm Sandy.