Governor Lamont Launches State Grants Program to Help Communities Build Resilience to Climate Change

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Governor Lamont Launches State Grants Program to Help Communities Build Resilience to Climate Change

First round of DEEP Fund for Climate Resilience grants includes $10 million for project planning and design

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced the launch of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Climate Resilience Fund, a state grant program that will help communities plan for the state and prepare for the effects of climate change. The fund is a historic state-level investment that will help communities begin planning and consider community climate resilience projects that can be implemented and built with federal funds.

A total of $10 million in state bond funding will be available in this first round. At least 40% of funding will be prioritized to vulnerable communities, including environmental justice communities who will feel the effects of climate change first and worst. The creation of the DEEP Climate Resilience Fund is an action initiated by Governor Lamont Executive Order 21-3which he signed in December 2021 and was implemented on the recommendation of the 2021 Report of the Board of Governors on Climate Change (GC3).

“This program will help Connecticut communities get to the front lines of the historic investment our federal government is making to build climate-resilient infrastructure and implement nature-based solutions,” Governor Lamont said. “Once implemented, these projects will protect our homes and businesses, keep the lights on, contribute to a clean and healthy environment for our urban communities, and provide habitat for our fish and wildlife. This investment of government bond funds is a down payment on that future, catalyzing Connecticut’s pipeline of projects through inclusive community climate planning.

“Federal funding for climate resilience has increased by 400%, with more than $49 billion in funding available through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Cut Inflation Act,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “These federal dollars have the potential to transform our communities, but we will only receive them if we have compelling applications to submit. DEEP has been proud to help Connecticut communities from the beginning, funding planning assistance and community engagement that will create a pipeline of compelling and impactful projects to help keep our communities safe.

The DEEP Climate Resilience Fund creates two streams of funding opportunities:

  • Part 1 – Planning: will provide funding for comprehensive climate resilience planning at the regional, municipal or neighborhood (hyper-local) level.
  • Track 2 – Project development: will provide funding to municipalities and other related entities, to advance identified resilience projects at the design stage and be prepared to apply for federal funding for implementation.

Together, these two funding streams will create the Climate Resilience Project Pipeline, comprised of project plans and designs that can win competitive federal grants to substantially fund implementation and construction. In fact, funding under this program can be used to prepare these applications for federal grants. All grantees are also required to develop a local matching funding strategy to meet non-federal matching requirements for federal funding opportunities. Local matching strategy may include use of Stormwater Authority and Climate Resilience Council extensions authorized by Governor Lamont Public interest law 21-115.

Investing in climate change mitigation and adaptation is essential. By 2050, Connecticut will experience stronger storms with stronger winds and heavier rains, longer and more frequent droughts, up to 20 inches of sea level rise along the coast, an increased frequency of coastal flooding with levels like those seen in Superstorm Sandy every five to ten years, and an average of 20 additional days per year above 90°F. Connecticut is already feeling those impacts with heat waves experienced this summer and record rainfall from last year’s storms.

The DEEP Climate Resilience Fund strongly encourages the planning and development of projects that incorporate elements of nature to reduce the risk of flooding and erosion while protecting and preserving natural habitats. These “nature-based solutions” work at the neighborhood and community scale and will preserve coastal town and city beaches for swimming, wetlands for bird watching and paddling, and rivers for fishing, while giving floodwaters a place to go so roads, homes and businesses don’t get flooded.

DEEP will host a virtual launch event and webinar on Friday, September 23 at noon

A launch event and webinar for the DEEP Climate Resilience Fund will take place on Friday, September 23, 2022, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Remarks will be delivered by Commissioner Dykes and members of the Governor’s Council on the changes climatic. Those interested in this state grant program are strongly encouraged to participate. To register for this virtual event, Click here.

Several other webinars will be held in September and October to help grant seekers. For a full webinar schedule, Click here.

Applications for Track 1 must be received by November 10, 2022. Applications for Track 2 must be received by December 1, 2022.

For more details on the DEEP Climate Resilience Fund, including application information, Click here.

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