RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) — Gov. Roy Cooper joined FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and other officials last week as they announced $3.1 billion in federal funding for climate resilience projects nationwide in the coming year through FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) programs. 

Federal officials visited Gastonia to make their announcement, featuring a flood remediation project along Duharts Creek that was recently designated for BRIC funding as an example of how local communities can use federal funding to increase climate resiliency and improve public safety.

“Here in North Carolina, we’ve dealt with disasters that are only getting more intense due to climate change,” said Governor Cooper. “Funding for this Gastonia project and others in North Carolina will help reduce risk to homes and other property and improve public safety, making our communities more resilient.”

Greenville is among the recipients of the funding. The city is receiving $3.45 million for “infrastructure protection and stream restoration” on St. Andrews Drive.

“The city of Greenville will construct stream restoration and stabilization improvements to reduce erosion and flood risks while also restoring and enhancing the floodplain, stream channel, and riparian ecosystem’s natural function using nature-based solutions,” a description of the project on FEMA’s website reads. “The proposed infrastructure project aims to protect vulnerable public utility and municipal infrastructure as well as at-risk properties from heavy rain events and the growing impacts of climate change.”

The City of Gastonia has been designated to receive a BRIC grant of over $5.9 million to mitigate flood risks at Duharts Creek. Frequent, increasingly severe rain events have left Duharts Creek vulnerable to flooding and have caused significant erosion along the banks. The project will use natural solutions to stabilize and rehabilitate the bank along approximately 8,000 feet of Duharts Creek. It will also protect electrical power and sewer service for the community, which are threatened by erosion around utility poles and sewer pipes along the creek.

“The impacts of climate change and extreme weather can be catastrophic, a truth I know all too well as former Mayor of New Orleans. That’s why President Biden is committed to helping communities like Gastonia build resilient infrastructure that can better withstand what is coming and better protect families for decades to come,” said White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are investing record amounts in resilience in North Carolina and across the country. We’re committed to partnering with state and local governments to build a better and stronger America.”

“Climate change is an undeniable crisis, and the actions we take today will impact generations to come. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, FEMA and the entire Administration are taking a whole-of-government approach to tackle this issue head on by ensuring communities have the tools they need to prepare for a climate resilient future,” said FEMA Administrator Criswell. “Chronic lack of investment in climate resilience has only made matters worse for America’s crumbling infrastructure. Unfortunately, these issues are magnified in historically underserved communities. Through this funding and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we seek to correct this injustice and ensure that every community is better able to prepare before disasters strike.” 

“We thank FEMA and the State of North Carolina for funding this very important project in our City. This funding will help us reach one of our long standing strategic goals,” said Gastonia Mayor Walker E. Reid. “It is our intention to ensure that our residents and businesses in this area are not at risk for future flooding or impacted by other vulnerabilities that may exist. We also want to protect our environment for the future of our great city and for generations to come.”

On August 1, the Biden-Harris Administration announced over $1 billion in climate resilience funding through the FY21 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) programs.

Ten North Carolina projects were designated for funding in the nationwide BRIC competition, more projects than any other state, and sixth in the nation for total BRIC funding in FY21. These North Carolina projects were designated for FY21 BRIC funding, pending completion of environmental and historical preservation reviews:

  • Gastonia – Stream restoration and infrastructure protection along Duharts Creek – $5.9 million
  • Siler City – Blood Run Pump Station Relocation and Sewer Line Replacement – $5 million
  • Sawmills – South Caldwell Sewer Pump Station Elevation Project – $189,000      
  • Greenville – St. Andrews Drive Infrastructure Protection and Stream Restoration – $3.45 million  
  • Pollocksville – Building Elevations to Restore the Town’s Commercial Corridor – $1.08 million
  • Fair Bluff – Fair Bluff Park Phase 2 – $2.44 million
  • Hillsborough – Resilient Regional Water Supply Project- $1.01 million
  • Salisbury – Water Supply Resiliency Project for Pump Station Along Yadkin River -$22.5 million
  • Fayetteville – Wayland Drive Drainage Improvements – $2.61 million    
  • Hillsborough – River Pumping Station Relocation from Floodway – $5.81 million 

North Carolina received funding for one project in the FY21 Flood Mitigation Assistance program:

Today, FEMA announced that applications are open for the FY22 round of BRIC and FMA grants, totaling $3.1 billion. The agency expects to award $2.3 billion in BRIC grants and $800 million in FMA grants, in part from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This marks the largest amount of funding ever made available under the BRIC program.

North Carolina has already benefited from BRIC and FMA funding. In the first year of the BRIC program in 2020, five North Carolina projects were designated for funding. A $5.4 million grant to protect the city of Hickory’s Northeast Wastewater Treatment facility from future disasters was fully awarded in March 2022. The Town of Princeville has started to receive design and engineering funding toward a $10.9 million project to build water, sewer, power and road infrastructure on 53 acres of property the state granted the town after Hurricane Matthew. Additional projects in North Carolina that were designated for FY20 funding are the Silver Creek Pump Station Rehabilitation in Morganton, the Living Shoreline and NC 12 Resiliency Project in Duck and the Snow Creek Pump Station Mitigation in Hickory.