Governor Lamont Announces $8.8 Million in State Funding To Support 21 Climate Resilience Plans and Project Development Grants
Building Connecticut’s Project Pipeline for Historic Federal Funding Opportunities
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut is awarding $8.8 million in grants through the inaugural round of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Climate Resilience Fund (DCRF). These state awards will support 21 innovative climate resilience plans and projects across 17 Connecticut municipalities and councils of governments.
Through the DCRF, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is providing critical planning support to local governments, nonprofits, and others seeking to advance climate resilience projects, with the goal of enabling the recipients to in turn seek federal funding for construction and implementation phases. DEEP is utilizing DCRF funds to catalyze Connecticut’s resilience project pipeline and ensure our communities are competitive for federal resources, which are at historic levels as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Connecticut is already playing a leading role in addressing the challenge of climate change because making those investments means healthier people and a healthier environment, as well as new business opportunities,” Governor Lamont said. “Planning for climate resilience requires preserving and protecting what we love about this state so that we can continue to be a great place for families with clean air and water and thriving communities.”
In this first round of funding, more than 90% of the funds will go to vulnerable communities that will feel the effects of climate change first and worst, including 10 municipalities that are designated by state statute as “environmental justice communities.” This funding more than doubles the initial goal set in Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 21-3, which called for the creation of the DCRF and required that at least 40% of funds support vulnerable communities.
“Investing in reducing climate-changing emissions and preparing for future extreme storms and events by building community resilience is critical to Connecticut’s future, particularly for our most vulnerable communities,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Through this funding, DEEP is providing planning support to municipalities and nonprofits, and building the state’s resilience project pipeline to ensure our communities are well-positioned to compete for the historic federal funding available, that projects get built, and that our communities are better protected from climate-related impacts.”
By 2050, Connecticut is projected to experience stronger storms, longer, more frequent droughts, up to 20 inches of sea level rise along the coast, 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 a year that rose above 90 degrees. Connecticut had multiple heat waves in summer 2022 and record-breaking rainfall in 2021.
When soliciting proposals, DEEP strongly encouraged projects that use nature-based solutions and green infrastructure, such as created wetlands, rain gardens, trees, and other elements that use nature to reduce flooding, cool neighborhoods, or stop shoreline erosion. Other funded projects include protecting critical infrastructure and exploring creative regional resilience financing methods.
Federal funding for climate resilience reached historic levels with the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. To set up Connecticut communities for success with federal funds, all grantees will assess how they will fund the local match portion of any federal grant award for construction and implementation costs.
The grant recipients under this inaugural round of funding includes:
Resilience Planning Grants
These awards provide funding for comprehensive climate resilience planning at either the regional, municipal, or neighborhood (hyper-local) level.
- Groundwork Bridgeport, Inc., $249,816: Groundwork Bridgeport, a community-based organization in Bridgeport, will develop a neighborhood-level plan to reduce heat island impacts in the East Side neighborhood. The plan will identify cool corridors (travel routes) for reducing urban heat island effect and the team will also coordinate with the City of Bridgeport on street upgrades to support cooling.
- City of Bridgeport, $250,000: The City of Bridgeport will conduct a comprehensive climate risk and vulnerability assessment, and develop a prioritized list of strategies, actions, and projects. The city will also identify funding opportunities, assess municipal level match funding, and identify implementation strategies.
- Town of Bristol, $250,000: The Town of Bristol will develop a flood resilience plan for areas along and near the Pequabuck River and Coppermine Brook that assesses how to restore the floodway’s function and identify potential opportunities for buying out flood-prone properties.
- Town of Groton, $200,000: The Town of Groton will develop a town-wide climate resilience plan that looks at all hazards. The plan will accompany a town-funded climate mitigation plan.
- City of Hartford, $243,500: The City of Hartford will develop a citywide flooding/climate resiliency assessment using existing data and create a prioritized list of resilience projects for future advancement.
- Town of Manchester, $200,000: The Town of Manchester will develop a townwide flood resilience plan focusing on understanding how extreme precipitation events will affect the town and identifying recommendations for next steps to reduce risks.
- City of Norwalk, $246,283: The City of Norwalk will develop a citywide flood resilience workplan to prioritize and execute resilience strategies, related land-use planning, and identify site-specific projects to mitigate climate impacts. The plan will also provide a framework of nature-based solutions that, if implemented will increase community resilience and improve water quality.
- City of Stamford, $210,750: The City of Stamford will develop a neighborhood-level plan for the Downtown, West Side, and Waterside neighborhoods for addressing heat risk and resilience, including identify longer-term planning, policy, and regulatory strategies, and develop near-term actions to complement ongoing emergency preparedness and response efforts.
Resilience Project Development Grants
These awards provide funding to advance identified resilience projects to various stages of development, with an end goal of successfully applying for federal funding that pays for construction implementation. This includes developing conceptual designs, conducting engineering studies, studying feasibility and identifying alternative solutions, and assessing costs and benefits.
- Capitol Region Council of Governments, $250,000: The CRCOG will work with multiple municipalities in the CRCOG region to conduct stormwater authority feasibility assessments.
- Metro Council of Governments, Bridgeport, $400,000: The MetroCOG will conduct engineering studies and other analyses, and conduct community engagement for a proposed living shoreline and transportation infrastructure alternatives along Johnson’s Creek in Bridgeport’s East End Neighborhood.
- Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, $689,181: The NVCOG will develop and advance culvert replacement and drainage system improvement projects in nine municipalities to reduce stormwater flooding, with the outcomes including preliminary designs and cost estimates.
- Town of Hamden, $567,500: The Town of Hamden will develop and design a pump station replacement in the lower Pardee Brook watershed and nature-based green infrastructure in the upper Pardee Brook watershed using a collaborative design process to reduce flooding in the Meadowbrook Co-Op neighborhood.
- City of New Britain, $300,000: The city will identify comprehensive flooding solutions in the Willow Brook watershed, in partnership with Resilient Connecticut.
- Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority, New Haven, $506,000: The Greater New Haven WPCA will conduct studies on street flooding and sewer back-ups in the Westville neighborhood, and identify and evaluate options for potential projects that include nature-based solutions.
- Norwich Public Utilities, $650,000: Norwich Public Utilities will design and scope a wall to protect the Bean Hill Substation from river flooding. The substation serves the trauma center, industrial park, and 6,000 residential customers in Norwich.
- Norwich Public Utilities, $485,000: Norwich Public Utilities will conduct numerous site and engineering studies, along with necessary federal grant application studies, related to relocating the Shipping Street sewage pump station out of the floodway of the Thames River.
- City of Stamford, $481,125: The City of Stamford will conduct modeling, identify alternatives, and develop conceptual designs for reducing stormwater flooding in the Cummings Pond watershed in the Cove and East Side neighborhoods.
- City of Stamford, $598,125: The City of Stamford will evaluate flooding issues in the Toilsome Brook watershed, specifically in the Ridgeway-Bullshead, Turn of River-Newfield, and Glenbrook-Belltown neighborhoods, and develop concept-level flood mitigation recommendations that will include drainage system improvements, stream daylighting, and relocating or elevating structures and infrastructure.
- City of Waterbury, $652,661: The City of Waterbury will update studies related to flooding in the Clough Brook watershed and develop designs for culverts and drainage systems.
- Town of West Hartford, West Hartford and Hartford, $700,000: The Town of West Hartford will lead engineering studies and preliminary designs for reducing flooding near Kennedy Brook and Kane Brook in West Hartford and Hartford in partnership with Resilient Connecticut.
- City of West Haven, $669,900: The City of West Haven will develop preliminary designs for reducing flooding in the Sanford Street Basin, in the Allingtown District, including new piping, culverts, a structured wetland, and a new outfall path to the Cove River. The city will also conduct a feasibility study for a stormwater authority.
The DCRF was created in response to Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 21-3, implementing the recommendations for adaptation and resilience of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change and funding for resilience projects made possible under Public Act 20-5 through an expansion of the microgrid grant and loan program. That expansion allowed the program to include resilience projects more broadly for the first time and to prioritize funding proposals that benefit vulnerable communities.
For more information on the program, visit portal.ct.gov/ConnecticutClimateAction/Executive-Order/DEEP-Climate-Resilience-Fund.