Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) vistit website and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) has urged the Biden Administration to quickly implement investments in living shoreline projects from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. In a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Richard W. Spinrad, Pallone and Murphy called on the agency to use the funding allocated in the laws to directly support projects that will protect and restore coastal and marine habitats. The lawmakers also encouraged NOAA to study living shorelines’ ability to reduce disaster recovery costs from flooding and remove potential roadblocks to project permitting.
Living shoreline infrastructure projects use natural materials and systems, including dunes, wetlands, and oyster reefs to support the natural flood resilience of healthy shoreline ecosystems. Natural infrastructure is cost-effective and adaptable to changing environmental conditions. It also enhances ecosystem functions which can improve water quality and wildlife habitat protection. Certain types of living shorelines can support carbon mitigation. They are also affordable and create jobs. NOAA received $3 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $2.8 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act to build living shoreline projects and conduct research on best practices in using these projects to protect coastal communities.
“We are proud of this immense investment to build community and ecosystem resilience to climate change while bolstering our economy. We urge you to dedicate the necessary resources that will ensure the swift implementation of these critical investments in our coastal communities,” the lawmakers wrote. “Congress has provided NOAA with a historic opportunity to protect American coastal communities and our precious ecosystems from climate change threats. We urge you to prioritize nature-based coastal resilience efforts, like living shoreline infrastructure and research, as you create plans for this significant funding.”
The investments in living shoreline projects from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation are modeled on a bill that Pallone and Murphy introduced in 2021. The Living Shorelines Act would have created two federal grant programs through NOAA to assist states and localities in constructing living shorelines and provide federal research grants to eligible entities to study living shoreline development and effectiveness. The new investments in NOAA from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act will achieve these goals. In 2019, Pallone highlighted a living shoreline project that is already strengthening the coastline in New Jersey.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.