Federal Funding Options for Resilience-Related Projects
     Reported by: Cathy Foerster, Geosyntec Consultants


Funding for resilience-related projects is available through numerous federal and state programs as well as non-government organizations, non-profits, and various other sources. This article provides resources and highlights just a few federal funding programs as of the date of publication (March 2024) and provides awareness of project types that may be eligible for funding in the upcoming 2024 grant cycles. Readers are encouraged to research the nuances of each program (funding match requirement, scoring criteria, etc.) upon release of funding announcements by the respective federal agency.

U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

In March 2023, FEMA published a very informative guidance document, Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program and Policy Guide that provides updated information on the agency’s primary resilience-related grant programs:

  • Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)
  • Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)
  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

Because the HMGP is not an annual grant program, rather funding is available after a presidentially declared disaster, the program is not discussed in this article.

In 2022, the funding level for the BRIC annual grant program doubled to nearly $2.3 billion; the FMA program experienced a five-fold increase to $800 million. These levels were bolstered by nearly $900 million through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL): $200 million for BRIC and $700 million for FMA. With an application period of Oct. 16, 2023, to Feb. 29, 2024, fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding opportunities for BRIC ($1 billion) and FMA ($800 million) grant programs, totaled $1.8 billion.

The FY 2023 $1 billion BRIC funding will be distributed in the following manner:
  • State or Territory Allocation: $112 million (up to $2 million per applicant). All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories may apply under the State or Territory Allocation.
  • Building Codes Plus Up: $112 million (up to $2 million per state or territory) and up to $25 million for tribes.
  • Tribal Set-Aside: $50 million. All federally recognized tribal governments may apply under the Tribal Set-Aside. The combined cost of the applicant’s capability- and capacity building activities under this set-aside must not exceed $2 million. Up to $1 million of the Tribal Set-Aside may be used for hazard mitigation planning and planning-related activities per applicant.
  • National Competition for Hazard Mitigation Projects: $701 million (estimated). Any funds that are not awarded from the State/Territory Allocation or the Tribal Set-Aside will be re-allocated.
The FY 2023 $800 million FMA funding priorities are:
  • Capacity and Capability Building Activities: $60 million
  • Localized Flood Risk Reduction Projects: $520 million
  • Individual Flood Mitigation Projects: $220 million

The 2024 application announcements for the BRIC and FMA grants will be available on Grants.gov.  Eligible applicants must apply for funding using FEMA Grants Outcomes, the agency’s grants management system. For more information visit FEMA.gov.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management will administer $832 million over five years from the BIL, with funds leveraged from the Inflation Reduction Act, a historic, federal government-wide investment that is advancing NOAA’s efforts to build Climate-Ready Coasts.

Projects selected for the first year were awarded in 2023. Approximately $109 million was awarded to support restoration and conservation projects through the National Coastal Zone Management Program and National Estuarine Research Reserve System. In partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Coastal Resilience Fund invested approximately $144 million in 96 projects using these funds, along with their annual appropriation, for projects that will help communities prepare for increasing coastal flooding and more intense storms, while improving thousands of acres of coastal habitats.

Also in 2023, NOAA issued the Climate Resilience Regional Challenge, a competitive funding opportunity in which approximately $575 million was available for projects that build the resilience of coastal communities to extreme weather (e.g., hurricanes and storm surge) and other impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and drought. Funding was made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act.

With no funding match requirement, letters of intent were required by August 21, 2023; complete applications by February 13, 2024. Proposed projects were to address risk reduction, regional collaboration, equity, and building enduring capacity for adaptation. Eligible applicants were coastal states, territories, counties, cities, tribes, and tribal organizations; public or private nonprofit organizations; and institutions of higher education.

The Office for Coastal Management’s competitive grant announcements can be found on Grants.gov and https://coast.noaa.gov/funding.

Great Resources!

To keep up with funding opportunities, technical publications, case studies, and other relevant resilience information, access the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange. The monthly digital newsletters are substantive and insightful.

In January 2024, the American Flood Coalition (AFC) launched the Flood Funding Finder Tool. The AFC identified a set of federal funding opportunities that have a clear trend of providing assistance to projects in small communities that address flooding and sea level rise. This interactive tool is primarily targeted toward communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer, but communities of all sizes may find its information helpful.