(The Center Square) – New Hampshire is getting a $300,000 federal grant to help harden its coastal infrastructure against the impacts of climate change.
The federal funds, awarded to the state Department of Environmental Services, will be used to create a new state program aimed at strengthening climate resilience in coastal communities by supporting a neighborhood-scale, peer-to-peer technical assistance approach to future coastal flood risk assessments and resilience planning.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said the money will improve "engagement and information" among coastal residents at-risk of damaging storms, sea-level rise and coastal flooding.
"As climate change intensifies, coastal communities in New Hampshire are on the frontlines of the devastating consequences of this crisis – from damage to critical infrastructure to homes and lives at risk," Shaheen said in a statement. "Addressing impacts of the climate crisis must be an all-hands-on-deck effort that prioritizes communities facing the greatest danger."
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said the funds will "help Granite Staters in our coastal communities better understand how their neighborhoods may be impacted by climate change and help strengthen their resilience to future flooding."
New Hampshire's shoreline, like much of the New England coast, is at risk from rising sea levels that erodes wetlands and beaches and increases damage from coastal storms, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Coastal cities and towns will become more vulnerable to storms in the coming century as sea level rises, shorelines erode, and storm surges become higher," the federal agency said in a recent bulletin. "Storms can destroy coastal homes, wash out highways and rail lines, and damage essential communication, energy, and wastewater management infrastructure."
Overall, New Hampshire has a mixed record of responding to the impact of climate change that scientists say is being fueled by excessive greenhouse gas emissions.
The state is part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce emissions by power plants and is pursuing wind power projects aimed at reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
But environmental groups have criticized Republican Gov. Chris Sununu for rejecting a regional agreement aimed at reducing tailpipe pollution.
They say more needs to be done to reduce the sources of carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change.