After the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the N.C. General Assembly appropriated funds to Golden LEAF to help communities recover by restoring critical government services. Since 2016, the General Assembly has appropriated and Golden LEAF has awarded nearly $114.5 million for recovery from Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, and Dorian.
The Disaster Recovery Grant Program funds were used to improve damaged or destroyed critical public infrastructure and to make it more resilient in future storms. The funding also helped mitigate against hazards to maintain access or use of critical public infrastructure for the benefit of residents, businesses, and other institutions within a community.
In April 2022, I toured several Golden LEAF-funded Disaster Recovery Grant Program sites. I walked through a new volunteer fire station that replaced one flooded by Hurricanes Matthew and Floyd. I visited a repaired church that experienced wind, rain, and floodwater from Hurricane Florence and now serves as a place for the community to convene and other churches to hold services while they are repaired. I toured a town hall that was under 20 feet of water from Hurricane Florence floodwaters, was renovated, and moved to the highest point in town. I saw several projects that were improving the stormwater drainage systems to prevent towns from flooding from future storms.
All the communities these projects were in had one thing in common: Each community showed the determination to leverage the opportunity to not only replace what was lost but to build for a more resilient future. Golden LEAF was fortunate to be a part of these recovery stories.
To continue work to improve resiliency in North Carolina, the N.C. General Assembly appropriated significant funds for flood mitigation programs through the 2021 state budget. Golden LEAF was again appropriated funds to help communities that deal with persistent flooding through the Flood Mitigation Program. Golden LEAF’s Flood Mitigation Program is one component of the larger flood mitigation effort.
The $25 million program provides awards of up to $250,000 to local governments for public infrastructure projects to mitigate flooding. The Golden LEAF Board of Directors awards funding of up to $250,000 per Flood Mitigation Program project.
The Flood Mitigation Program funds the following:
- Construction of new or improved existing publicly owned stormwater infrastructure, including natural drainage infrastructure and flood control equipment.
- Repair of existing stormwater infrastructure damaged or destroyed by flooding, which must include improvements to mitigate against future flooding.
- Engineering expenses related to planning and development of flood mitigation solutions.
At the June 2022 Board of Directors meeting, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $1,706,550 in funding to eight projects through the Flood Mitigation Program in Chowan, Pasquotank, Bladen, Harnett, Robeson, Craven, Pender, and Duplin counties. At the August 2022 Board meeting, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $1,365,000 in funding to seven projects through the Flood Mitigation Program in Beaufort, Brunswick, Sampson, Perquimans, Lenoir, Granville, and Columbus counties. The Flood Mitigation Program currently has approximately $21.9 million in funding available for projects. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are awarded.
Flooding events impact the normal pace of the economy. Businesses and schools close. Services and resources become unavailable. Without work to mitigate flooding, long-term economic advancement is not possible. Golden LEAF is pleased to administer recovery and resiliency projects that will help our state’s economy for years to come. I look forward to touring completed Flood Mitigation Program projects and hearing about how they helped their communities mitigate flooding.