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NC Sea Grant to Receive Federal Disaster Preparedness Programs Funding

Aerial of flooding from Hurricane Florence in Bladen County, NC, with houses and trees underwater.
Bladen County, NC, September 18, 2018 -- Aerial view of the flooding from Hurricane Florence. Photo by Liz Roll/FEMA

For Immediate Release

Contact: Frank López,

North Carolina Sea Grant is among four recipients of funding from a partnership of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program and Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) to support innovative all-hazard preparedness, response, and recovery initiatives for coastal communities. 

“The partnership initiative brings together the goals and expertise of NOAA’s Disaster Preparedness Program together with Sea Grant’s on the ground, innovative approaches to community support. The local knowledge and relationships of each selected Sea Grant program is a vital part of successful planning and collaboration to prepare for and respond to disasters,” commented Jonathan Pennock, Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. Read the news release here.

The new NC Sea Grant project, along with those in New Jersey, Oregon, and South Carolina, will take approaches tailored to local needs regarding disaster preparation. Each team will work with NOAA, partners, and coastal communities.

“The Office of Response and Restoration Disaster Preparedness Program is pleased to support the implementation of four new projects in vulnerable coastal communities. We believe that they will directly benefit the public by providing them with additional resources to help mitigate the impacts of coastal disasters”, said Kate Wheelock, Director of the Disaster Preparedness Program. 

North Carolina Sea Grant will be leading capacity building workshops, community events, and linking low-English proficiency audiences to health services in the coastal region post-disaster, as well as building capacity in health departments and disaster organizations. The goal is to build stronger connections between these communities and their respective health departments to improve communications and understanding of the needs of this vulnerable population. 

“We are pleased to build upon previously funded research and outreach to focus on public health, with a focus on needs of these particularly vulnerable communities before, during, and after disaster events, as well as smaller scale but significant events,” notes Susan White, NC Sea Grant executive director.

To support the project, NC Sea Grant is currently seeking a public health specialist to join its nationally recognized extension team. “This is a natural area of growth for our program, for the new position to consider environmental and resilience topics through a health lens,” notes Frank López, NC Sea Grant extension director. 

The other new projects will include: 

  • An improved forecast website and set of decision-support tools for flood events is the focus of New Jersey Sea Grant’s project. They will evaluate the utility of an existing ensemble forecast for total water level in coastal areas, use the evaluation to develop an improved forecast website and options for visualization, and expand the user base. 
  • South Carolina plans to harness the power of education to instruct children in disaster preparedness and resilience for hurricanes and flooding hazards. Students will receive scientific and communications instruction to enable them to effectively communicate what to do before, during, and after weather disasters for others in their communities. 
  • Increasing tsunami and earthquake awareness and resilience through innovation and education will be the goal for Oregon Sea Grant’s project. Tourists and locals will benefit from education tools, community supply caches, and engaging activities to recognize, respond to, and recover from these coastal disasters. 

In FY2022, NOAA’s Disaster Preparedness Program and Sea Grant partnered on three competitively selected projects. Read more about those projects here.


Image features flooding experienced by Bladen County in many areas following Hurricane Florence. Photo by Liz Roll/FEMA.