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Rep. Lauren H. Carson yesterday congratulated Newport officials on being awarded a $500,000 state grant to help address sea-rise related flooding in the Wellington Avenue area.

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) yesterday announced that it has awarded $4,360,600 in matching grants to 13 municipalities and community organizations for climate resilience projects across Rhode Island. 

The grant, awarded by the Department of Environmental Management and funded through green economy bonds previously approved by voters statewide, will be used to eliminate dry-weather flooding associated with sea level rise and minimize wet-weather flooding by up to 80 percent through the installation of tide gates and bar racks in the vicinity of Wellington Avenue. 

“Here in Newport, we experience the damaging effects of rising sea levels on a regular basis. Many of our neighborhoods, attractions and historically significant places are being eroded and damaged as a result. This grant will provide a very welcome, helpful resource to protect the Wellington Avenue neighborhood, which has suffered from increasingly common and serious flooding, and I’m grateful to the state and city officials for working together to secure it,” said Representative Carson in a press release. “Flooding has a devastating economic impact on individual property owners, businesses and the public. Each investment we make to improve our resiliency is also an investment in our economic security in the future.”

Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) has been a vocal advocate for efforts to address sea level rise, both through infrastructure resiliency improvements and efforts to reduce carbon emissions. In 2016, she led a commission that studied the economic impact of sea rise in Rhode Island, and in 2017, she sponsored a law requiring education on flooding and sea rise for local planning board members and creating a unified statewide application process for solar panel permitting.

Funding for the grant comes from both the 2018 Green Economy and Clean Water Bond ($270,000) and 2014 state bond funding for flood mitigation ($230,000). The governor has proposed asking voters to approve a $69 million beach, clean water and green bond in November, which would include funding for additional resiliency projects like the one for Wellington Avenue.

“Rhode Islanders have been very supportive of bonds that protect our environment, our green spaces, and help us adapt to our changing climate. I’d like to urge voters to support the green bond again this November, because that funding is an important resource for projects like the one that will help Wellington Avenue,” she said. 

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