The Town of Westerly just announced its been awarded two significant storm mitigation grants; one for Misquamicut (we’ll get to that in a minute) and the other, while awarded to Westerly, will surely benefit Pawcatuck: a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection Program grant to clean up the hazardous vegetative debris in the Pawcatuck River. This funding is a direct result of Hurricane Sandy. Westerly officials applied for the funding immediately following Hurricane Sandy. It was notified of the grant award, to the tune of nearly $55,000, last week.
Stonington First Selectman Edward Haberek said he's at once happy for Westerly, and for Pawcatuck.
"I'm very happy for the town and look forward to working with Westerly," he said. "We have always worked collaboratively on the Pawcatuck River."
Westerly was also awarded more than $900,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to elevate 8 residential properties in Misquamicut. According to a press release from Westerly, this was hazard mitigation funding that was available following Tropical Storm Irene, but that Westerly applied for just after Hurricane Sandy.
Superstorm Sandy impacted all of the properties and owners will elevate their structures between one and three feet above base flood elevation. The property owners are responsible for their own local match.
"As climate change loads the dice for extreme weather, we must ensure that coastal towns like Westerly have the resources they need to recover and to prepare for future storms," said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse about the FEMA grant.