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Governor's budget proposal increases funding for flood risk projects

Courtesy Wayne County
Projects in Wayne and Lenoir counties clean streams to increase flow and decrease flood risk.

Recent grants from the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will help communities increase their resilience against climate threats. Gov. Cooper's proposed budget released this week seeks even more money for the program.

The state's Land & Water Fund recently announced $15 million in grants for 17 projects around the state as part of a new initiative to reduce flood risk.

Among those are flood prevention projects in Mecklenburg, Haywood, Henderson, Robeson and Lenoir counties; river and stream restorations in Durham and Newport; and an N.C. State University research project at a forest in Onslow County.

Reid Wilson is North Carolina's secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources.

"Our Land & Water Fund helps protect land along streams, helps restore wetlands and stream banks, so that we have intact floodplains, because we have seen devastating floods from hurricanes and just major rain events," he said.

Wilson says the projects are a direct response to climate change, which is bringing more intense storms and flooding. Overall last year, the Land & Water Fund got $24 million in recurring funding.

Governor Roy Cooper's budget for the new fiscal year would increase that to 30 million dollars, plus an additional one-time allocation of $35 million. The Republican-led General Assembly will present its own budget in the coming weeks.