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Feds give $100M in storm prevention to 11 states

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.  — Eleven states in the eastern U.S. will share $100 million in grants from the federal government to protect against future storms, with the greatest amount of funded projects in New Jersey and New York.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resilience Grant Program will fund a variety of projects to protect communities at risk from future big storms like the October 2012 event that pummeled the East Coast.

The money comes from a Sandy relief bill passed by Congress.

New Jersey has the largest number of approved projects at 13, including restoration of beaches, salt marshes and urban areas including Hoboken. The grants also will fund projects to improve water quality in the 1.1-million acre Pinelands region; improve shoreline conditions along seven miles of Cape May County beaches; better protect the Delaware Bay shoreline in Cape May and Cumberland counties; and restore wetlands in Newark Bay, Great Egg Harbor Bay, Little Egg Harbor.

New York has 11 projects, including an oyster colony in Jamaica Bay, flood mitigation in Coney Island, and wetlands restoration in Suffolk County. Other projects will restore the Bronx River shoreline at Starlight Park; better protect Sunken Meadow State Park; improve Harlem River water quality and resiliency, and reconnect 10 land-locked areas to the Allegany Reservoir in Cattaraugus County.

Grants will also fund projects in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia, and two regional multi-state projects.

The competition for the grants began last year on the anniversary of Sandy. Recipients must put up matching funds for part of the work.

It is designed to support local efforts to stabilize beaches, restore wetlands, improve the movement of water and improve water quality of coastal areas, improve infrastructure and assist local planning for storms. The Interior department says the projects will create hundreds of jobs in local communities, and that young people and veterans will be given special consideration in hiring.

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