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Grants OK’d for Emerald Isle, Holden Beach

Swells from Hurricane Florence in Emerald Isle. Photo: Sam Bland

North Carolina and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials announced Thursday more than $54.9 million in hurricane- and tropical storm-related public assistance grants have been approved for Emerald Isle and Holden Beach.

The grants are to reimburse expenses to renourish public beaches in the coastal towns which were damaged by storm surges during Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Michael in 2018. Emerald Isle is to replenish with more than 2 million cubic yards of sand and more than 377,000 square yards of plants damaged during Hurricane Florence. The sand equals more than 20 times the amount of concrete in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium and the volume of plants covers 78 acres, according to the announcement. Holden Beach will replenish more than 389,000 cubic yards of sand damaged during Tropical Storm Michael.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent repair work. Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75% of eligible costs, and the remaining 25% is covered by the state. The federal share is paid directly to the state, which disburses funds to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.

FEMA’s combined share for the Emerald Isle and Holden Beach projects is more than $41.2 million and the state’s share is more than $13.7 million.

The state and FEMA have approved more than $72 million to restore North Carolina beaches since the 2018 storms. In September 2019, more than $18 million was approved to restore beaches in the towns of Indian Beach and Pine Knoll Shores.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.