Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Announce Grant Award for the Southbridge Habitat Restoration Project

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) announced a $333,558 grant award to the City of Wilmington for the Southbridge East Habitat Restoration Planning Project from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This highly competitive award is one of 30 awards across the United States under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. The projects receiving funding will increase resilience through landscape-scale habitat restoration, restoration planning, and ecosystem conservation in coastal ecosystems nationwide. They will also promote coastal resilience in underserved coastal communities, as well as those most vulnerable to climate impacts. 

This planning project will produce designs for the restoration and enhancement of 12.7 acres of degraded wetland habitat along the Christina River in the Southbridge community. Implementation of these designs will help the community reduce flooding, enhance resiliency, accomplish ecological restoration, improve water quality in the Christina River, and create recreational opportunities for its residents and visitors.

“As the lowest lying state, communities in Delaware – especially those near bodies of water – face ever-growing threats from flooding,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The ongoing restoration work in Southbridge – which includes this project as well as the Southbridge Wetlands Park – is a great example of forward-thinking planning that will help us mitigate the effects of climate change on our communities. While we address the implications of rising sea levels through projects like these, we must also target the root causes of climate change, which we are doing through historic legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.

“In Wilmington, our neighbors in the Southbridge community have endured the brunt of flooding and other effects of climate change for far too long,” said U.S Senator Chris Coons, Co-Chair of U.S. Senate Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. “For years, our community has made a commitment to residents in Southbridge and beyond to fund solutions that will combat repeated disasters and promote greater resiliency. I am glad that we are keeping that promise with additional federal resources through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act that will work to mitigate the effects of climate change in Delaware and help promote better resiliency up and down our state.”

“We know that communities across the First State feel the impacts of the climate crisis every day, especially in our environmental justice and under-resourced communities like Southbridge where when it rains it floods,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “This grant – made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act – will make a significant investment in reducing flooding in the area, enhancing water quality, and protecting our wetlands. I am immensely proud to have worked alongside Senator Carper and Senator Coons to help secure this funding to create a healthier, stronger, and more resilient Southbridge.”

“The City of Wilmington believes in the need for environmental justice across all of our neighborhoods, which is why we are supportive of initiatives like this one,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “This grant will advance the City’s long-term goals for the South Wilmington community, namely developing and implementing projects that will improve flood resiliency. Through the innovative implementation of an ecological restoration project, the design for this wetland will not only reduce flooding in the Southbridge neighborhood but will also provide ecological services to improve water quality and flood storage, increase biodiversity, support wildlife habitat, aid in mosquito control, and provide for public access and recreation. The City’s project team will build on our history of collaboration and engagement with Southbridge residents to bolster the strong sense of stewardship and environmental responsibility displayed by Southbridge community members. Our thanks to the Congressional Delegation for its continuing support of our City and its people.”