North Carolina’s new Regional Resilience Portfolio Program has launched a partnership that will advance resilience in eastern regions of the state impacted by Hurricane Florence. The program will be coordinated regionally with the support of councils of governments and the N.C. Rural Center. The initiative aims to build the foundation for a more resilient North Carolina by proactively engaging with community leaders to determine and plan for climate hazards.
“Collaboration between local leaders and government agencies is key to assessing needs and planning for future resilience,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “The Regional Resilience Portfolio Program is going to help North Carolina communities build back smarter and stronger than ever.”
The portfolio program is a component of the larger Regions Innovating for Strong Economies & Environment (RISE) Program. RISE is a partnership between the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency and N.C. Rural Center, in collaboration with the N.C. Councils of Governments. The program, which is supported in part by a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, will bring together science and local knowledge to set priorities for resilience projects or activities in multiple regions throughout North Carolina.
“We are building local-level resilience leadership,” said state Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Amanda Martin, who oversees NCORR’s resilience team and the RISE program. “This partnership with counties, local governments and leaders from a variety of sectors provides each region with the resources to align projects with new funding opportunities from the recent federal infrastructure package and other sources. The goal is to break down barriers for communities wanting to invest in future growth and stability.”
Disaster recovery programs in North Carolina have typically repaired direct losses to housing and infrastructure, or reduced the risk of direct losses through hazard mitigation projects. Despite this work, many communities are still facing unmet needs due to storm damage sustained in recent years. The Regional Resilience Portfolio Program will offer the opportunity for local leaders, area residents and experts to identify resilience-building measures across storm-impacted counties served by the program. At the conclusion of the program, each of the participating regions will have a portfolio of priority projects based on the area’s specific needs.
The Regional Resilience Portfolio Program will serve the following council of governments regions: Kerr-Tar, Upper Coastal Plain, Albemarle, Mid-Carolina, Mid-East, Lumber River, Cape Fear, Eastern Carolina and Triangle J (except for Wake, Durham and Orange counties). A list of counties for each region can be found on the RISE website. Residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses and community leaders can sign up to participate in the development of their region’s climate vulnerability assessment and projects portfolio by subscribing to RISE Program updates.
“Local community involvement is key to identifying projects that will successfully support future vitality. Community leaders and residents know which roads flood, for example, and how such events expose the community to danger when they occur. When we meet with communities, we begin with that local knowledge and then evaluate those community climate hazards and plan next steps or projects to reduce or erase them,” Martin adds.
RISE is funded by a $1.1 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant, with support from both NCORR and N.C. Rural Center. The Duke Energy Foundation has committed $600,000 to offer Accelerator Grants to the regions for priority projects identified as an outcome of the program. RISE is managed by NCORR, a division of the N.C. Department of Public Safety. To learn more, visit the RISE website.