Rhode Island Launches OSCAR Fund Program to Bolster Climate Adaptation and Resilience

Governor Dan McKee, alongside the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), have announced the launch of the Ocean State Climate Adaptation and Resilience (OSCAR) Fund Program, inviting project proposals aimed at fortifying the state against climate change impacts.

Established through legislation passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 2021, the OSCAR Fund Program is a collaborative effort between DEM, CRMC, and the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (RIIB). Following the allocation of funding in June 2022 and the adoption of program rules in 2023, the OSCAR Fund is now poised to support initiatives addressing climate change-induced challenges.

The OSCAR Fund Program provides financial aid in the form of grants to support adaptation and resilience projects. These projects, which focus on protecting or enhancing coastal or riverine habitats, aim to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. Notably, the program is exclusively tailored to projects on public lands, including areas that offer public access to shorelines and riverbanks.

Governor Dan McKee underscored Rhode Island’s commitment to climate action, highlighting initiatives aimed at bolstering resilience across the state. “Rhode Island is a leader in climate change action through our work to increase clean energy and energy efficiency, grow the clean energy economy, protect land, and support climate change resiliency projects,” Governor McKee emphasized.

Senate Majority Leader Ryan W. Pearson stressed the urgency of addressing climate-related infrastructure challenges, citing projections indicating potential sea level rise and the need for proactive measures. Similarly, Representative Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson emphasized the significance of leveraging resources like the OSCAR Fund to secure Rhode Island’s climate future.

Terry Gray, Director of DEM, emphasized the crucial role of coastal and riverine habitats in mitigating climate change impacts, highlighting the OSCAR Program’s potential to safeguard these vital ecosystems. Jeff Willis, Executive Director of CRMC, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of protecting public access to Rhode Island’s shoreline amid rising sea levels.

RIIB Executive Director William Fazioli underscored the OSCAR Fund’s role in supporting municipal partners’ efforts to implement resilient infrastructure solutions. Kim Korioth, Rhode Island’s Chief Resilience Officer, reiterated the state’s commitment to minimizing climate impacts and supporting communities in adapting to future challenges.

In conjunction with the program launch, DEM will host a virtual information session via Zoom on Monday, April 15 at 3 PM. The session aims to provide detailed insights into the funding opportunity and address any queries from prospective applicants. To participate, register here via Zoom. Registrants will be sent the link for the Zoom call.




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