On June 21, 2023, Civix grant experts joined officials from the City of Norfolk and State of Virginia to celebrate the completion of Ohio Creek Watershed Project. This transformational project was funded through a $112 million federal grant award from HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). The overall effort comprises a suite of projects and programs, including shoreline restoration and protection, parcel level green infrastructure, increasing community connectivity, and creating economic opportunities for low-income residents.
“The Ohio Creek Watershed Project is a national example of neighborhood-level resilience,” Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Since 2017, Civix has served as Norfolk’s grants management and regulatory compliance subject matter expert for the implementation of its Community Develpoment Block Grant-National Disaster Resilience (CDBG-NDR) award.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the successful completion of the Ohio Creek Watershed Project,” said Civix Vice President Ted Guillot. “This project not only mitigates flood risks but also promotes equity. It serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when residents, government agencies, and community partners come together to create and advance a shared vision for the future.”
The Ohio Creek Watershed faces a dual challenge of tidal and precipitation flooding, posing significant obstacles to the residents of the area’s two predominantly African American neighborhoods. Accessibility to and from the area is severely limited by only two available roads, with one road becoming completely impassable during regular flood events causing concern from residents about isolation from the rest of the city. Furthermore, the issue of shoreline erosion exacerbates flooding from the Elizabeth River,, as it not only intensifies the flooding but also hampers recreational activities within the area.
To help address these challenges, the Ohio Creek Watershed Project advances the three goals of Norfolk’s Resilience Strategy:
- Design a coastal community capable of dealing with the increased risk of flooding
- Create economic opportunity by advancing efforts to grow existing and new industry sectors
- Advance initiatives to connect communities, deconcentrate poverty, and strengthen neighborhoods
Civix’s role included program design, providing technical assistance to the City and its partners, oversight and monitoring, development and delivery of a regulatory training program, and regulatory compliance support. This included a comprehensive CDBG-DR/NDR Administrative
Manual, which served as the guiding document for the implementation of the CDBG-NDR grant and any future CDBG-DR grants. Civix continues to provide support in the areas of regulatory compliance, on-call technical assistance, and compliance monitoring.
HUD launched the National Disaster Resilience Competition in 2014 to “help communities respond to climate change, save public resources, revitalize and modernize infrastructure, and improve access to opportunity for vulnerable populations.” It resulted in the allocation of nearly $1 billion in funds to 13 states and communities nationwide. Civix helped several of these grantees develop winning proposals and provided support and guidance throughout planning and implementation. Including Norfolk, Civix is supporting the implementation of over $240 million in CDBG-NDR projects, ranging from critical blue-green infrastructure to economic revitalization, planning, and residential buyout and acquisition in communities throughout the country. Many of these grant programs are completing their innovative projects around this time. These projects provide real-world examples of the full range of capabilities Civix provides throughout an entire grant lifecycle – from planning to implementation to completion and closeout.