A drone’s view of Calf Pasture Beach, a coastal part of Norwalk. 
NORWALK — As part of $1.3 million in federal funds awarded to Connecticut to combat climate change, Norwalk received more than $200,000 for its efforts.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., visited Norwalk to discuss the importance of the funds in preventing flooding in the state’s shoreline towns. The $211,800 grant will allow the city to create a flood resilience plan while providing a framework of nature-based solutions to enhance Norwalk’s coastal habitats, Blumenthal said.
The funding is part of $1.3 million in National Coastal Resilience Fund grants that Connecticut received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Nobody gets it better than Norwalk. No one is more sensitive to the need for resilience. You know the dangers of flooding and the need for resilience and that’s what this grant is,” Blumenthal said Monday morning at the shore along Wallace Avenue. “This money is a down payment. It is the beginning of what we need to do to be more resilient along the coast of Connecticut.”
Along with developing nature-based solutions, Norwalk’s flood resilience plan will result in improved community resilience and enhanced coastal habitats in response to coastal hazards, according to a city statement.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021 provided the funding for this grant to help communities design and implement resilience projects to reduce risks from rising sea levels and more intense storms.  
“It is an example of what towns should be doing to prepare and prevent the climate damage that we see in the new normal,” Blumenthal said. “The extreme weather that’s expected much more often than ever before and the need for prevention and preparedness is greater than ever before. This grant is going to enable Norwalk to prepare for potential flooding and provide for greater resiliency that is important not just to homes along the shore but to businesses and to public services.”
Norwalk has a long history of flooding and began efforts in recent years to combat the problem, including the completion of an industrial waterfront study, released in November.
The draft Industrial Waterfront Land Use Plan was developed for the city to use as a policy roadmap, allowing the waterfront areas to grow and change in a way that balances and aligns with public and private needs, according to the plan’s release statement.
It highlighted areas of focus for the waterfront plan: increasing public access; reducing heavy industry; mixed use zoning; reimagining Wall Street; retaining, protecting and reinvesting in water-dependent businesses; and preserving the environment and preparing for resiliency.
“Next steps for the plan will be the adoption into the Norwalk Citywide Plan (POCD),” Norwalk Senior Planner Michelle Andrzejewski said. “However, potential changes into the zoning regulations will be wrapped in with the ‘Zone Norwalk’ full regulation rewrite.”
The timeline for the rollout of the new regulations has yet to be determined, Andrzejewski said. 
The federal funds also come weeks after the release of a plan to establish similar resiliency and flood prevention efforts in the South Norwalk neighborhood.
SoNo was one of seven communities in New Haven and Fairfield counties chosen by the state for climate mitigation planning. South Norwalk was chosen for inclusion in the state- and University of Connecticut-run Resilient Connecticut program as one of seven vulnerable populations in the area’s ZIP code rates high on the social vulnerability index put out by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As a shoreline community with a high social vulnerability index, SoNo is at risk for serious damage should another superstorm occur.
Under state guidelines, shoreline towns are working on infrastructure plans that would account for a sea level rise of 20 inches by 2050. The purpose of the program is to help vulnerable areas prepare for the eventuality of large weather event, such as Hurricane Sandy. 
Abigail Brone can be reached at abigail.brone@hearstmediact.com.
I graduated with my master’s in journalism from Columbia University in 2020. I received a bachelor’s in journalism and English from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Before working for Hearst Connecticut Media Group I worked at the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, covering the towns of Enfield and Windsor. I have previously worked at the Hartford Courant, the Norwich Bulletin and the Republican-American. I love all things cats and Disney.