Frequently Asked Questions

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Our environment is changing in ways that are becoming more and more difficult to manage. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate our risks to natural hazards, we can do a lot to mitigate or reduce that risk, increase our resilience and protect the wonderful natural and cultural resources found in NC’s coastal areas. Making smart, and often tough, decisions today can lead to a more prosperous community and region for tomorrow and future generations.

This site is geared primarily to local government staff including, but not limited to: land use planners, hazard mitigation planners, floodplain managers, emergency managers, stormwater managers, natural resource planners, engineers, municipal and county leaders, zoning and permitting officials, public works officials, conservation organizations, as well as other private, public, and non-profit stakeholders interested in coastal resilience in North Carolina.

First, you’ll want to sit down and discuss with other staff and leadership within your community about your collective goals and capabilities for addressing resilience. Some tools are actually designed to help you walk through a self-assessment or stakeholder engagement process as a way to identify gaps and potential opportunities for future work. Your community may benefit from developing a stand-alone plan to guide adaptation and resilience or it may decide that the simpler approach of mainstreaming new data, policies, and projects into existing efforts is more feasible. Also, explore how other communities approached the topic with support from N.C. Division of Coastal Management (DCM) or through another process. For more information or questions, contact DCM's Policy & Planning Section Chief Tancred Miller at

DCM staff can help coastal communities build resilience in a number of ways, including:

  • Information sharing and network collaboration (contacts and support): DCM can connect you with other organizations and groups that can provide additional technical and financial assistance as well as to communities who are facing similar challenges. DCM can also point you to relevant resources (e.g., datasets, tools, and case study examples, etc.) that can guide your coastal resilience and adaptation work.

  • Technical assistance (planning, data access and analysis, public engagement, etc.): DCM can help facilitate the discussion about what approach a community wants to take, provide guidance on land use planning and resilience, assist in designing and conducting public engagement activities, access relevant data and conduct scenario-based vulnerability analysis and GIS mapping, brainstorm adaptation options, host trainings or workshops on various topics, and more.

  • Financial assistance (grants and information): DCM can provide guidance about our Planning and Management Grant program which can fund studies and planning initiatives focused on coastal hazards and storm response. DCM can also help communities identify other grants and funding opportunities to meet their needs.

For more information or questions, contact DCM's Policy & Planning Chief Tancred Miller at

For information specific to disaster recovery assistance and timelines, communities should refer to North Carolina Division of Emergency Management (NCDEM) sites for MatthewFlorence, and Rebuild NC as well as the FEMA website for Florence. Local governments can also find useful resources on NCDEM's Hurricane Florence microsite hosted by the UNC School of Government.

This site provides data, tools, planning guidance and potential funding and assistance resources that can support decision-making during the long-term recovery to recent events. From risk analysis tools to recommendations for post-disaster recovery and administering flood buyout programs, these resources can assist in a smart and effective recovery that builds resilience.

Major disasters bring in an enormous and complex array of recovery resources to help communities adjust to a new normal and hopefully come back stronger and more prepared for future climate and hazards impacts. Hurricanes like Matthew and Florence unveil and exacerbate the pre-existing issues such as inadequate infrastructure, poverty, and vulnerable public facilities that exist in a given community. Recognizing these vulnerabilities and working to improve policies, programs, and physical infrastructure that accounts for potential future environments is key to building resilience.