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North Carolina Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Fund

Grants to North Carolina Local Governments in Eligible
Counties to Improve Access to Beaches and Public Waters

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) - Division of Coastal Management (DCM)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

08/17/20 5:00 PM Receipt


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Grants to North Carolina municipal and county governments in eligible counties to enhance access to beaches and public waters. Applicants must submit a pre-application prior to submission of a full proposal. Funding is intended to support the purchase of land, as well as the construction of public facilities, parking areas, piers, picnic shelters, restrooms, and dune crossovers. Eligible applicants are located in Camden, Bertie, Currituck, Chowan, Gates, Dare, Tyrell, Herford, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Washington, Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Hyde, Pamlico, Pender, Onslow, New Hanover, and Brunswick Counties.

The primary objective of the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program is to provide pedestrian access to public beaches and public trust waters in the 20 coastal counties. Grant funds may be used for land acquisition (including “unbuildable” lots) and site improvement projects that are consistent with the state guidelines for public access in the coastal area. Any facility constructed with these grant funds must meet state and federal guidelines for handicap accessibility. 

Examples of eligible projects include the following:

  • Land acquisition: Purchase of land for future public access facilities.
  • Land easement acquisition: Purchase of easements for public access.
  • Parking areas; restrooms; and other facilities.
  • Urban waterfront access sites: Improved public access to deteriorating or under-utilized urban waterfronts through reconstruction or rehabilitation.
  • Reconstruction or relocation of existing damaged public access facilities. Primarily for sites not originally funded by this program or for improvements to any sites at least fifteen (15) years (15) old.
  • Handicap facilities: Local governments are encouraged to submit proposals designed to enhance handicap accessibility at existing facilities.
  • Boat Launch facilities: Boat launch and ramp facilities, whether motorized or not, may be part of a project provided pedestrian access is still a major component of the project.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 137942

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Maximum Request: There is no limit on maximum request. However due to the limited funds available, applicants need to be mindful that larger requests may be difficult to accommodate.

Term of Contract:

Anticipated Contract Period: Eighteen (18) months beginning between November 2020 and January 2021.

Though grant contracts may be amended and extended at the discretion of DCM, a contract typically is limited to eighteen (18) months. Despite amendments, state rules limit the total life of a contract to three (3) years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants: The 20 coastal counties and municipalities therein that have public trust waters (ocean, estuarine or riverine waters) within their jurisdictions.

Site Requirements:
- The applicant must own or have at least a 25-year lease on property where grant funds are used to build or renovate facilities, except where improvements are proposed on “Other Agency Lands.”
- A local government may apply for a grant to fund improvements on property owned by a public school administrative unit or a state or federal agency. The county or municipality, however, must serve as the applicant for the project. Improvements must enhance public access to public trust waters and not just serve other recreational purposes.
- Acquired properties funded through the grant program will require recorded deed restrictions to be in place prior to a reimbursement of grant funds. Land acquired with access grant funds shall be dedicated in perpetuity for public access and the benefit of the general public. The dedication shall be recorded in the property records by the grantee. Any lease or easement agreement shall extend at least 25 years.

For information about costs not included in a grant award or local match, see:

Pre-Application Information:

The application process has three steps: The Pre-application, invitation to submit a Final Application, and grant contract approval. Local governments interested in applying for financial assistance must complete and submit two printed copies of the pre-application before 5:00 pm on Friday May 15, 2020.

Local governments whose proposals are selected will be invited to submit a Final Application with more detailed project information by Friday May 15, 2020. Prior to submitting a Final Application, the local government shall hold a public meeting or hearing to discuss its proposal and consider comments prior to its decision to submit a Final Application for state funds.

Final Applications are anticipated to be due before 5 p.m. on Monday, August 17, 2020. All final applicants will be notified in October whether their project has been selected for funding.

Local government matching contributions for acquisition must be at least 15 percent of the total project cost. The match is reduced to 10 percent for counties designated by the NC Department of Commerce as Tier 1. Matching contributions for improvements to existing sites must be at least 25 percent of the total project cost. The match is reduced to 10 percent for counties designated by the NC Department of Commerce as Tier 1.

Proposals that include both land acquisition and site improvements are to be submitted under separate applications.

Access grants are paid as reimbursements of actual expenses.

Additional information:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Please complete a separate application for each proposed project and submit two (2) printed copies to your DCM District Planner.

Local contacts for Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Tyrell, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Washington Counties:
Charlan Owens, District Planner
Division of Coastal Management
401 South Griffin Street, Suite 300
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
(252) 264-3901

For Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Hyde and Pamlico Counties:
Rachel Love-Adrick, District Planner
Division of Coastal Management
400 Commerce Ave.
Morehead City, NC 28557

For Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender Counties:
Mike Christenbury, District Planner
Division of Coastal Management
127 Cardinal Drive Extension
Wilmington, NC 28405-3845
(910) 796 7426

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: North Carolina: Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, Washington, Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Hyde, Pamlico, Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow, and Pender Counties

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