EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

04/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/22/2021 13:35

EPA to Provide Building Blocks Assistance to Saint Helena Island and Beaufort County, South Carolina


COLUMBIA, SC. (April 22, 2021) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Saint Helena Island and Beaufort County, South Carolina will receive technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

This year, EPA selected four communities to receive technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. The program provides quick, targeted technical assistance to selected communities using a variety of results-based tools. These tools stimulate discussions about growth and development and strengthen local capacity to implement sustainable approaches.

'Through the Building Blocks program, EPA continues to help communities improve quality of life, and become more economically and environmentally sustainable,' said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator John Blevins. 'This program provides not only tools but a pathway towards additional resources designed specifically to build resilience and strengthen communities.'

'Working with the building blocks grant team will assist natives of St. Helena Island with sustaining the resiliency that is naturally a part of our Gullah/Geechee cultural heritage,' said Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Chair of the St. Helena Island Cultural Protection Overlay District Committee. We will use the community engagements to pour that resilient energy and our history into green infrastructure in order to increase the sustainability of our environment and create places in which people can learn more about our Gullah/Geechee culture and how it is inextricably tied to our land. We want our future generations to be able to build on the foundation that we will lay via these building blocks.'

The Gullah/Geechee community of Saint Helena Island and Beaufort County intend to develop a network of green infrastructure projects that will buffer storm surge and mitigate sea level rise impacts while also protecting local food production, historic sites, and cultural traditions. This project will work with community members on asset mapping of green infrastructure projects throughout the island and then solidify action plans and funding sources. The project will highlight the connections between sites, set clear resilience goals for each location, and work with the county and state to ensure culturally appropriate adaptation solutions are reflected in plans and policies.

For more information on Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/building-blocks-sustainable-communities