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Hampton residents can receive funding for efforts to help mitigate flooding and water pollution.

The city’s new Resilient and Innovative Neighbor (RAIN) pilot program will reimburse people up to $1,000 for completing accepted stormwater upgrades on their properties. Residents can choose to plant trees, install rain barrels, build rain gardens or install permeable pavers.

The initiative is meant to supplement other flood reduction projects in Hampton. It reflects the city’s focus on using green infrastructure and nature-based solutions to address flooding and sea level rise.

Anyone wishing to participate must apply by Nov. 16. The program prioritizes applicants who live around the flood-prone Newmarket Creek watershed. If successful, officials say it could expand across the city.

“We had a lot of citizens that wanted to play a role in helping Hampton reduce our flood risk,” said David Imburgia, Hampton’s chief resilience officer. “The idea is that we can do a whole bunch of small projects on individual properties. It adds up to a lot.”

Hampton is funding the project with a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Participating residents can choose to perform more than one of the accepted stormwater upgrades. Once their application is approved, a participant can buy any necessary materials and complete the project. Officials will then inspect the installation, review receipts for supplies and provide the reimbursement.

Tanner Council, who works in community outreach for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said planting trees and buying rain barrels are the two simpler and cheaper accepted upgrades. Installing rain gardens or permeable pavers could be more complicated. But officials will help guide participants through the installation process.

All four options help absorb and filter stormwater and reduce polluted runoff into nearby waterways.

“So the nutrients that may be running off a lawn or property are absorbed inside of a rain garden,” Council said. “In the case of a permeable paver, you give it a chance to slowly infiltrate back down to a groundwater source as opposed to sheeting off as polluted runoff.”

The RAIN program is one of several pilot initiatives meant to reduce flooding around Newmarket Creek. The city is also pursuing its Big Bethel Blueway project, which involves installing wetlands and small dams around the watershed to better capture stormwater and channel it from flood-prone areas.

Imburgia said sea level rise and more intense rainstorms cause flooding around Newmarket Creek. During storms, water tends to pile up in the creek before overflowing its banks.

“That’s why it’s so important for us to try to capture the rainwater that’s trying to get into the creek,” Imburgia said.

Hampton will hold workshops on the RAIN program Oct. 29 and Nov. 2. Attendees will be able to learn more about the program’s four accepted conservation activities and how they reduce flooding.

You can find more details here.