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Posted on: November 16, 2020

FEMA Reimbursement Assistance from Hurricane Sally


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice to the public of its intent to  reimburse eligible applicants for eligible costs to repair or replace facilities damaged by Hurricane Sally occurring September 14, 2020 through September 28, 2020.   This notice applies to the Public Assistance (PA), Individual Assistance (IA), and Hazard Mitigation Grant (HMGP) programs implemented under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121- 5207.

Under a major disaster declaration FEMA-4564-DR-FL signed by the President on September 23, 2020 (and amended on September 30, 2020, October 2, 2020, and October 13, 2020), the following counties have  been  designated  adversely  affected  by  the  disaster  and  eligible  for  IA:  Escambia,  Santa  Rosa, Okaloosa,  Walton,  and  Bay;  and  for  PA,  Categories  A-G:  Escambia,  Santa  Rosa,  Jefferson,  Bay, Okaloosa,  Walton,  Calhoun,  Franklin,  Gadsden,  Gulf,  Holmes,  Jackson,  Liberty,  and  Washington. Additional counties may be designated later.  The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is available statewide.

Under the emergency declaration FEMA EM-3546-FL signed by the President on September 15, 2020, funding for Direct Federal Assistance for Emergency Measures and PA, Category B is available for the following  counties:  Bay,  Calhoun,  Escambia,  Franklin,  Gadsden,  Gulf,  Holmes,  Jackson,  Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) will be available to all affected counties. Additional declarations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

This  public  notice  concerns  activities  that  may  affect  historic  properties,  activities  that  are  in  or  affect wetland areas or the 1% annual chance (100-year) floodplain, and critical actions within the 0.2% annual chance (500-year) floodplain.   Such activities may adversely affect the historic property, floodplain, or wetland or may result in continuing vulnerability to flood damage.

Presidential  Executive  Orders  11988  and  11990  require  that  all  federal  actions  in  or  affecting  the floodplain  or  wetlands  be  reviewed  for  opportunities  to  relocate,  and evaluated  for  social,  economic, historical,  environmental,  legal,  and  safety  considerations.   Where  there  is  no  opportunity  to  relocate, FEMA is required to undertake a detailed review to determine what measures may be taken to minimize future  damages.    The  public  is  invited  to  participate  in  the  process  of  identifying  alternatives  and analyzing their impacts through this notification.

FEMA has determined that for certain types of facilities there are normally no alternatives to restoration in  the  floodplain  or  wetland.   These  are  facilities  that  meet  all  of  the following  criteria:   1)  FEMA’s estimate of the cost of repairs is less than 50-percent of the cost to replace the entire facility and is less than $100,000;  2) the facility is not located in a floodway or coastal high hazard area;  3) the facility has not   sustained   major   structural   damage   in   a   previous   presidentially-declared   flooding   disaster   or emergency; and   4)  the  facility  is  not  critical  (e.g.,  the  facility  is  not  a  hospital,  generating  plant, emergency operations center, or a facility that contains dangerous materials).   FEMA intends to provide assistance for the restoration of these facilities to their pre-disaster condition, except that certain measures to mitigate the effect of future flooding or other hazards may be included in the work.   For example, a bridge  or  culvert  restoration  may  include  a  larger  waterway  opening  to  decrease  the  risk  of  future washouts.

For routine activities, this will be the only public notice provided.   Other activities and those involving facilities that do not meet the four criteria above are required to undergo more detailed review, including study  of  alternate  locations.    Subsequent  public  notices  regarding  such  projects  will  be  published,  if necessary, as more specific information becomes available.

In many cases, a recipient or subrecipient may have started facility restoration before federal involvement. Even if the facility must undergo detailed review and analysis of alternate locations, FEMA will fund eligible  restoration  at  the  original  location  if  the  facility  is  functionally  dependent  on  its  floodplain location (e.g., bridges and piers), or the project facilitates an open space use, or the facility is an integral part of a larger network that is impractical or uneconomical to relocate, such as a road.   In such cases, FEMA  must  also examine the  possible  effects  of  not  restoring  the  facility,  minimizing  floodplain  or wetland impacts, and determining both that an overriding public need for the facility clearly outweighs the Executive Order requirements to avoid the floodplain or wetland, and that the site is the only practicable alternative.  The  State  of  Florida  and  local  officials  will confirm  to  FEMA  that  the  proposed  actions comply with all applicable state and local floodplain management and wetland protection requirements.

FEMA intends to provide IA program funding for disaster-related emergency housing.  These actions may adversely affect a floodplain, wetland or may result in continuing vulnerability to floods.  These actions may include repair, restoration, or construction of housing or private bridges, purchase and placement of travel  trailers  or  manufactured  housing  units,  or  repair  of  structures  as  minimum  protective  measures. This will be the only public notice concerning these actions.

FEMA also intends to provide HMGP funding to the State of Florida to mitigate future disaster damages. These projects may include construction of new facilities, modification of existing, undamaged facilities, relocation of facilities out of floodplains, elevation or demolition of structures, or other types of projects to mitigate future disaster damages.   While developing project proposals, subsequent public notices will be published, if necessary, as more specific information becomes available.

The  National  Historic  Preservation  Act  requires  federal  agencies  to  consider  the  effect  of  their  actions (undertakings) on historic properties.   Those actions or activities affecting buildings, structures, districts, objects  50  years  or  older,  or  that  affect  archeological  sites  or  undisturbed  ground  will  require  further review  to  determine  if  the property  is  eligible  for  listing  in  the  National  Register  of  Historic  Places (Register).   If  the  property  is  determined  to  be  eligible  for  the  Register  and  FEMA’s undertaking  will adversely affect it, FEMA will provide additional public notices, if necessary.  For historic properties not adversely affected by FEMA’s undertaking, this will be the only public notice.

The  Rehabilitation  Act  of  1973  protects  the  civil  rights  of  persons  with  disabilities.  It  prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by the federal government, federal contractors, and by recipients of federal financial assistance. Any recipient or sub-recipient of federal funds is required to make their programs accessible to individuals with disabilities. Its protections apply to all programs and businesses that receive any federal funds. This applies to all elements of physical, architectural, programmatic and communication  accessibility  in  all  services  and  activities  conducted  by  or  funded  by  FEMA.   FEMA intends  to  comply  with  the  Rehabilitation  Act  in  all  federally conducted  and  assisted  programs  in alignment with the principals of whole community inclusion and universal accessibility.

As noted, this may be the only public notice regarding the above-described actions under the PA, IA, and HMGP programs.  Interested persons may obtain information about these actions or a specific project by writing to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency – Region IV - EHP, 3005 Chamblee Tucker Rd, Atlanta, GA 30341-4112 or emailing FEMA- Comments should be sent in writing to Stephanie Everfield, Regional Environmental Officer,  c/o Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation Office, at the above address within 15 days of the date of this notice.

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