For many decades, communities have been unable to adequately prepare for major flooding, in part because of insufficient funds. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program could help change that.
In comments submitted July 15 to FEMA, The Pew Charitable Trusts noted that BRIC could provide the nation with significantly more resources for pre-disaster mitigation, as the program would draw from up to 6 percent of the agency’s disaster spending to help communities become more resilient. Research shows that every dollar invested in mitigation saves an average of $6 in avoided losses.
Pew urged FEMA to ensure that the BRIC program prioritizes strategies that reduce flood risk, ensures that adequate pre-disaster mitigation dollars are made available and effectively spent, encourages smart decisions about how and where to build and rebuild, and promotes the use of nature-based solutions, such as parks and wetlands. In addition to its formal comments, Pew provided input through FEMA’s IdeaScale page on how “no adverse impact” policies, nature-based solutions, and updated building codes can reduce flood risk.