Pew Urges FEMA to Prioritize Planning, Natural Solutions, and Risk Assessment in New Grant Program

Pew Urges FEMA to Prioritize Planning, Natural Solutions, and Risk Assessment in New Grant Program

The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted comments May 8 on guidelines proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its new grant program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC). The program, created by Congress in 2018, has the potential to provide a consistent and significant increase in funding for pre-disaster mitigation of natural hazards, including projects designed to reduce risks posed by flooding.

Pew noted that FEMA’s guidelines for the program rightly support partnerships, innovation, and capacity building, but the comments also offered suggestions for improving them. Pew proposed that a portion of BRIC funding go to under-resourced communities to help them assess their flood risks, manage their flood plains effectively, and plan for floods. In addition, Pew urged FEMA to prioritize projects that utilize nature-based solutions, address flooding problems in and along watersheds that cross jurisdictional lines, and protect communities from future disaster risk, not just current risk.

Before developing the guidelines, FEMA took public comments in July 2019 on how the program should be designed; Pew’s detailed comments can be found here. Later this year, FEMA will issue a Notice of Funding Opportunity to states and allow them to apply for BRIC funding for the first time.

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