Spending mitigation money
As the old expression goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the case of flooding and other natural disasters, both FEMA and the IBHS tell us that a dollar of effective mitigation saves $6 in insurance claim costs. Here’s the latest on where FEMA and other federal agencies are doling out mitigation money.
Enhancing Mother Nature’s Assets: NOAA is providing $30 million in grants to restore or expand natural coastline features that help minimize the effects of hurricanes and rising sea levels. Matching contributions from its public-private partners – the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Shell Oil Company, and global reinsurer TransRe – will create a $90 million fund for 44 coastal resilience projects in 23 states and territories.
The only grant slated for Florida is $6 million for the University of Miami’s coral reef restoration project to enhance resilience of the South Florida coastline. Besides providing a more effective buffer to waves, flooding, and beach erosion, the project is supposed to create essential habitats for fisheries and enhanced recreation opportunities.
Watershed Flow: FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management have awarded $1.3 million to Florida Atlantic University for watershed studies. It’s part of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, designed to help local communities improve their Community Rating System score to get larger discounts within the National Flood Insurance Program for their residents.
FAU will use the money on a pilot project to determine where gaps exist in watershed data across Florida. Researchers will create a catalog of existing watershed plans and a best practices guide for developing watershed management plans. The grant will also be used to create a screening tool to identify areas across the state that are most susceptible to flooding.
Catastrophe Modeling: Global resilience guru Dr. Roger Grenier reminds us that learning from catastrophe modeling techniques can help FEMA—and applicants to these programs—evaluate more cost-effective projects and improve resource management to better leverage grant funds. In this latest AIR Worldwide blog, Dr. Grenier says FEMA has been experiencing “extraordinary” interest in pre-disaster mitigation programs, with a 500% increase in applications in the most recent grant cycle.
He argues that “clearly a robust, transparent, and scalable system to manage the grant process is necessary for the future success of FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure in Communities (BRIC) program.” Amen Roger!
LMA Newsletter of 12-2-19