Public Assistance regulations authorize reimbursement for the removal of debris from public and private land when it is in the public interest. Such removal is in the public interest when it is necessary to: eliminate immediate threats to life, public health and safety, or eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public or private property; or to ensure economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community at large. Trees that are uprooted during a disaster event such that all or part of their roots are exposed may pose an immediate threat to public health and safety.
Disaster Assistance Policy 9523.11
TITLE: Hazardous Stump Extraction and Removal Eligibility
DATE: May 15, 2007
PURPOSE: Establish criteria used to reimburse applicants for removing eligible hazardous stumps from public or, where authorized, private property.
SCOPE AND AUDIENCE: The policy is applicable to all major disasters and emergencies declared on or after the date of publication. It is intended for all personnel involved in the administration and execution of the Public Assistance Program, including applicants.
AUTHORITY: Sections 403 and 407 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5206, as amended.
BACKGROUND: Public Assistance regulations authorize reimbursement for the removal of debris from public and private land when it is in the public interest. Such removal is in the public interest when it is necessary to: eliminate immediate threats to life, public health and safety, or eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public or private property; or to ensure economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community at large. Trees that are uprooted during a disaster event such that all or part of their roots are exposed may pose an immediate threat to public health and safety.
When a disaster event uproots a tree or stump (i.e., 50% or more of root ball is exposed) on a public right-of-way, improved public property or improved property owned by certain private nonprofit organizations, and the exposed root ball poses an immediate threat to life, public health and safety, FEMA may provide supplemental assistance to remove, transport, dispose, and provide fill for the root cavity of an eligible uprooted tree or stump. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse applicants reasonable costs for this type of work only when uprooted stumps are more than 24 inches in diameter (measured two feet from the ground), with the consensus of the Applicant and the State, and is approved in advance by FEMA, using the attached Hazardous Stump Worksheet.
If it is necessary to remove an uprooted stump before it can be inspected by FEMA because it poses a threat that must be dealt with immediately, the applicant must submit documentation, to FEMA including photographs, that establishes its location on public property, specifics on the threat, stump diameter measured two feet up the trunk from the ground, quantity of material to fill the hole, and any special circumstances.
FEMA will reimburse applicants for extraction, transport and disposal of stumps with a diameter of 24 inches or smaller at the unit cost rate for regular vegetative debris, using the attached Stump Conversion Table, as such stumps do not require special equipment.
FEMA will reimburse applicants at the unit cost rate (usually cubic yards) for normal debris removal for all stumps, regardless of size, placed on the rights-of-way by others (i.e., contractors did not extract them from public property or property of eligible Private Non-Profit organization). In such instances, applicants do not incur additional cost to remove these stumps because the same equipment that is used to pick up "regular" debris can be used to pick-up these stumps.
If an applicant incurs additional costs in picking up large stumps (over 24 inches in diameter) from rights-of-way, it should complete the Hazardous Stump Worksheet and present documentation to FEMA in advance for consideration.
Stumps with less than 50% of their root ball exposed should be cut flush at ground level and the cut portion included with regular vegetative debris.
Straightening or bracing of trees is eligible for reimbursement if it is less costly than removal and disposal. Applicant must provide a cost analysis showing cost effectiveness.
ORIGINATING OFFICE: Disaster Assistance Directorate (Public Assistance Division)
SUPERSESSION: This policy supersedes Recovery Policy Number 9523.11, Hazard Stump Removal and Extraction Eligibility dated May 6, 2006.
REVIEW DATE: Three years from the date of publication.
Acting Assistant Administrator
Disaster Assistant Directorate
Disaster Assistance Policy 9523.11 - Hazardous Stump Extraction and Removal Eligibility