PA ID# 001-92101; State of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
DSR ID# 34561, 91769, 21221; Floodwater overtopped salmon hatcheries
PURPOSE: To obtain signature on a letter granting reimbursement for eligible costs on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's third appeal
DISCUSSION: Following the flooding caused by winter storms in February 1996, FEMA prepared three DSRs totaling $367,190 to reimburse the State of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife the cost of fish lost when rearing ponds were flooded at three hatcheries. Upon review, FEMA found the DSRs ineligible because fish of the same size were not available for procurement to replace the lost fish, and rearing replacement fish in the same hatcheries as were used for the normal rearing was not practical. The Regional Director denied the first appeal because replacement was impossible. The applicant submitted a second appeal citing that FEMA reimbursed for fish loss in previous disasters. The Executive Associate Director determined that it cannot be shown that the Department suffered a loss because the flooded fish represented a premature release into the natural environment. In the third appeal, the applicant stated that scientific studies have shown that fish prematurely introduced into an environment incapable of sustaining them have a zero level of survival. The Department proposed rearing the fish on hand to a larger size before releasing them, and to adjust the release time to increase survival rates to ameliorate the loss. The Stafford Act and 44 CFR 206.226 provide for the replacement of public facilities and any equipment and furnishings of these facilities. The Department has sufficiently demonstrated that as a result of FEMA-1100-DR-WA the fingerlings had close to zero level of survival. To ensure consistent interpretation and application of the Stafford Act and its implementing regulations FEMA should reimburse the Department the cost of replacing the fish that were lost.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Sign the letter responding to the Department's third appeal.