PA ID# 133-47845; Town of North Topsail Beach
DSR ID# 01058 ; Emergency Shore Protection
Citation: FEMA-1134-DR-NC; Town of North Topsail Beach; DSR 01058
Cross-Reference: Coastal Barrier Resources Act; Emergency work
Summary: DSR 01058 was prepared for $1,431,958 to cover costs associated with construction of an "emergency" berm to protect domestic property and public infrastructure from potential coastal flooding in the Town of North Topsail Beach, following Hurricane Fran (FEMA-1134-DR-NC). After consulting with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), FEMA determined that the work was ineligible because the berm and protected property are located within a unit of the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) according to the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA). The subgrantee submitted a first appeal and contended that the work was an exception to 44 CFR 206.344, because it qualifies as an emergency protective measure under 44 CFR 206.346(a)(2). The appeal was denied because the work was found to be "not consistent with the purposes of the CBRA as required by 44 CFR 206.341." In their second appeal, the subgrantee restates their position from the first appeal. The documentation submitted with both appeals includes correspondence from the FWS. This correspondence indicates that the FWS believes the work was not consistent with the purposes of the CBRA. Further, the FWS opined that the berm is not cost-beneficial and that its construction adversely affects flora and fauna. They state that most improved property is at least eight feet above the design-frequency flood.
Is FEMA required to consult the FWS to determine the eligibility of an emergency protective measure?
Should FEMA fund construction of the emergency berm?
No. Pursuant to 44 CFR 206.347(b)(1), the Secretary of the Interior has determined that emergency work listed in 44 CFR 206.346(a) may be approved by FEMA without consultation from the FWS.
No. The emergency berm did not decrease the risk to life or public safety. Further, the protection provided by the berm to nearby infrastructure does not exceed the cost of the emergency measure.
Rationale: FEMA may approve emergency measures within the CBRA without prior consultation from the Secretary of the Interior and FWS. However, in this instance, the project is not cost-effective.