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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 071-U76MD-00; Audubon Commission
PW ID# Project Worksheet 6138; Replacement of Fish
November 20, 2007
Col. Thomas Kirkpatrick
State Coordinating Officer
Governor’s Officer of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
7667 Independence Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA
Re: Second Appeal - Audubon Commission, PAID 071-U76MD-00, Replacement of Fish, FEMA-1603-DR-LA, Project Worksheet (PW) 6138
Dear Col. Kirkpatrick:
This is in response to your letter dated September 25, 2007, which transmitted the subject appeal on behalf of the Audubon Commission (Applicant). The Applicant appealed the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to deny its request for reimbursement to replace fish at its aquarium that were lost as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The amount in dispute is $99,766.
The Applicant owned and operated the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, which contained over 10,000 fish representing 530 species when Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina knocked out power to the aquarium and the backup generators were unable to fully operate the sophisticated life support systems required to keep the fish alive. As a result, over 3,000 fish died. FEMA prepared PW 6138 for $616,849, the estimated cost to replace the lost fish from commercial sources, but obligated it for $0 because it determined that the fish were one of a kind, thus ineligible based on Response and Recovery Policy Number 9524.6, Collections and Individual Objects. The Applicant subsequently conducted an expedition and caught the replacement fish for the aquarium. The Applicant also received fish donations from other aquariums to replace some of the fish lost after the storm. The Applicant revised its request for reimbursement from $616,849 to $99,766. The FEMA staff denied this request for the same reason stated above. The Regional Administrator concurred with the decision in the first appeal response letter dated May 17, 2007.
Non-exotic fish housed in eligible facilities are considered contents and are eligible for replacement when destroyed during a major disaster, in accordance with 44 CFR §206.226(h). The Applicant has demonstrated that it was more cost effective to catch the replacement fish than to purchase the fish commercially. Since the replacement of “contents” is permanent work, the cost of the Applicant’s force account straight and overtime labor cost, as well as other costs incurred in the expedition to collect the replacement fish are eligible. Based on my review of the
information submitted with the appeal, I have determined that the Applicant is eligible to receive reimbursement of costs incurred to replace fish at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Therefore, the appeal is approved. By copy of this letter, I request that the Regional Administrator take appropriate action to implement this determination.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. My decision is the final determination on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: William Peterson
FEMA Region VI