Boston, MA -- As a result of a federally-declared disaster in the State of New Hampshire in July 1998, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management (NHOEM) have awarded federal grants to fund Mitigation projects to the following towns in New Hampshire: Lancaster, Francestown, and Columbia. The Town of Lancaster has been awarded $24,000; the Town of Francestown, NH, was awarded $31,463, and the Town of Columbia received $26,527.
The Town of Lancaster, NH, has experienced 26 recorded flooding events from the Israel River dating back to the 1870's. The most recent and serious flooding occurred in February of 1996, causing over $1 million in damages to homes, churches, businesses, and infrastructure. The cause of the damages has been narrowed down to two structures - the remnants of an old crib dam in the Israel River and the old railroad bridge abutment.
The old wood and stone crib dam was put in place over 100 years ago for water-powered industrial uses along the river. The dam has no impoundment area and only exists as an obstruction today. It is classified by the New Hampshire Water Division and Dam Bureau as "in ruins" and "abandoned." The old dam will now be removed under this mitigation project to reduce obstruction in the river and facilitate water-flow.
The railroad abutment, located just downstream from the old crib dam, is a remnant of the former bridge that crossed the river. During storm events and snow and ice melt that cause heavy river flow, this structure encourages stream bank erosion and threatens the Town's sewage main. Mitigation measures will be taken to remove the railroad abutment and armor the exposed area and sewage main with riprap. This will prevent any further threat to the Town's sewage main.
The Town of Francestown, NH, will use its federal grant towards a drainage system for Dennison Road and Kingsbury Hill Road. Historically, every rainstorm of an inch or more causes severe erosion of both roads, making them impassable in many instances. As a result of this type of flooding, there is a need to install culverts, drain pipes, and silt ponds to provide a drainage system near the junction of Dennison Road and Kingston Hill Road. This will remove the water from the roads and re-channel the natural water-flow into culverts going under the roads.
The Town of Columbia, NH has had recurring road washout conditions throughout its town. The cement culverts cannot handle the flows associated with heavy rainstorms, causing the water flow to overtop the road, washing it out. This mitigation grant will fund a town-wide culvert replacement project to prevent future washouts.
"FEMA is very supportive of the mitigation measures that these towns in New Hampshire are taking. These steps will lessen the impact of future storm events and reduce the costs of repairs to the State and its people," said Setti D. Warren, Regional Director for FEMA Region I. "We will continue to work very closely with the State of New Hampshire to help its cities and towns become disaster resistant," added Warren.
The federal grants are made possible through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). This program is administered by the State, and it provides funding to communities for the implementation of cost-effective measures to reduce the risk of damage and loss of life due to natural hazards following a Presidentially declared disaster. Federal funding is provided in the amount of 75% the total project cost with a 25% match by the community.