NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness today announced finalization of an agreement to help shepherd forward mitigation projects and speed recovery for Louisiana residents.
The Louisiana State-Specific Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Secondary Programmatic Agreement was developed to streamline review and compliance of as many as 15,000 federally-funded mitigation projects in the state, including many for historical properties.
“This milestone agreement is a response to the extraordinary circumstances caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and will help thousands of Louisiana residents complete their recovery and adequately prepare for future disasters. The agreement also helps in safeguarding Louisiana’s historic landmarks,” said FEMA’s Regional Administrator for Region VI Tony Russell.
The HMPG Secondary Programmatic Agreement calls for mitigation projects to be reviewed on a community level rather than individually. This new review and compliance process will allow state and federal officials to deal more effectively with the magnitude of mitigation projects in Louisiana, including those that fall under historic preservation requirements, and expedite completion.
The state has received $1.47 billion in HMPG funding from FEMA for Katrina and Rita, of which $750 million has been dedicated to Louisiana’s Office of Community Development to fund eligible mitigation projects for up to 15,000 individual private residential properties.
Under the agreement, FEMA will undertake treatment measures to offset potential adverse affects that may result through home elevations, demolitions, or other work. The agreement calls for surveying of thousands of properties in the state, as well as an inventory of the current condition of historical properties, which will promote better management of Louisiana’s landmarks.
The agreement also calls for archaeological testing in various city parks in New Orleans and a state park in St. Tammany Parish to compile information of resources and how better to protect them. Public outreach and education initiatives are other key components, which will give Louisiana citizens access to the information about historic and other property resources.
“The end result of this agreement will be very beneficial to Louisiana. Much of the information and data gathered through these treatment measures will give citizens useful tools to assist with recovery, now and in the future,” said Louisiana Recovery Office Environmental Liaison Officer Katherine Zeringue.
In addition to GOHSEP, FEMA worked with 15 other entities to bring the agreement to fruition, including the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, federally-recognized Indian tribes, various parish government officials, and other preservation organizations.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.