FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- Historic New Jersey enjoys a wealth of important notable properties which define the cities and communities in which they reside; places that continue to play an important role in the history of America. From the 1719 Trent House, once home to the man for whom the State’s capitol is named, to the Garden State’s famous lighthouses, each site is unique in character and age. Their well-being is important in preserving our heritage and maintaining the attraction they hold for visitors to the State.
During disaster recovery, FEMA’s Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation Cadre (EHP), plays a critical role in helping FEMA applicants understand the importance of compliance with environmental and cultural regulations so they may make informed planning decisions when repairing or rebuilding a damaged historical site.
FEMA’s goal is to ensure all federal environmental and cultural resource laws are identified when FEMA funding is to be made available for the restoration of historic sites. The EHP program integrates the protection and enhancement of a State’s environmental, historic and cultural resources into FEMA’s mission, programs and activities.
“Practical means and measures are used to protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment, in order to avoid undesirable or unintended consequences,” said Bill Vogel, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer for FEM-1954-DR-NJ, the current disaster recovery effort in New Jersey.
EHP provides expertise and technical assistance to FEMA staff, local, State and Federal partners, and applicants who are tasked with the challenge of preserving historic, cultural and natural aspects of our national heritage. They help applicants understand what is required under the law and how best to meet these requirements.
Typical environmental and historic preservation laws and executive orders that may apply include the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and Floodplains, Wetlands, and Seismic Retrofit Executive Orders.
In a continual partnership with local and state governments, FEMA seeks, through funding grants, to help States recover from a presidentially declared disaster and EHP is careful to advise all applicants to recognize environmental concerns in order to avoid project delays and permit denials. Of particular interest in a state like New Jersey, that is rich in American history, is to ensure that during nicer weather, residents can continue to enjoy a walk though Washington Crossing State Park with its beautiful trails and nature center, or have an imaginary lunch with the creators of the New Jersey State seal at Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield.
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.