SEATTLE –The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that in FY2011, FEMA Region X provided $11,909,572 funding to the State of Washington to implement 19 new Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) projects in the Puget Sound Watershed.
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to State and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to help communities prepare for future disasters by providing grants to implement long-term solutions for preparedness and protection against property damage and loss of life.
A primary eligible project type for FEMA’s five Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs is acquisition and demolition of flood prone structures. This results in the acquisition and conversion of developed land into permanent open space, in the form of native vegetation/wildlife habitat, active-use parks, and multi-use greenways.
A good example of a floodway buyout conversion into open space can be seen in King County, along the Cedar River in Maple Valley. This project was completed in 2008. In this project, called the Rainbow Bend Floodway Acquisition project, five residences on 6 parcels were purchased (see attached photos). The flood-prone houses were removed, and the vacant lands returned to their natural state. Now, where a row of houses stood too close to the river, there is riparian habitat.
In FY2011, six flood prone properties similar to the Rainbow Bend Acquisition project have been purchased for acquisition and demolition to be converted into permanent open space. When these projects are finished, six families will be spared the pain of repeated flooding, and the stretches of riverside where these homes once stood will be permanent open space.
Over the past three years, FEMA Region X has provided funding to the State of Washington to implement 101 new Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) projects in the Puget Sound Watershed. A total of 25 have been for acquisition/demolition of flood prone properties for conversion to permanent open space use. The total Federal share dollar value of these acquisition projects is $29.6 million, and 87 flood prone structures have been approved for acquisition.
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.