Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plantings Associated with Facilities

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This policy is archived and has been superseded by the policy currently in effect.

  1. Date Signed: November 25, 1997

  2. Response and Recovery Policy Number: 4511.300

  3. Subject: Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plantings Associated with Facilities

  4. Purpose: To define ineligible work related to trees, shrubs, and other plantings, except grass and sod, which may be associated with facilities eligible for repair and restoration.

  5. Scope and Audience: The policy defines ineligible work relative to trees, shrubs, and other plantings, except grass and sod, which may be associated with facilities eligible for repair and restoration. It is provided for FEMA staff involved in administering the public assistance program, State staff and potential subgrantees - which are local Governments, State agencies, Indian tribes, Alaska Native Villages or eligible private non-profit groups.

  6. Background: This policy is intended-to reduce-the costs of Federal disaster assistance in a way that will not impact essential public services.

    The treatment of trees and shrubs under the public assistance program was discussed by the FEMA Inspector General in Inspection Report I-01. Unintended Consequence: The High Cost of Disaster Assistance for Park and Recreational Facilities (May 1996). The Inspector General recommended that tree and shrub replacement be excluded for "recreational facilities other than parks," and earlier in the report he noted that there is "no documented rationale" for extending eligibility to trees and shrubs in any areas other than parks. In fact, replacing trees, shrubs, and other plantings after disasters is not unusual for non-recreational areas, such as median strips in roadways and as landscaping for public buildings. We have found that the law and implementing regulations do not distinguish between a park and any other public building, structure or system; therefore, any revision to FEMA policy with respect to trees, shrubs, and other plantings must not only consider trees, s! hrubs, and other plantings in par ks and other recreational facilities, but also landscaping connected with administrative buildings, utility sites, and other sites where trees, shrubs, and other plantings are an integral and maintained portion of the entire facility.

    In response to the comments received on the draft policy, FEMA does not contest the importance of trees, shrubs, and other plantings, especially as a mitigation measure, but rather the validity for replacement under the Public Assistance Program. While FEMA acknowledges the economic and environmental benefits as well, it has been determined that not providing assistance to replace disaster-damaged trees, shrubs, and other plantings, will not impact essential public services.

  7. Policy: Trees, shrubs, and other plantings, except grass and sod, will no longer be eligible under Section 406 of Public Law 93-288, as amended (Repair, Restoration, and Replacement of Damaged Facilities), for all disaster declarations beginning with FEMA-1152-DR-WA. This policy applies equally to recreational and non-recreational areas and facilities. It applies to any measure taken with respect to trees, shrubs, an other plantings, except grass and sod - including but not limited to replacement, non-emergency removal for purposes of replacement, and remedial actions taken to abate disaster damage. Grass and sod will be eligible only when it is necessary to stabilize slopes and to minimize sediment runoff. Grass and sod will not be eligible for cosmetic purposes. This policy does not affect eligible debris removal and emergency measures that may be taken under Sections 403 and 407 of Public Law 93-288, as amended.

  8. Key Words: Trees, Shrubs, Other plantings, Facilities Damaged facilities

  9. Supersession: This policy supercedes guidance on pages 68-69 of the Public Assistance Guide (FEMA 286, September 1996) and the November 22, 1995, policy letter in Section 4511.300 in the Public Assistance Policy Compendium.

  10. Authorities: Section 406 of Public Law 93-288, as amended; 44 CFR Part 206, Subparts G and H.

  11. Originating Office: Infrastructure Support Division, Response and Recovery Directorate

  12. Review Date: September 1999

  13. Signature:

            signed        
    Lacy E. Suiter
    Executive Associate Director
    Response and Recovery Directorate

  14. Distribution: Regional Directors, Regional Response and Recovery Division Directors

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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