According to the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (Applicant), severe storms and flooding from March to April 2016 eroded approximately one mile of sand on Fourchon Beach exposing erosion control structures to damage. These structures include a geotube system partially funded by FEMA in prior disasters as an improved project and completed in 2013. The Applicant requested $4,980,500 in Project Worksheet (PW) 710 to replace 149,350 cubic yards (CY) of displaced sand. FEMA prepared PW 710 as a Category G project for an improved beach, but found the project ineligible because the Applicant did not demonstrate that the damage claimed was a direct result of the declared disaster or that it had an established maintenance program in place to periodically renourish the beach with imported sand. On appeal, the Applicant presented photos and engineering drawings of the beach to demonstrate the pre-disaster condition and a 2016 monitoring report describing a one-time, partial renourishment of sand in 2015. However, the Applicant could not demonstrate a longer-term maintenance program for the improved beach because the area was continuously hit by disasters in the preceding decade, disrupting maintenance efforts, and the beach was inaccessible for long periods after the geotube was completed. The Region VI Regional Administrator (RA) denied the appeal on February 13, 2019, highlighting the Applicant’s concession that it did not have an established maintenance program for the beach and noting that the Applicant had not provided pre-and post-disaster documentation to substantiate the amount of sand lost as a direct-result of the disaster. On second appeal, the Applicant and Grantee now state that FEMA incorrectly classified the project as an improved beach, when it was in fact a water control facility subject to different maintenance requirements. FEMA is denying the appeal. The Applicant has not demonstrated a maintenance program for Fourchon Beach and has not showed that the erosion of 149,350 CY was a direct result of the disaster.
Authorities and Second Appeals
- 44 C.F.R. §§ 206.201(c), 206.206, 206.223(a)(1), 206.226(j)(2).
- PAPPG, at 19, 111, 120-21, 127-31.
- Town of Sandwich, FEMA-4097-DR-MA; Cty. of Los Angeles, FEMA-1577-DR-CA.
- To be eligible for sand replacement on beaches, the Applicant must establish and adhere to a maintenance program to periodically renourish sand to preserve the beach’s original design. Emergency, “one-time,” or partial renourishment does not meet this requirement.
- The Applicant cites to a one-time, partial renourishment of sand, but is otherwise unable to demonstrate an established and adhered to maintenance program of periodic renourishment.
- Sand replacement required as a result of pre-disaster erosion is not eligible for PA funding. FEMA uses pre- and post-storm profiles, design documents, and renourishment history to estimate the amount of sand lost as a result of the incident. FEMA may be unable to determine this amount if there are large gaps between renourishment projects or a lack of detailed monitoring records.
- The Applicant did not present detailed monitoring records, renourishment history, or pre- and post-disaster profiles to allow FEMA to estimate the amount of sand lost due to the disaster.
Because the Applicant is requesting PA for sand replacement on Fourchon Beach, it must demonstrate an established maintenance program for that beach and provide documentation to estimate the amount of sand lost as a direct result of the disaster. The Applicant has not met these requirements, and therefore the second appeal is denied.