DR-4518–AR Public Notice 001
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice to the public of its intent to provide financial assistance to the State of Arkansas, local governments, tribal governments, and private nonprofit organizations under the major disaster declaration FEMA- 4518-DR-AR, as a result of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”). This notice applies to the Public Assistance (PA) program implemented under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207. FEMA is also giving notice that, in some cases, it may provide financial assistance for activities that may adversely affect historic properties, may be located in or affect wetland areas or the 100-year floodplain, and/or may involve critical actions within the 500-year floodplain.
I. Public Notice – National Emergency Declaration and Overview of Authorized Assistance
The President declared a major disaster for the State of Arkansas on April 3, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to his authority under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Pub. L. No. 93-288 (1974) (codified as amended at 42U.S.C. § 5121 et seq.) (Stafford Act).
This declaration, 4518-DR-AR, has authorized reimbursement through the PA Program for emergency protective measures (Category B) for all areas in the State of Arkansas. These actions are not anticipated to have an impact on a floodplain/wetland. This will be the only public notice concerning these actions. FEMA may provide financial assistance under the PA Program for the State of Arkansas, local governments, tribal governments, and private nonprofit organizations to perform emergency protective measures in response to COVID-19. This will be the only public notice concerning these actions. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and Individual Assistance (IA) program are under review and have not yet been approved for this declaration.
II. Public Notice – Assistance for Activities Located in or that Affect Wetlands Areas or Floodplains or that Affect Historic Properties
Some of the activities for which FEMA provides financial assistance under the IA, PA, and HMGP may affect historic properties, may be located in or affect wetland areas or the 100- year floodplain, and/or may involve critical actions within the 500-year floodplain. In those cases, FEMA must comply with Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management; Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands; the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, 54 U.S.C. § 300101 et seq (NHPA); and the implementing regulations at 44 C.F.R. pt. 9 and 36C.F.R. pt. 800. The executive orders, NHPA, and/or regulations require FEMA to provide public notice for certain activities as part of approving the award of financial assistance for specific projects.
A. Federal Actions in or Affecting Floodplains and Wetlands
Executive Orders 11988 and 11990 require that all federal actions (including federal awards of financial assistance) in or affecting the floodplain or wetlands be reviewed for alternatives to avoid adverse effects and promote development in those areas. The regulations at 44 C.F.R. pt. 9 set forth the FEMA policy, procedure, and responsibilities for implementing the Executive Orders. Certain actions are excluded from the regulatory provisions under 44 C.F.R. pt. 9, such as certain emergency protective measures necessary to save lives and protect property and public health.
For those actions not excluded from 44 C.F.R. pt. 9, FEMA will identify and evaluate practicable alternatives to carrying out a proposed action that impacts or is impacted by wetlands or floodplain and use social, economic, historic, environmental, legal, and safety factors when analyzing the practicability of the alternatives. Where there is no practicable alternative, FEMA will undertake a detailed review to determine what measures can be taken to minimize and avoid potential harm to lives and risk from flooding, the potential adverse impacts the action may have on others, and the potential adverse impact the action may have on floodplain and wetland values. Due to the nature of the work, FEMA often finds that there are normally no practicable alternatives outside the floodplain or wetlands for emergency protective measures for which FEMA is providing financial assistance under the Public Assistance Program.
B. Federal Actions Affecting Historic Properties
Section 106 of the NHPA requires FEMA to consider the effects of its activities (known as undertakings) on any historic property and to afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) an opportunity to comment on such projects before the expenditure of any federal funds. An IA, PA, or HMGP activity is an “undertaking” for the purposes of the NHPA, and a historic property is any property that is included in, or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places. For historic properties that will not be adversely affected by FEMA’s undertaking, this will be the only public notice.
III. Further Information or Comment
This will be the only public notice regarding the actions described above for which FEMA may provide assistance under the PA, IA, and HMGP programs. Interested persons may obtain information about these actions or a specific project by writing to Kevin Jaynes, Regional Environmental Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region 6, 800 North Loop 288, Denton, TX 76209 or by emailing FEMA-R6-EHP@fema.dhs.gov. All comments concerning this public notice should be sent in writing within 15 days of its publication.