PUBLIC NOTICE: Major Disaster Declaration, FEMA-4495-DR-GUAM

Notice Date

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice to the public of its intent to provide financial assistance to the Territory of Guam, local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations under major disaster declaration FEMA-4495-DR-GU. 

This notice applies to the Public Assistance Program implemented under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (Stafford Act). This public notice concerns activities that may affect historic properties, activities that may be located in or affect wetland areas or the 100-year floodplain, and/or may involve critical actions within the 500-year floodplain. Such activities may adversely affect the historic property, floodplain or wetland, or may result in continuing vulnerability to flood damage.  

 

I. Public Notice – Major Disaster Declaration FEMA-4495-DR-GU and Overview of Authorized Assistance

The President declared a major disaster for the Territory of Guam on March 27, 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to his authority under the Stafford Act. 

This declaration, numbered FEMA-4495-DR-GU, has authorized reimbursement through the Public Assistance Program for emergency protective measures (Category B) for all areas in the Territory of Guam. The Hazard Mitigation Grant and Individual Assistance Programs are under review and have not yet been approved for this declaration.   

The Public Assistance Program is authorized by Sections 403, 406, and 407 of the Stafford Act.  FEMA may provide financial assistance under the Public Assistance Program for the Territory of Guam, local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations to perform emergency protective measures in response to COVID-19.  These actions may include the establishment of mobile testing sites, temporary medical facilities, temporary staging locations, and temporary housing for at-risk populations. This will be the only public notice concerning these actions.

 

II. Public Notice – Financial Assistance for Activities that Affect Historic Properties or Located in or that Affect Wetlands Areas or Floodplains

Some of the activities for which FEMA provides financial assistance under the Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs 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, Pub. L. No. 89-655 (1966) (codified as amended at 54 U.S.C. § 300101 et seq.) (NHPA); and the implementing regulations at 44 C.F.R. pt. 9 and 36 C.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 floodplains or wetlands be reviewed for alternatives to avoid adverse effects and incompatible developments 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.  As detailed in those regulations, FEMA will identify and evaluate practicable alternatives to carrying out a proposed action in the wetlands or floodplain, and use social, economic, historical, 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 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. 

FEMA has determined that there are normally no practicable alternatives outside the floodplain or wetlands for carrying out 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 Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, or Hazard Mitigation Grant Program 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.  FEMA may provide additional public notices if a proposed FEMA undertaking would adversely affect an historic property. 

 

III. Further Information or Comment

This will be the only public notice regarding the actions described above for which FEMA may provide financial assistance under the Public Assistance Program.  Interested persons may obtain information about these actions or a specific project by writing to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IX Office, Environmental and Historic Preservation Advisor Emily Benz, 1111 Broadway, Suite 1200, Oakland CA 94607.  All comments concerning this public notice must be submitted in writing to the Joint Field Office within 15 days of its publication.

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