The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program supports states, local communities, tribes and territories as they undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards. The BRIC program focuses on larger infrastructure projects that enhance human health and ecological benefits for a multitude of residents.
For the Fiscal Year 2020 application cycle, through the National Competition, FEMA selected 22 large competitive projects based on the highest composite score until the funding amount available had been reached. The benefits of these projects oftentimes extend to disadvantaged or underserved populations of larger communities, where access to health and human services, transportation and communications is a priority. These projects also focus on protecting large and small community infrastructure, which helps ensure the continuity of vital services.
The 22 selected projects fell into seven categories of primary activity type. Summaries for each of the selected projects are provided by category below.
DUCK, NORTH CAROLINA: Living Shoreline and North Carolina 12 Resiliency Project – $1.85 Million
Benefits: Protects human population
This project proposes elevating North Carolina Highway 12 (NC 12), a low-lying highway where floods frequently impact residents, tourists, and emergency services. The project will incorporate a living revetment (including wetland restoration) to prevent erosion; protect the roadway and adjacent properties; help attenuate wave energy; and prevent debris accumulation.
Flood Control Projects
SOUTHEAST WASHINGTON, D.C.: Stormwater Flood Mitigation - $18.61 Million
Benefits: Reduces flooding, heat, and heat island effect
Flooding in Southeast Washington, D.C. regularly results in localized structural damages and impacts to critical facilities--such as a police station serving over 100,000 people. This project will incorporate subsurface (blue) and landscape (green) mitigation strategies to create a greenway corridor between two parks that collects, treats, and moves water away from the low-lying areas, thereby enhancing the parks’ public amenities and diverting sewer overflow. The resulting co-benefits will include a local reduction of heat and a heat island effect; the enhancement of the park’s public amenities; opportunities to raise public awareness of stormwater mitigation; and the diversion of sewer overflow that impacts the Chesapeake Bay.
MARTINEZ, CALIFORNIA: Walnut Creek/Grayson Creek Levee Project - $2.46 Million
Benefits: Add flood protection and trail system, and improve local ecology
The 1946 Central San’s Wastewater Treatment Plant serves almost half a million people. Extreme precipitation causes plant shutdowns, allowing hazardous material to spill into adjacent creeks that drain to the San Francisco Bay. This project will involve raising existing levees three feet to mitigate future flooding. The raised levees will also become part of a trail extension connecting an existing 32-mile-long trail with the new Lower Walnut Creek/Pacheco Marsh recreational coastal areas.
CITY OF ROHNERT PARK, CALIFORNIA: Copeland Creek Detention Basin - $6 Million
Benefits: Reduces stormwater flow and improves habitat
Flooding events have previously impacted more than 100 county transportation lifelines and an estimated 2,100 business and residential properties. A multipurpose off-channel detention basin along Copeland Creek is proposed to detain peak stormwater flows and mitigate 10-year flood events. Additional benefits will include groundwater recharge, fish passage and salmonid habitat creation, and energy conservation due to the reduced need for pumping and importing water.
FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY: Mero Flood Pump Station Renewal and Mero Sanitary Pump Station Relocation - $10.54 MILLION
Benefits: Prevents flooding/stormwater overflow
The 1970 Mero Flood Pump Station and the 1951 Mero Sanitary Pump Station are critical infrastructure serving Frankfort. This project will rehabilitate the flood pump station with new pumps and electrical systems that are intended to function for the next 50 years. It will also relocate the sanitary pump station to the protected side of the flood control levee. These actions will help to make Frankfort more resilient to intense storm events and will prevent water pollution and debris buildup.
LUMBERTON, NORTH CAROLINA: Lumberton Loop Nature-Based Project - $1.93 Million
Benefits: Environmental, reduces flooding, and provides more equitable access to recreational areas
Hurricanes Matthew and Florence had a major impact on the social, environmental, and economic vitality of the hardest hit neighborhoods of Lumberton, N.C. The 8.5-mile/800-acre Lumberton Loop project proposes connecting over 100 parcels to catalyze and connect a chain of nature-based infrastructure across the city. The project will restore stream channels, construct wetlands and reforest floodplains to reduce future flood losses, and enhance the equity of access to recreational park space for all surrounding communities. The project will also mitigates cascading risks to critical lifelines.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Menlo Park Safer Bay Project – $50 Million
Benefits: Prevents flooding to substation and improve the environment and habitat
This is a large-scale infrastructure project that proposes a continuous earthen levee with a living shoreline side, and floodwalls with gates to protect 3.7 miles of infrastructure and an electrical substation. The project will reduce risk to almost 300,000 customers impacted by a loss of function of the substation due to flooding. It will create about 30 acres of tidal marsh transition zone and a resilient, high-quality habitat. Additionally, it will provide nearly five acres of western snowy plover breeding habitat. The snowy plover is listed as an endangered species.
CITY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Tottenville Shoreline Protection Project – $19.82 Million
Benefits: Enhances the shore’s ecology while providing social resilience
The neighborhood of Tottenville—the southernmost point in both New York City and the state—plays an important role in absorbing the impacts of coastal storms and mitigating risks from surges and wave action. Projected sea level rise of 30 inches by 2080, coupled with the increasing frequency and intensity of storms due to climate change, threaten to overwhelm the shoreline’s capacity to protect lives and property. This project employs nature-based solutions such as an earthen berm, hybrid dune, eco-revetments, green infrastructure, and a restored wetland to mitigate existing and anticipated increases in coastal storm risk.
NEW CASTLE, NEW YORK: Upper Minkel Dam Decommissioning & Riparian Corridor Restoration Project - $1.05 Million
Benefits: Reduces potential flood hazard for downstream communities and natural ecosystem restoration
The Upper Minkel Dam is a high hazard Class C dam with a high cost of maintenance to prevent any imminent dam breach. Removing the dam and restoring the stream and its riparian area will have a positive environmental benefit because it will help mitigate flood damage associated with the dam and remove a barrier to fish species designated as Species of Greatest Conservation Need that migrate through this area—the American eel and herring.
NEW JERSEY MEADOWLANDS: East Riser Ditch Pumping Station and Channel Improvements Project – $36 Million
Benefits: Increases capacity to remove floodwater faster to protect life, public health and property
This project will include a new pumping station, channel widening and deepening, streambank habitat enhancement, and local drainage improvements. It will also include constructing a pumping station with an elevated electrical building for critical equipment at the mouth of the East Riser Ditch, and making channel improvements that will reduce flooding caused by heavy rain events. This will directly protect life, public health, and property in the five-town region located in the Meadowlands District—including, in particular, the borough of Moonachie.
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: Middle Branch Resiliency Initiative, Stage 1 – $31.92 Million
Benefits: Protects the heart of Baltimore City against sea level rise-related flood risk and erosion
Sea level rise increases Baltimore’s vulnerability to storm-related and nuisance tidal flooding. Through a coordinated network of vegetated berms, living shorelines, restored wetlands/aquatic habitats, and public space enhancements, the Middle Branch Resiliency Initiative (MBRI) Stage 1 will focus on increasing the resilience of two community lifelines located along the shoreline of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River: the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company’s (BGE) Spring Gardens site and MedStar Harbor Hospital site. Stage 1 of the MBRI will also benefit 410,000 nearby residents; customers of the BGE Spring Gardens facility and MedStar Harbor Hospital; and employees who work at both sites—representing 21% of the total population of Baltimore City and Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.
HOQUIAM, WASHINGTON: North Shore Levee West Project – $34.65 Million
Benefits: Prevents repetitive annual flooding and allows for the revitalization of West Hoquiam
The flooding in West Hoquiam has worsened over the years. Currently, it floods at least once a year and during every king tide event (or the highest predicted high tide of the year). This project will construct a flood protection system around West Hoquiam. The area the project is slated to protect will include downtown Hoquiam, over 60% of its residents, and critical services and businesses such as all five schools within the city, and essential buildings such as the city hall, fire station, library, licensing office, Social Security office, and a tribal health clinic.
HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY: Hudson River Floodwall Infrastructure and Resilience Park Project – $22.52 Million
Benefits: Reduces storm surge flooding for highly populated, dense urban-coastal communities
There are two low-lying elevation areas in parts of Jersey City, Weehawken and the City of Hoboken that act as an inlet for flood waters. During Hurricane Sandy, according to a Stevens Institute Study, over 400 million gallons of coastal storm surge entered at the two breach points. This project will construct a “Resist Structure” floodwall to secure these two points and reduce flood risk from tropical storms, hurricanes and nor’easter events. The Resist Structure is designed to reduce risks from the 1% annual-chance flood for both existing conditions and projected sea level rise that could occur through the year 2075.
HICKORY, NORTH CAROLINA: Wastewater Treatment Facility Hardening and Stream Restoration Project – $5.41 Million
Benefits: Protects wastewater treatment facility
The City of Hickory’s Northeast Wastewater Treatment Facility and influent pump station serve around 26,000 customers. Flooding of the pump station could result in contaminates and hazard materials entering the water supply. This project will construct a berm around the pump station and installs natural and environmentally sensitive stream restoration and bank stabilization measures along approximately 2,000 feet of Falling Creek. This nature-based approach will achieve greater stability within the stream’s banks and reduces the severity of erosion and encroachment from flood events.
KITTITAS COUNTY, WASHINGTON: Waste Transfer Station Flood Mitigation Project – $12.65 Million
Benefits: Protects local water supply from contamination
Annual flooding during significant rain and spring runoff events threatens public safety in Kittitas County because of the risk of the municipal solid waste, organic yard waste, recyclables, and moderate hazardous wastes handled by the waste transfer station spilling into the floodwater. This project will relocate the station out of the regulatory floodplain to avoid negative environmental resource impacts.
HICKORY, NORTH CAROLINA: Snow Creek Pump Station Relocation and Flood Hardening Project – $3.54 Million
Benefits: Protects water quality
The Snow Creek Pump Station is currently located in the 100-year floodplain, with a finished floor elevation 1.5 feet below the base flood elevation. This project will include demolition and reconstruction of the pump station outside the 100-year floodplain at a higher elevation to mitigate flood damage, and the installation of a generator to mitigate loss of function during power failures. The project will also include bank stabilization of Snow Creek, excavating and re-grading the stream bank to provide additional capacity for flood water, and planting native plants to reduce erosion and restore the ecosystem.
Safe Room/Shelter Project
WESTPORT, WASHINGTON: Vertical Evacuation Structure – $13.74 Million
Benefits: Provides evacuation shelter for population to escape tsunamis
Located on a low-lying peninsula and along a fault in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the City of Westport, Wash. is an economically disadvantaged community with a population of about 1,500 people. The lack of high ground poses a great tsunami risk following earthquakes. This project will develop a tsunami vertical evacuation structure to mitigate the extreme life safety risk to residents and visitors who would have just 23 minutes to reach natural high ground between a major earthquake and the first tsunami wave. The Westport Vertical Evacuation Structure will also include a standby power battery backup system for 48 hours of emergency power, and is designed for year-round community use.
Utility and Infrastructure Protection Projects
PRINCEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA: Town of Princeville Relocation Project – $10.97 Million
Benefits: Alleviates repetitive flood loss to critical lifeline utilities and emergency support services
Incorporated in 1885, the historic Town of Princeville, N.C., is the oldest community chartered by African Americans in the U.S.. Located in the 100-year floodplain of the Tar River, Princeville, like many economically disadvantaged communities in the U.S., was built in a high-risk area for flooding. This project will mitigate repetitive loss of infrastructure by relocating critical lifeline utilities, emergency support services, and 54 units of affordable housing outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area. This project will also create over five acres of green open space in perpetuity - making this a nature-based solution that utilizes vegetation and permeable soils to assist detention basins to better hold stormwater runoff.
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA: Resilient Water Supply Project – $32.64 Million
Benefits: Ensures water treatment plant supply during flooding events
The Columbia Canal Water Treatment Plant (WTP) serves as the primary water supply to approximately 233,000 residents. During historic flooding caused by Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015, the canal overtopped and caused a breach in the embankment that prevented the canal from retaining water and jeopardized the water supply to the water treatment plant. This project will construct a new raw water intake facility outside the limits of the canal to eliminate potential canal breaches that would cut off raw water supply to the plant.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Saint Elizabeth's Hospital Campus & D.C. Emergency Communications Microgrid Project - $19.95 Million
Benefits: Safeguards access to health care and emergency services during severe storms and disasters
This project will construct a microgrid at the Saint Elizabeth's Hospital Campus to provide resilient power to the Unified Communications Center—which provides vital communication, including 911 service, to the area—as well as the existing Saint Elizabeths behavioral health hospital and other essential loads on the campus. The microgrid will provide a redundant and resilient power source and reliable access to health care and emergency services for D.C. residents, including disadvantaged populations.
MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MASSACHUSETTS: Central Street Bridge Improvements and Sawmill Brook Restoration, Culvert Retrofit & Restoration Project – $4.48 Million
Benefits: Mitigates for a projected increase in flood conditions and restores natural wetland habitat
The Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea’s current culvert system around the Central Street Bridge is obsolete, and a culvert failure would negatively impact transportation and community safety. This project will utilize projected future discharge conditions and rebuilds the culvert system to protect up to the 100-year storm event for the year 2100. The new culvert system will also result in improvements to infrastructure, stormwater management, community resiliency and improved habitat conditions—including for rainbow smelt, a federal species of concern.
Wildfire Management Projects
SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Nature-Based Mitigation for Megafires – $36.98 Million
Benefits: Mitigates wildfire risks to life, property, and the environment
This project will establish an innovative "systems" methodology to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire losses in the Wildland Urban Interface. The system’s premise establishes zones containing an inner and outer core. The inner core is hardened by encouraging property owners to create and maintain defensible space and to mitigate their homes to reduce the potential for ignition from embers, direct flame or radiant heat. The outer core absorbs the impacts from wildfires before they get to this hardened inner core. This is accomplished by reducing vegetation in large-parcel infill sites and or wildland areas that abut communities. Infill sites are created to provide buffers to decrease fire spread and intensity, provide anchor points, and increase environmental benefits including forest health and water quality.