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President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda Supports Flood Reduction Infrastructure Project in Historic Savannah Community

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Release Date:
avril 23, 2024

$30 Million for Flood Risk Reduction Project Is Largest Mitigation Grant in Georgia History

ATLANTA -- Today, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and White House Intergovernmental Affairs Director Tom Perez joined Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, along with Georgia elected officials to celebrate a $30.15 million grant from FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. Plans are underway for a two-part project to reduce the flood risk of 17 neighborhoods and areas of unincorporated Chatham County, Georgia as a result of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. 

“As disasters become more frequent and costly with the effects of climate change, FEMA remains more committed than ever to working with communities to find ways to increase resilience,” said FEMA Administrator Criswell. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the people of Savannah will be able to protect against future flooding, especially in communities disproportionately impacted by disasters.” 

“The Biden-Harris Administration views all challenges and opportunities through an equity lens — including climate resilience,” said Senior Advisor to the President and Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs Perez. “This grant will help ensure that the mostly Black and Brown communities in Carver Village, Cloverdale, and the west side of Savannah will be better protected from repetitive flooding for generations to come.”

The first project will widen and improve flood water drainage across 1.42 miles of the Springfield Canal, starting near Bowles C. Ford Park and ending by the Highway 17 on-ramp. The Springfield Canal enhancements will be designed in parallel with the city's Tide-to-Town project, which is a working collaboration between the city and multiple organizations to connect 75% of Savannah's neighborhood to walking and biking infrastructure.

The second project provides funds for upgrades to local stormwater drainage infrastructure in the historic Carver Village and Cloverdale neighborhoods, diverting runoff from the neighborhoods to the Springfield Canal and minimizing flooding potential within the community. Once finished, the changes will effectively discharge a 25-year flood, 24-hour flood event.

The Biden-Harris Administration's Justice40 Initiative aims to deliver 40% of overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing projects to disadvantaged communities through various FEMA programs. Project obligations like this in Carver Village —located in a historically Black neighborhood established in 1948 as an affordable housing community—help the administration meet this goal. 

“For decades, we’ve seen success after success working with communities in the aftermath of a disaster to build back stronger and mitigate their future risk,” said Regional Administrator Robert Samaan. “The key to the BRIC program is how we work with communities before there is a crisis, applying the lessons we’ve learned from our 45 years of disaster recovery to solve these kinds of problems.”

Through the BRIC program, FEMA invests in a variety of mitigation activities with an added focus on infrastructure projects benefitting disadvantaged communities, nature-based solutions, climate resilience and adaption and adopting hazard resistant building codes. Unlike most FEMA assistance which goes to rebuilding communities after a disaster, BRIC funding is available to the entire nation on a competitive, pre-disaster basis.

Since the BRIC program began in 2021, the application process is opened annually for communities to submit competitive project proposals. Projects that are chosen from the initial review are then funded through phase one, where studies on design, engineering and environmental impact are run to ensure project feasibility. Once phase one is complete and approved, the project moves to the construction phase and has 36 months to be completed at a federal cost share of 70%. The total estimated cost of the Savannah project is $42,923,800.

Since taking office, President Biden has continued to provide additional funding to FEMA’s annual resilience grant programs, increasing them from $700 million when he took office to $1.8 billion for FY 23. This increased funding allows FEMA to expand its geographic scope in funding selections and protect more of our nation’s communities that are most in harm’s way from the effects of climate change and extreme weather. Overall, the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides FEMA nearly $7 billion to help communities proactively reduce their vulnerability to flood, hurricanes, drought, wildfires, extreme heat and other climate-fueled hazards.

In addition to the improvements to the Springfield Canal and community flood protection, Chatham County has multiple additional BRIC projects in the process of being developed for consideration in the next round of the competitive grant process.

For more information about FEMA’s BRIC program, visit fema.gov.

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