o The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) appealed the decision of FEMA Region IX to terminate the Woodlawn Bridge Project, a channel enhancement. The project was designed to improve floodwater conveyance along Manoa Stream at Woodlawn Bridge. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) assessing the affected watershed, which was being conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), needed to be considered in order to adequately assess project environmental impacts. The scheduled completion date of the EIS exceeded beyond the project’s period of performance, and FEMA Region IX consequently terminated the grant. Other factors influencing the Region were the project design limitation to mitigate the 25-year event, and the FEMA Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO) action directing the Regions to review un-liquidated obligations to recoup excess funds.
• Reason for Denial
o Region IX based the denial of the 1st appeal on the extended and uncertain EIS timeline, uncertainty regarding long term project viability and direction from the FEMA CFO.
o 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility; 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals
o The Grantee filed a second appeal, stating that further delay of the project is inconsistent with the studies validated by DLNR and USACE and informing the drafting of the EIS; the project is an engineered solution consistent with the watershed studies and with HMA Guidance; and the subgrantee is ready to begin Phase II of the project, and any delay in starting project construction on the basis of EIS completion fails to rationally account for the completed studies.
• FEMA Findings
o FEMA HQ granted the 2nd appeal, overturning Region IX’s denial of the 1st appeal.
o Rationale: There was no justifiable reason to terminate the project because of the additional time required to complete a FEMA-imposed requirement, over which DLNR had no control; There was no information in the appeal file to indicate that the Woodland Bridge Flood Mitigation project was inconsistent with the USACE Manoa Watershed Project; and, The intent of the directive was to recoup excess funds, not to deny funding for eligible projects.
o Reference(s): 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals; 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility