o In October 2006 the City of Huntsville applied through the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) for HMGP funding for a flood control project involving channelization of creeks, a retention pond, and acquisition/demolition of properties, as a two-phased project. Phase I was final planning and design, and phase II was final plans/specifications and construction. On July 1, 2010 FEMA Region IV denied Phase II (Construction) funding with a proposed federal share of$7,608,849. On September 27, 2010, AEMA appealed the decision to deny Phase II. Region IV convened an Appeals Board to review the appeal and denied it for the same reasons as in the original denial. AEMA subsequently submitted a 2nd Appeal.
• Reason for Denial
o Region for denied Phase II on the on the grounds that the methodology used to generate the Benefit-Cost Ratio of 1.10 did not meet FEMA requirements, that the submitted design and budget were not complete, and that necessary coordination with major interested parties in the project area had not taken place.
o 44CFR § 206.434 Eligibility, EO 11988 and EO 11990, 44 C.F.R. part 10, Environmental Considerations, 2006 BCA Guidance
o AEMA’s 1st Appeal letter stated two primary points: 1) City of Huntsville performed a Full Data Module using the Corps of Engineers Flood Damage Assessment (FDA) model and copied results into the Limited Data Model to calculate FEMA benefits/allowed by FEMA guidance. This process was coordinated and agreed upon by the agencies; 2) FEMA indicates damages predicted by the FDA model should be validated against actual damages. The State disagrees: a) the flood risk conditions have changed; therefore, historical damages are not representative of current level of risk. b) FDA uses current state-of-the-art hydrology and hydraulics data that FEMA uses to evaluate and regulate floodplains, and, thus, accurately represents the current level of flood risk and flood damages. These points were reinforced in the applicant’s 2nd Appeal dated April 19, 2011, when Regions IV’s concerns were addressed with supporting information.
• FEMA Findings
o The 2nd appeal decision, in a letter dated September 27, 2011, was to overturn the 1st appeal decision, but not allow HMGP funding until concerns were addressed pertaining to budget and design, level of coordination with ALDOT and the railway, and environmental/historic resource impacts; and extend the period of performance for Phase I of the project to allow for those needed improvements.
o Rationale: FEMA HQ determined that the methodology used to determine the BCR as acceptable, but shared Region IV’s concerns over failures to complete other critical project studies required as Phase I deliverables associated with interagency coordination, budget, design, and environmental and historic preservation.
o Reference(s): 44CFR § 206.434 Eligibility, EO 11988 and EO 11990, 44 C.F.R. part 10, Environmental Considerations, 2006 BCA Guidance