o The City of Wahoo, Nebraska, and the North Platte Natural Resources District submitted an HMGP application through Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for HMGP funding of the Lake Wanahoo Earth Embankment, a major flood control project. The project was not approved, and a 1st level appeal was denied by Region VII.
• Reason for Denial
o The 1st appeal denial cited three reasons: Duplication of Programs (DOP), because the HMGP funding application was for a part of a larger project that had been awarded funding through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); Project in Progress, being that the larger project to which the earth embankment project was a part was already under construction, thus ineligible for HMGP funding; HMGP NEPA review requirement, because construction began before NEPA review process implementation by FEMA.
o 44 CFR 206.434 - HMGP Eligibility; 44 CFR 206.440 - Appeals; HMGP Desk Reference - Projects in Progress
o NEMA, as the Applicant, supported the 2nd appeal to overturn the Region VII 1st appeal denial, regarding the HMGP ineligibility of the proposed project to improve the earthen embankment on Lake Wanahoo, as a project separate from the Sand Creek Watershed Environmental Restoration Project.
• FEMA Findings
o The 2nd appeal decision upheld the 1st appeal denial, denying HMGP funding for the Lake Wanahoo Earth Embankment.
o The rationale for 2nd appeal denial closely supported the rationale for the 1st appeal denial by Region VII. Regarding DOP, the USACE had received annual appropriations to support construction of the Sand Creek Watershed Environmental Restoration Project of which the proposed project was a smaller part. The applicant later removed the Lake Wanahoo Dam from the larger USACE sponsored project. Region VII determined that HMGP funding of the Lake Wanahoo Dam (or Earth Embankment) would be a DOP, because funding had been available through the USACE, and there were no extraordinary threats to lives, public health and safety, or improved property that would allow for HMGP eligibility.
o The proposed earth embankment was part of a larger ongoing project, the Sand creek Watershed Environmental Restoration Project, and therefore was a Project in Progress. The HMGP Desk reference provides that projects already in progress are not eligible for funding under the HMGP.
o Construction of the embankment began prior to completion of the NEPA review process, required to be implemented by FEMA prior to project approval and funding. The NEPA review completed by USACE was determined to not be allowable as a substitute for FEMA’s review, and the initiation of construction of the overall Sand Creek project, before FEMA completed NEPA review, rendered the proposed Wanahoo Earth Embankment project ineligible for HMGP consideration.
o Reference(s): 44 CFR 206.434 - HMGP Eligibility; 44 CFR 206.440 - Appeals; HMGP Desk Reference - Projects in Progress