JUL 14 2010
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
1300 Military Road
Lincoln, NE 68508
Dear Mr. Berndt:
Thank you for your letter dated June 7, 2010 on behalf of the City of Wahoo and the North Platte Natural Resource District. In your letter you expressed support for the second appeal by the City of Wahoo and the North Platte Natural Resource District (applicant) as it pertains to the question of eligibility for a proposed project to improve an earthen embankment on Lake Wanahoo through funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
As you are aware, FEMA initially made a determination that the proposed project was not eligible for funding under the HMGP and the terms of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. FEMA Headquarters Mitigation staff has been in close contact with FEMA Region VII to coordinate review of this second appeal.
After reviewing the information associated with this second appeal I regret to inform you that the decision made previously by FEMA Region VII should stand. After further review the issues identified in the denial of the original application as well as the first appeal cannot be dismissed. The reasons previously cited included the following:
1. Duplication of Programs - As stated in the appeal denial correspondence of April 2010, the provisions cited in Title 44 CFR, Sec. 206.434(f) remain valid. Section 404 funds cannot be used as a substitute or replacement to fund projects or programs that are available under other Federal authorities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been receiving annual appropriations to support construction of the Sand Creek Watershed Environmental Restoration Project of which the proposed project is a smaller part. The applicant elected to remove the Lake Wanahoo Dam from the larger USACE sponsored project.
2. Projects in Progress - FEMA-DR-1674-NE guidance requirements are found in the HMGP Desk Reference. The Desk Reference directs that projects already in progress are not eligible for funding under the HMGP. The proposed project has to be taken in its totality and therefore the ogee weir crest can only be considered an enhancement to the earthen embankment and not a stand-alone mitigation project. The weir crest is in fact a requirement of dam safety regulations giving further credence to the idea that this is not a separate mitigation project unto itself.
3. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) - FEMA is required to implement the NEPA process prior to project approval and funding. In this case construction of the embankment began prior to completion ofthe NEPA process. The construction of the earthen embankment cannot be separated from the proposed ogee weir crest which is an enhancement to that embankment.
In conclusion, after review of the second level appeal documentation, FEMA Headquarters concurs with the determination by the Region that the proposed project does not meet Mitigation eligibility standards and should not be awarded.
Moving forward, FEMA mitigation staff will continue to work with NEMA and local communities on issues associated with eligibility and project implementation. If you have further questions on this matter please contact Melissa Janssen, Chief: Hazard Mitigation Assistance Branch, FEMA Region VII, at (816) 283-7012.
Sandra K. Knight, PhD, PE
Deputy Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administrator, Mitigation
cc: Sheila Hascall, State Hazard Mitigation Officer, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
Beth Freeman, Regional Administrator, FEMA Region VII
Robert Bissell, Director, Flood Insurance & Mitigation Division, FEMA Region VII