o The State of Kansas in January 2012 submitted an HMGP subapplication for a floodwall project, requesting $389,332. The 375-foot limestone wall was designed to a height of 1.5 feet above base flood, with concrete sills on both ends where sandbags would be placed in the event of a large event flood. Portable pumps would also be used behind the floodwall. Region VII in March 2013 determined the project was ineligible for funding, and the City of Leavenworth submitted an appeal.
• Reason for Denial
o Region VII denied the 1st appeal on the basis that the project was ineligible as an activity because it relies upon emergency protective measures (sandbagging and temporary pumps), and the project without the sandbags, pumps and human intervention would not reduce the risk of future damage and solve the flooding problem independently.
o 44 CFR 206.434 (c) (4) Eligibility; FY 2010 UHMA Guidance; 44 CFR 206.431 Definitions
o The State claimed that many mitigation projects having residual risk are approved, and referred to an example of a similar floodwall project requirijng human intervention for its function that was approved. The claim was reinforced with another example of a project requiring human intervention after early warning of an impending event, that of a saferoom. The City argued that the gradual nature of flooding in the project area provides ample warning time to install the sandbags and pumps. The issue is therefore whether the floodwall project as proposed can be considered a mitigation activity as defined in regulation or whether the concomitant measures needed to make the floodwall fully effective should characterize the overall activity as a preparedness measure.
• FEMA Findings
o FEMA HQ overturned the 1st appeal finding that the activity as proposed can be considered a mitigation activity even though there is some level of human intervention required to make the measure fully effective.
o The rationale for the 2nd level appeal decision was that the nature of flooding in the project area provides sufficient lead time for additional measures to be installed, resulting in relatively low risk of project failure. There is some residual risk associated with this project type as well as all mitigation projects.
o Reference(s): 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals; 44 CFR 206.434(c) Eligibility; FY 2010 UHMA Guidance