Summary of Comments
Community Disaster Resilience Zones will build disaster resilience across the nation by driving federal, public and private resources to the most at-risk and in-need jurisdictions.
The Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden on December 20, 2022. The Act amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and requires FEMA to utilize a natural hazard risk assessment index to identify census tracts which are most at risk from the effects of natural hazards and climate change.
Initial Zone Designations
FEMA announced the first 483 Community Disaster Resilience Zones in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. A map and a list of designated census tracts are available on the Community Disaster Resilience Zones platform. Additional information is also available on the methodology and criteria used to select the zones.
This fall, FEMA will announce additional designations that include tribal lands and territories.
Using the National Risk Index datasets, FEMA has identified the most at-risk and in-need communities to create resilience zones. These designated zones will provide geographic focus for financial and technical assistance from public, private and philanthropic agencies and organizations for the planning and implementation of resilience projects.
This support is for the planning and implementation of resilience projects that will help communities reduce the impact of climate change and other natural hazards. The Act will also enable communities to strengthen their community resilience by working with a range of all levels of governmental and private sector partners.
Informational webinars were held for local officials, decision-makers, community influencers, private sector and nonprofit partners to learn more about the vision for the Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act, the designation methodology, and future opportunities for partnership and investment.
Topics from the Community Disaster Resilience Zones webinars include:
- Vision and overview
- Designation methodology
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Next steps
Download Webinar Transcript
Community Disaster Resilience Zones Platform Tools
The Community Disaster Resilience Zones platform provides users the opportunity to view information on the census tracts designations included in the first selections of disaster resilience zones.
Access the CDRZ Platform
An interactive map provides the opportunity to find if you are in a a location and determine whether it is in a Community Disaster Resilience Zone. The map includes a drop-down menu for each state and the census tract designations within each county.
If a user wants to review more layers on how zones were determined, you can review, filter and add additional layers of data.
Information is available on FEMA’s methods for designating these zones. This tool describes the steps used to determine the initial designations for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Users can download the datasets involved in the these initial selections and view by state, county, tract and geocode location.
Review Frequently Asked Questions about the Community Disaster Resilience Zones.
Designation Requirements and Process
FEMA has consulted with other federal agencies, supporters and contributors from the public and private sectors, and the general public to refine the methodology for designating these initial resilience zones.
With the legislation as guidance, individual census tracts with the highest natural hazard risk assessment as determined by the National Risk Index are eligible for designation. The Act requires the following:
- The 50 census tracts assigned the highest individual hazard risk ratings.
- Include at least 1% of the census tracts with the highest individual risk rating.
- Achieve geographic balance and consider coastal, inland, urban, suburban, rural areas and tribal lands with these designations.
On Aug. 2, FEMA conducted a virtual consultation for Tribal Nations on the implementation of the Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act. The deadline for submitting written comments on this tribal consultation lasts until Sept. 5, 2023.Read more about the topics presented and additional background materials on the FEMA Tribal Consultation webpage.
Zone Designation Selection Process
Communities with identified resilience zones are able to receive additional support for resilience projects that will help communities reduce the impact of climate change and other natural hazards. The Act enables a range of all levels of government and private sector partners to provide this targeted assistance to the communities with designated zones.
With designations announcement on Sept. 1, there is no action required of the local jurisdictions that within a Community Disaster Resilience Zone. Over the next few weeks, FEMA, with its partners, will conduct outreach to ensure communities are aware of, and understand, the designation and the increased potential to access support and to leverage existing resilience building efforts underway.
To identify resilience zones, FEMA used components of the National Risk Index to identify the most at-risk and in-need communities. These designations will help build resilience across the nation by driving federal, public and private resources to these designated zones.
The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool was used for these designations as well. This tool is a geospatial platform that identifies areas across the nation that face especially acute climate and other resilience burdens. FEMA’s use of this tool further focused the designations on disadvantaged communities.
Support for the Designated Resilience Zones
The vision for this program is to harness the power of collaboration and cross-sector coordination across governmental agencies, philanthropic foundations, private non-profits, universities, the insurance industry, and private businesses. The goal is to ensure the most at-risk and most in-need communities have the support, resources, and opportunities they need to improve their resilience.
A CDRZ designation offers opportunities for private entities and public private partnerships to reap the benefits of resilience investing, leveraging the up to 13:1 return on investment for mitigation and resilience projects. Collaboration between government, non-profits, and private business facilitates experimentation with service delivery models including innovative financing methodologies.
Summary of Request for Information
On May 26, FEMA published a 60-day Request for Information in the Federal Register. At the close of the comment period, more than 600 individual comments were received through 24 public engagement sessions and submitted comments. FEMA reviewed and considered these comments as it determined a methodology for the initial designations.
FEMA categorized the comments into these six main themes:
- Community Engagement
- Data/National Risk Index
- Designation Methodology
- Post-Designation Support
The act requires FEMA to regularly review and update its risk assessment products and in the future FEMA will be designating additional zones. Based on public comments received to date, FEMA is actively accessing how to incorporate climate change data into five hazards within the National Risk Index. These include data for coastal flooding, drought, heatwave, hurricane wind, and wildfire.
Read the Summary of Comments
Contact the Community Disaster Resilience Zones team for more information on the zones, the designation methodology, and the platform.
Email the CDRZ Team