FEDERAL AGENCY ASSISTANCE OVERVIEW
Immediately following the historic September 2013 flooding in Colorado, federal agencies coordinated in a unified approach. Some federal agencies provided assistance under mission assignments from FEMA. In many other cases, agencies also responded and provided funding under their own authorities. Together, these agencies contributed to combined, collaborative effort to respond to public health and safety needs throughout the State. Federal life-saving and life-sustaining personnel worked under the direction, and at the request of, state and local leadership. Here’s a summary of the federal actions funded by FEMA and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to ensure communities and people in the area were protected from further harm and could begin their recovery.
In all, FEMA directed 66 federal response and recovery assignments at a cost of more than $13.4 million to FEMA and almost $2.3 million to the State of Colorado.
In addition, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program has approved nearly $65.5 million on 2,093 claims, which is approximately 98 percent of all submitted claims.
National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA)
NGA provided geospatial analysts to supplement Geographic Information System production with the Urban Search and Rescue White Incident Support Team. Analysts provided analytical expertise, computer equipment, and a suite of GIS software to support disaster operations.
NGA deployed two analysts to Boulder and Loveland, Colo., and launched its suite of analysis and collaboration tools to aid search and rescue efforts and provide flood and damage assessments.
Utilizing a new system, GeoQ, imagery and analysis from multiple sources and geographically dispersed analysts facilitated the use of crowdsourcing to define the extent of damaged areas. It enabled analysts to review imagery from different sources simultaneously, rather than sequentially, which results in much faster damage assessments.
NGA's imagery-derived damage assessments were especially critical because flooding did not take the course of typical river- and stream-bed patterns.
The technology NGA provided enhanced urban search and rescue operations by depicting, graphically, where searches already had occurred and areas search and rescue personnel had already covered.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc. (BVI)
TVA Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc. (BVI) provided experienced Public Assistance project specialists with intensive FEMA eligibility experience. Specialists assisted FEMA by assessing damages, developing scopes of work, writing project worksheets, and providing general assistance to FEMA's disaster recovery Public Assistance program. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
U.S. Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)
USDA activated personnel to assist recovery activities and operations. The agency has also supported the Recovery Support Functions by providing expertise, assisting with damage and impact assessments and long term recovery planning activities.
NRCS has provided an estimated $14.3 million to help over $15.7 million in construction costs. This funding will help cover costs of 40 projects at more than 170 sites.
U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
DoD provided both air and ground search and rescue support operations with heavy lift, medium lift and medical evacuation rotary wing aircraft as well as high water vehicles from the Colorado National Guard and 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson. Numerous DoD subject matter experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Army North; and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base provided technical planning and assessment support.
The Defense Coordinating Element supporting staff with its Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers working in the state emergency operations center; Joint Field Office; Regional Response Coordination Center; incident command posts; congressional joint task force base; and federal staging area at Buckley Air Force Base provided knowledge and liaison support to FEMA Region VIII and other agencies.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
USACE provided support to the state of Colorado, including: technical assistance for debris removal and stream restoration work; infrastructure assessments of water and wastewater treatment plants; technical assistance in the development of engineering scopes of work under FEMA's Public Assistance Program; external affairs support to the FEMA Joint Information Center; and coordination/facilitation with the integration of interagency capabilities focused on regional long-term recovery.
U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol (USAF - CAP)
USAF – CAP provided aircraft for transportation of FEMA, State and other federal agency personnel to assess infrastructure and property damage.
The Colorado Wing of USAF-CAP provided aerial and ground photos that were used to help assess damage. Photography missions flew out of Centennial, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan airports. By September 19, 2013, the teams had captured 10,000 photographs of flooded rivers, roads, towns, farms, residential property and vehicles.
The mission included flights over Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Morgan, Sedgwick, Washington and Weld counties.
Aircrews in red, white and blue CAP planes and ground team members provided images of flooded rivers, roads, highways, bridges, towns, farms, residential property, vehicles and more at minimal cost to taxpayers.
CAP aircrews also flew representatives of FEMA, ABC News and Good Morning America over sections of the South Platte and Big Thompson rivers. The photographs and video included damage south of Greeley, where a bridge on U.S. 34 across the South Platte had been washed away.
U.S. Department of Energy (DoE)
DoE provided 24-hour support to the FEMA Region VIII Regional Response Coordination Center, Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT), and worked with stakeholders to identify power restoration hurdles and mitigation actions. The Department also closely monitored impacts of the event on energy infrastructure.
U.S. Department of the Interior (DoI)
The Department of the Interior provided natural and cultural resources expertise, including knowledge about National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act compliance and cultural and historic property preservation.
DoI Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The BLM provided on-call aviation personnel to support Disaster Operations. BLM support included aircraft and personnel necessary to accomplish evacuations, assessments of critical infrastructure, personnel, cargo transport and aerial photography for missions.
U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) – Federal Highway Administration
FHWA provided $270 million to the Colorado Department of Transportation for help in repairing flood-damaged roads, highways and bridges. That amount includes $5 million provided in “quick release” emergency relief funds on September 13, 2014, as well as $25 million provided just three days later, on September 16.
FHWA's Central Federal Lands Division provided an estimated $482 million to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Of this amount, $326 million is for repair and replacement required to state infrastructure and $156 million is for repair of local infrastructure.
The agency also activated personnel to assist with highway design and environmental information. Specialists also coordinated with the Colorado DOT to help plan road repairs. FHWA has also provided support to the Recovery Support Functions by helping with damage and impact assessments and long-term recovery planning activities, including highway design and environmental information and coordination.
U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has provided $426,683 in grants to support disaster and community economic resiliency efforts in Colorado. Through the EDA, the Department of Commerce led the highly coordinated interagency and whole community effort to help state and local governments and the private sector sustain and rebuild businesses and employment. The grants include:
$126,683 in Local Technical Assistance funds to the Estes Park Local Marketing District, Estes Park, Colorado, to fund a tourism marketing plan to boost tourism in the northern Colorado region. Using print and digital placements, the campaign’s goal is to increase tourism to help the region recover and make up for lost revenues that resulted from the devastating floods in September 2013.
$300,000 in Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to the Town of Estes Park (including surrounding region) to develop a strategy that will guide their economic diversification and resiliency efforts. One key component of this grant is developing specific actions to make use of Estes Park’s existing fiber optic ring to deliver improved broadband services to the town and surrounding region. By working with other affected communities – including nearby Loveland and Lyons – this strategy will help the region diversify while strengthening their existing established industry clusters.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA coordinated and executed necessary actions associated with debris clearance, removal, and disposal from public property to eliminate or lessen immediate threats to public health and safety. EPA removed debris from critical access routes, roads, bridges, waterways, and rights-of-way for emergency vehicles and public access. This support included pick-up, segregation, hauling, and disposal of flood debris at a landfill or reuse for stream stabilization.
EPA provided health-related analysis in heavily impacted areas. EPA conducted a landfill assessment in the Town of Evans. “Phase I” included initial observation and information gathering. This included use of contractor resources and other specialists, including the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, (ATSDR). “Phase I” informed the development of recommendations for action and defined the scope of work for subsequent phases. “Phase II” included more in-depth investigation of the nature and extent of the potential threats associated with the landfill.
EPA personnel performed a wide range of supportive initiatives to the FEMA Region VIII Regional Response Coordination Center, Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT), and other teams.
EPA provided aerial technical analysis of potential impacted areas to help identify immediate threats associated with oil and hazardous materials that may have been discharged or released by the flood. The review was necessary for mitigating actual and potential threats to public health and safety.
EPA also conducted oil and hazardous materials field operations. EPA personnel and contractor specialists provided assistance to counties to estimate the volume of household hazardous waste and other waste containers. Field operations also included pick-up, segregation, hauling, and disposal of the orphaned containers and household hazardous wastes.
U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)
USFA supported command, control and coordination personnel and resources to Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs), area command teams and multi-agency coordination groups. The teams provided command, control and coordination resources, including incident search and rescue, and medical and security needs for assigned resources.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD invested more than $320 million through the department’s Community Development Block Grant program. The funding will support the State of Colorado’s long-term recovery efforts, primarily in Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties. HUD’s CDBG grants are intended to confront housing, business and infrastructure needs.
Additionally, subject matter experts assisted survivors by answering questions and providing direction and disaster-related resources. HUD personnel staffed Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) and other locations.
U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS provided subject matter experts to assist survivors by answering questions and providing direction and disaster-related publications/resources. Personnel staffed and/or provided publications to Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) and other locations as required during open hours, which was sometimes 12 hours per day.
The IRS provided tax relief to survivors in affected counties by postponing certain filing and payment deadlines.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA has provided $109.6 million in low-interest disaster loans to 2,127 renters and homeowners and 374 businesses.
SBA Business Recovery Centers in Estes Park, Greeley, Longmont and Loveland received a total of 933 visits. SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Aurora, Colorado Springs and Golden received a total of 403 visits.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding
So far, it is estimated that $46 million in funding through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will be provided to the State of Colorado and eligible sub-applicants to cover expenses to help reduce damage from future disasters. The total amount of HMGP funding is forthcoming as FEMA continues partnering with the State of Colorado on risk reduction projects.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Through the NFIP, nearly $65.5 million has so far been approved to settle 2,093 claims. This amount is almost 98 percent of all submitted claims.