PHILADELPHIA— Today, alongside the Department of Homeland Security and the White House, FEMA announced that nearly $2 billion dollars will be available for two resilience grant programs designed to help communities mitigate against climate change and increasingly frequent and severe weather events.
FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) annual grant program has made $1 billion available to fund projects that protect people and infrastructure from natural hazards and the effects of climate change. The Flood Mitigation Assistance program will also provide $800 million to fund projects that mitigate flood risks facing homes and communities across the nation.
The funding for these two programs has been greatly increased thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and this year, the landmark legislation will contribute over $1 billion to these critical climate infrastructure and resilience programs.
“The BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs are some of the most important resilience grant opportunities in the federal government. This funding helps communities nationwide design and implement transformational projects to become more resilient to the intensifying and increasingly frequent impacts of climate change,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the funding provided to FEMA by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we were able to infuse even more money to ensure state, local, tribal and territorial partners can continue to receive meaningful resources to achieve their resilience goals, especially for those communities most in need of support.”
Key changes to the grant programs this year include:
- Using money from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), FEMA is increasing the federal cost share up to 90% for Flood Mitigation Assistance in disadvantaged communities.
- Designated Community Disaster Resilience Zones are eligible for an increase in BRIC federal cost share from 75% up to 90%. FEMA announced the first designations in September.
- Projects that are under $1million can submit a narrative that describes cost effectiveness instead of a complete benefit cost analysis, which is often a hurdle for communities. FEMA will also assist certain communities with developing a benefit costs analysis if one is necessary.
- FEMA is providing an additional $112 million nationally to fund building code activities. This means each state and territory will have a maximum of up to $2 million for these projects. For tribes, we are offering a $25 million building code plus-up. These efforts align with the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes (NIABC) to accelerate the adoption of the latest building codes.
Past Success in FEMA Region 3:
Over the past few years, several communities in FEMA Region 3 have been selected as funding recipients for projects that increase resiliency. In August, fourteen projects in Region 3 were selected in the National BRIC competition and FMA program.
Some examples of previous BRIC projects in Region 3 that have been selected include:
- DC Water Floodwall Project (Washington D.C.): Three floodwall segments will be built at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP) to complete a floodwall system for DC Water. It will provide the Blue Plains AWTP with flood risk mitigation against the 500-year flood event, plus three feet of freeboard to account for wave action and sea level rise. You can learn more about the project here.
- Cohocksink Flood Mitigation Project (Philadelphia, PA): The Cohocksink Project will double capacity of the combined sewer system through the construction of new sewer infrastructure and green stormwater infrastructure systems to reduce flooding in Northern Liberties, Ludlow, and South Kensington neighborhoods.
- Middle Branch Resiliency Initiative (Baltimore, MD): Through a coordinated network of vegetated berms, living shorelines, restored wetlands/aquatic habitats, and public space enhancements, the grant will be used to fund Stage 1 of the Middle Branch Resiliency Initiative along the Patapsco River. In turn, this will help increase the resilience of two community lifelines: the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company’s (BGE) Spring Gardens site and the Medstar Harbor Hospital site. The grant will help protect the heart of Baltimore City against sea level rise-related flood risk and erosion.
“We are excited to see the nearly $2 billion that will be available in this next grant cycle for our Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs,” said FEMA Region 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “I encourage local governments who may not have applied in the past to work with their state partners to apply in this new funding cycle.”
The application period will run from October 16, 2023 through February 29, 2024. Local governments must work with their state, tribal or territorial agency to submit applications. State deadlines will be in advance of February.
BRIC Direct Technical Assistance Program Taking Applications
FEMA is further expanding BRIC Direct Technical Assistance with a goal to add at least 80 more communities to the current 74 local jurisdictions nationwide. Direct Technical Assistance provides 3 years of non-financial support to help communities identify mitigation needs and develop tools to successfully apply for resilience funding through holistic hazard mitigation planning and project support.
Currently there are 7 BRIC DTA Communities in Region 3 including:
- Crisfield, MD
- Federalsburg, MD
- Denton, MD
- Railroad Borough, PA
- City of Philadelphia (Eastwick), PA
- Tremont Borough, PA
- Hampton Roads (Public Transportation), VA
Communities who want to participate may submit their interest from Oct. 16 through Feb. 29, 2024. FEMA will publish a new form online to streamline and simplify the submission process.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region 3’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.