Historic grant sends millions to Lake Meade Dam project
Published 4:45 pm Monday, August 28, 2023
PHILADELPHIA— The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced in a news release the recipients of the FY22 pre-disaster hazard mitigation assistance grants from its Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) programs will include $24.21 million for Lake Meade Dam Adaptations.
“This project aims to enhance protection and stabilization of the Lake Meade Dam, which the City of Portsmouth owns and operates, to address future extreme precipitation,” the release said. “The project will strengthen the dam, upgrade spillways and improve flood protection. It will also retrofit the reservoir to prevent overtopping up to the 90% probable maximum precipitation event. This will greatly improve the level of protection for residents and businesses within the dam break inundation zone.”
This year, nearly $3 billion was available for BRIC and FMA grants nationally, a historic amount for these programs. This was also a historic year for Region 3, with more than double the amount of funding available for the region this year over last year.
Email newsletter signup
“From Hawaii to Maine, communities across the country are experiencing more frequent and intense severe weather events, resulting in devastating impacts to their homes, businesses, and families. Though FEMA will always help communities respond and recover to these disasters, it is also paramount to build resilience before disasters strike,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we can further our mission to help our state, local, territorial, and tribal partners build a more resilient nation.”
According to the release, the BRIC grant program funds critical mitigation projects and activities that reduce natural hazard risks for states, local communities, tribes, and territories. BRIC emphasizes the use of nature based solutions — sustainable planning, design, environmental management, and engineering practices that weave natural features or processes into the built environment to promote adaption and resilience.
The following nine projects in Region 3 were also selected as part of the national competition for the FY22 BRIC program:
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Water Department Updates Queen Lane Water Pump Generator
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $6.08 million
This project includes installing two 2,500-kilowatt generators, one 13.2-kilovolt (KV) incoming service switchgear, and one 13.2-kV paralleling switchgear at the 500-year floodplain elevation level. These generators will provide resilient power and protect the pump station against multiple hazards so that it can continue serving communities.
Pennsylvania: Bridgeville Borough Flood Control Infrastructure Project
Bridgeville Borough, Pennsylvania: $5.33 million
This will fund Phase 1A of this project, which involves constructing a levee to eliminate flooding of properties along McLaughlin Run. The project is also designed to solve area flooding and protect property from future losses, enabling growth, business expansion and possible development in this area. Once the borough completes all four project phases, mitigation efforts will benefit 172 structures.
Pennsylvania: Bethlehem Infrastructure Project – Easton Avenue Flood Mitigation
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: $3.05 million
Phase 1 of this project will increase stormwater detention storage and install bioretention or rain garden improvements to lower the strain on the stormwater system. By retrofitting outdated detention facilities, improving soil conditions, and incorporating native plant species, the project will reduce flooding and improve water quality while enhancing aesthetics and providing habitat benefits.
Pennsylvania: Dover, York County Floodplain Mitigation
Dover, Pennsylvania: $5.83 million
The Dover community aims to restore a floodplain to its pre-settlement conditions through this project, which will remove excess sediment, improve groundwater connectivity, and create a vast stream-wetland floodplain complex. Restoration efforts will restore habitats, add flood storage, reduce sediment loading, and help to process pollutants. It will also mitigate potential infrastructure failure, such as the 30-inch sanitary sewer interceptor. It will help the county reduce its annual pollutant load as well. The floodplain will be seeded with native grass, sedge, and rush mix which will help stabilize the floodplain and provide habitat.
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Water Department Pump Station Mitigation
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $50 million
This project involves construction of a new effluent pump station, replacing a dangerous and outdated system. This new pump station will protect infrastructure, prevent loss of function, and mitigate flooding across the disadvantaged drainage district. This project will include nature-based solutions such as bioretention basins, porous paving and a green roof. Once complete, this project will prevent infrastructure failure up to the 100-year storm event. It will also reduce flood risk and improve water quality and quality of life throughout the city.
Virginia: Richmond Water Treatment Facility – Feeder Channel Retaining Wall Restoration
Richmond, Virginia: $11.99 million
This project will improve the feeder channel, concrete wall, and berms at the Richmond Water Treatment Facility, which serves businesses, public properties, and essential community facilities. This project will also rehabilitate concrete walls and increase their height to prevent overtopping, repair and replace channel gates, improve slope stability, remove vegetation and burrowing animals, and repair cracks. It will protect water treatment and distribution services for those within the facility’s service area ultimately making the plant more resilient to 100-year flood events and protect or restore wetlands.
Virginia: Virginia Department of Emergency Management – Green Power Mobile Energy Storage System
North Chesterfield, Virginia: $21.72 million
North Chesterfield has faced natural hazards that caused power outages across wide geographic areas including disadvantaged communities and tribal nations located in the region. The Green Power On-Demand System (G-PODS) will make use of a mobile rechargeable battery system that will support the community’s electric grid during normal conditions. It can also detach and be deployed to predetermined and pre-wired disadvantaged community facilities or critical infrastructure locations to ensure there is power during a natural disaster or a similar event. This project will deploy four G-PODS units to seven quick connect- equipped locations, along with ongoing support services.
Washington, D.C.: Eastern Avenue Stormwater Pump Station Resiliency Improvements
Washington, D.C.: $ 670,749
This project involves improvements to the Eastern Avenue Stormwater Pump Station. The pump station is the primary stormwater conveyance for the Eastern Avenue underpass. This project aims to prevent power loss by installing a permanent generator, upgrading electrical equipment, and floodproofing the only access to the pump station. These measures are crucial to ensuring continuous operation, preventing traffic disruptions, and safeguarding critical infrastructure during severe storm events.
The District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia will also receive more than $22 million to fund the management of the grants and help implement the projects. DC will receive $440, 245, Pennsylvania will receive $14,012,826 and Virginia will receive $7,761,736.
Flood Mitigation Assistance FY22 Region 3 Recipients:
Five projects totaling over $9.8 million in Pennsylvania and Virginia were selected in the nationwide competition for award consideration in the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program. These projects will fund flood control and individual property mitigation projects such as elevation, acquisitions, and mitigation-reconstruction of repetitively flood-damaged buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Pennsylvania: The Borough of Yardley Elevation of Two Homes Above 100-Year Floodplain
Yardley, Pennsylvania: $671,292
The Borough of Yardley plans to elevate two homes that have experienced Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) during past flood events to two feet above the 100-year floodplain. There have been seven Severe Repetitive and Repetitive Loss claims paid across the two structures due to the Delaware River and Canal overflowing and flooding most of the Borough. The project aims to minimize future flood damage and reduce losses by protecting the homeowners from future flooding.
Pennsylvania: City of Philadelphia Increases Sewer Capacity
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $5.42 million
Philadelphia will begin Phase 2 of an ongoing project to increase the sewer conveyance capacity on 21st Street in the neighborhoods of Germantown and Ogontz. Both socially vulnerable neighborhoods will build upon the Germantown Storm Flood Relief Capital Improvement Plan developed in Phase 1 and replace the 48-inch brick sewer with a 72-inch reinforced concrete box sewer. By doing this, it will increase the capacity of this system and also reduce much of the surface flooding observed in the 25, 50, and 100-year 24-hour events.
Virginia: Northern Neck Planning District Commission Elevations
Northern Neck, Virginia: $1.61 million
This project aims to raise and build engineered foundations for six homes in the Northern Neck community to place them above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This will help them meet local ordinance requirements and protect the homes from future flood damage.
Virginia: Gloucester County Elevation of Ware River Home
Gloucester County, Virginia: $176,400
This project aims to raise a single-family home built in 1947 in Gloucester County to mitigate repetitive flood losses experienced by the homeowners totaling more than $30,000. The project will involve pre-construction activities, including erosion control and the use of nature-based solutions that will protect the home against future flood events.
Virginia: Elevation of Severe Repetitive Loss and Repetitive Loss Properties in the City of Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia: $2.01 Million
This project aims to raise seven residential properties to address the repetitive flooding. Each property will be raised three feet above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to protect these structures from future flood events. These efforts will help lower flood insurance rates and reduce flood claims for property owners while enhancing the City’s resilience.
Pennsylvania and Virginia will also receive $1.1 million to fund management costs and help implement the projects. Pennsylvania will receive $698,095and Virginia will receive $441,142.
“We are excited to announce another historic year of selections for our BRIC and FMA grant programs. These programs allow us to work with states in our region and the District of Columbia to find new and innovative ways to help communities become more resilient,” said FEMA Region 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “We encourage communities who may not have been chosen or who haven’t applied in the past to work with their state hazard mitigation partners to apply for funding in the next cycle.”
Following this announcement, FEMA will work closely with our Region 3 states and the District of Columbia to finalize these projects which have been selected for further review. Communities can expect the application process to open for FY23 BRIC grants in the next few months when FEMA posts the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for each grant program. Local communities should be mindful of state application deadlines which will be in advance of FEMA’s deadline. Communities apply for these grant programs through their states.