Leverage FEMA Grant Funding to Increase Community Resilience

Tetra Tech’s Director of Resilience, Alison Miskiman, discusses how our mitigation and resilience experts can help state and local governments, tribes, territories, and lifeline owners leverage Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant funding to reduce hazard risk and increase community resilience.

Building resilient communities

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC), Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA), and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provide an avenue for proactive implementation of resilience projects. These programs are administrated under FEMA’s HMA program, which provides grant funding opportunities to build resilient communities. State and local governments, tribes, territories, and community lifelines can leverage this funding to reduce the impacts of natural hazards and increase community resilience.

Tetra Tech experts have decades of experience working in partnership with our clients to secure funding and build a more resilient future, both pre- and post-disaster, with a focus on addressing the effects of climate change. Our team assembles competitive project, planning, and capability and capacity building (C&CB) grant application packages and provides ongoing support through project implementation.

FEMA HMA grant programs have specific areas of focus. Tetra Tech can help clients determine which program aligns with their priority projects.

BRIC: Proactive investment in community resilience

BRIC grant funding focuses on increasing infrastructure and community lifeline resilience and prioritizes nature-based solutions, projects that reduce hazard risk to disadvantaged and tribal communities, integration of climate change and future conditions, and innovative project designs and/or partnerships. BRIC funded activities include:

  • Mitigation and climate adaptation projects
  • C&CB, including building code activities, partnerships, project scoping, and planning-related activities
  • Project management
FMA: Community and individual property flood risk reduction

FMA grant funding focuses on planning and projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This program can be used for individual property and community flood mitigation projects, including:

  • Flood control including nature-based solutions
  • Individual property elevations, acquisitions, reconstruction, and relocations
  • Floodwater storage and diversion
  • Floodplain, stream, and wetland restoration
HMGP: Increase disaster resilience

HMGP grant funding is available after a presidentially declared disaster. This funding is used to rebuild stronger and safer to become more resilient. On August 5, 2021, President Biden announced $3.46 billion in HMGP funding for states, territories, and tribes to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change nationwide. Projects eligible under BRIC and FMA are also eligible under HMGP.

Helping leverage BRIC, FMA, and HMGP funding

Tetra Tech offers a full suite of services and subject-matter expertise to help secure FEMA HMA grant funding and implement projects.

Expertise Tetra Tech provides clients to leverage FEMA HMA funding: social equity, climate resilience, capacity building, risk analysis, modeling

Our mitigation and resilience experts position our client partners for FEMA HMA success by:

  • Identifying eligible and competitive projects and maximizing the scoring outlined in the Notices of Funding Opportunity (e.g., nature-based solutions, social equity, climate change)
  • Developing detailed scopes of work and cost estimates that align with FEMA’s expectations
  • Collaborating with state, regional, and local partners
  • Building fully documented and technically sound grant application and benefit-cost analysis (BCA) packages
  • Conducting conceptual design through final engineering using innovative solutions
  • Satisfying environmental and historic preservation compliance requirements beginning at the application stage through to awarded projects
  • Providing grant management and administration services to ensure full compliance with grant program requirements
Tetra Tech FEMA HMA client success stories
Elevated home in Cape May County, New Jersey, where Tetra Tech supported FEMA FMA grant administration for property elevation
Cape May County, New Jersey, Residential Structural Elevation Project
Location: North Wildwood, Ocean City, Stone Harbor, and Sea Isle City, New Jersey
Client: Cape May County Department of Emergency Management
FEMA Grant Awarded: FMA

Tetra Tech is working with Cape May County, 4 municipalities, and 29 property owners to provide FEMA FMA grant administration services to support a multijurisdictional structural elevation project. Structures are being elevated above the minimum requirements to provide an increased level of protection to account for changing future conditions such as sea level rise. Our work includes project initiation, municipal and homeowner kickoff meetings, homeowner communication, and project performance monitoring. We support homeowners through project completion by managing required documentation and requesting program reimbursements. Since project inception, 20 properties have been elevated and more than $3.5 million has been reimbursed to property owners.

Aerial of the City of Houston, Texas, where Tetra Tech is supporting a BRIC-funded flood risk reduction project
Advanced Flood Inundation Modeling for Enhanced Building Codes
Location: Houston, Texas
Client: City of Houston
FEMA Grant Awarded: BRIC C&CB

Tetra Tech worked with the City of Houston to develop an FY20 FEMA BRIC C&CB application that has been selected for further review. The project will use best available data and science to model existing and future flood risks to better inform the City’s regulatory department as directed by its Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance (FDPO). It has been adopted pursuant to the NFIP, and the regulatory focus of this study will be the freeboard provisions of the City’s FDPO. The City of Houston is one of the first communities to receive funding under this new FEMA C&CB category, which is a testament to the importance of this project to reduce future flood risk.

Aerial of East Orange Water District in Orange, California, where Tetra Tech supported hazard mitigation planning and a FEMA HMGP application/BCA
Peter’s Canyon Reservoir Seismic Reconstruction Project
Location: Orange, California
Client: East Orange Water District
FEMA Grant Awarded: HMGP

Tetra Tech completed the initial Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) for the East Orange County Water District, which was facilitated concurrent with the District’s American Water Infrastructure Act planning effort. The plans used data generated by the HMP’s risk assessment with the objective to fully integrate both plans. Following HMP FEMA approval and adoption, the District engaged Tetra Tech to prepare a grant application and BCA for a water reservoir seismic reconstruction project. This $9.3 million project was given the highest priority in the District’s HMP and has been selected for further review by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and FEMA Region IX.

The FEMA Mitigation Action Portfolio includes additional examples of innovative mitigation projects that address natural hazards and emphasize the importance of collaboration to achieve effective mitigation and disaster resilience.

Meet our FEMA experts
Alison Miskiman, Tetra Tech’s Director of Resilience
Alison Miskiman, GISP, CFM

FEMA HMA Grant Programs
As Tetra Tech’s Director of Resilience, Alison leads our FEMA HMA grant services. She has 20 years of experience evaluating the impacts of natural hazards on our population, communities, and environment. Alison specializes in risk-informed planning and helping state and local governments maximize funding to increase resilience to natural hazard events and the changing climate.

Rob Flaner, Tetra Tech FEMA HMA Grant/BCA development expert
Rob Flaner, CFM

Grant/BCA Development
Rob is a FEMA HMA and BCA subject matter expert and leads Tetra Tech’s western U.S. hazard mitigation services. He recently supported the City of Houston to secure approximately $350 million in FEMA grant funding for flood resilience projects and several FY20 successful BRIC project and C&CB applications. Learn more about Rob’s expertise.

Erin Hague, Tetra Tech shoreline protection and coastal restoration expert
Erin Hague, CEP, ENV SP

Coastal Restoration and Nature-based Solutions
Erin has more than 25 years of experience successfully managing large-scale, multidisciplinary shoreline protection and coastal restoration projects involving geotechnical and biological field investigations, planning, design, agency coordination and permitting, coastal planning, and engineering design. Learn more about Erin’s expertise.

Louise Slate, Tetra Tech nature-based solutions expert
Louise Slate, PE, LEED AP

Flood Resilience and Nature-based Solutions
Louise is passionate about integrating nature into designs to improve resilience, greenspace, and quality of life. She has focused on surface water quality and quantity most of her career addressing stormwater modeling, quality, and design; dam design; riverine and coastal flood modeling; natural channel and wetland design; and low impact development.

Jake Oldenburger, resiliency and flood mitigation engineering and design expert
Jake Oldenburger, PE, CFM, ENV SP, LEED GA

Engineering and Design
Jake leads our New York, New York, office and has more than 12 years of experience in civil engineering, stormwater management, land development, and flood resiliency design. His recent focus includes specialized support for resiliency and flood mitigation in response to hurricanes in New York, Texas, and Florida.

Dacia Mosso, Tetra Tech integrated planning expert
Dacia Mosso

Integrated Planning
Dacia has more than 20 years of experience in water quality, nonpoint source pollution control, environmental regulatory implementation, and integrated water quality and hazard mitigation planning. She led the development of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency training materials to integrate nature-based solutions and watershed protection into hazard mitigation plans.

John Bock, Tetra Tech environmental and historic preservation expert for hazard mitigation projects
John Bock

Environmental and Historic Preservation
John is Tetra Tech’s nationwide coordinator for disaster recovery and hazard mitigation environmental and historic preservation reviews for FEMA- and HUD-funded projects. He has conducted FEMA environmental and historic preservation review services for 51 hazard mitigation grant program (HMGP) projects under nine presidentially declared disasters in California, Nevada, Hawaii, and Guam.

Catherine Courtney, Tetra Tech climate adaptation expert
Catherine (Kitty) Courtney, Ph.D.

Climate Adaptation
Kitty is a senior marine environmental scientist with more than 30 years of experience in coastal climate adaption. She led the Hawaii State Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report, the Pacific Islands Climate Storybook, and the Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Maui County Beach Parks. Learn more about Kitty’s expertise.

Heather Apgar, FEMA Grant Administration Services
Heather Apgar

FEMA Grant Administration Services
Heather is a hazard mitigation planner with more than 15 years of experience. She provides grant administration services to communities in Cape May County New Jersey for their FEMA-funded elevation projects. Heather works with state agencies, municipal representatives, homeowners, and contractors to assemble reimbursement packages that align with FEMA eligibility requirements.