EPA - FEMA Partnership on Hazard Mitigation and Sustainability

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) committing the agencies to coordinate support that they provide to communities on hazard mitigation, disaster recovery, sustainable development, and climate adaptation. The coordination reflects a recognition that when communities are engaging in post-disaster recovery and redevelopment planning, they should be considering climate adaptation, hazard mitigation, and smart growth policies. The partnership primarily involves EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities, which works on issues relating to smart growth and redevelopment, and FEMA regional offices that provide hazard mitigation and recovery assistance.

The partnership aims to achieve four goals: (1) Enhanced agency collaboration, (2) Smart growth technical assistance, (3) Community resiliency and climate adaptation, and (4) Cross training and joint training. In their cooperative efforts, EPA and FEMA provide assistance, resources, and funds to help communities with a range of planning-related efforts, such as:

  • natural hazard risk analysis and reduction,
  • disaster preparedness,
  • recovery planning,
  • climate change adaptation and hazard mitigation planning,
  • urban planning and design,
  • development of disaster-resistant codes, standards, and model ordinances,
  • housing and equitable development, and
  • fostering partnerships to advance community-based disaster risk reduction and environmental protection.

Support provided through this partnership can take different forms depending upon the needs of the region or community. The partnership has supported planning in communities across the U.S. including Spirit Lake, ND; New Bern, NC and Wilmington, NC; Mad River Valley, VT; Joplin, MO; and Long Island, NY.  In EPA/FEMA Region 9 (Pacific Southwest), this partnership was first piloted in the 9-county California Bay Area region, through coordination with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). With support from EPA and FEMA to host workshops, assess vulnerabilities, and develop options for reducing risks from sea-level rise and earthquakes in future planned high-growth areas. The ABAG pilot was completed in 2015 and produced a report, Stronger Housing, Safer Communities. Region 9 is also piloting the partnership in the Mount Shasta area and the large Central California Coast region.

Publication Date: 2010

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