Building a Pipeline of Shovel-Ready Mitigation Projects: BRIC’s Focus on Capability and Capacity Building
Disasters cause substantial damage and disrupt socioeconomic activities in ways that we cannot fully measure. It is difficult to predict when disaster will strike your community next, but it is possible to prepare for it. To successfully enable large-scale infrastructure and mitigation projects, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program, required a mechanism to create a steady pipeline of eligible, shovel-ready projects. Capability and Capacity Building (C&CB) – a new project type eligible for funding under FEMA’s BRIC program— does just that.
According to FEMA, the BRIC program seeks to fund effective and innovative projects that will reduce risk, increase resilience, and serve as a catalyst to encourage the whole community investments in mitigation. To support this goal, BRIC sets $600,000 in C&CB funding aside – per eligible applicant – to enhance mitigation expertise, knowledge, and practice at the state and local level. Eligible expenditures can include building code activities, partnerships, project scoping, mitigation planning, and planning-related activities. This funding is designed to result in a resource, strategy, or mitigation product that will ultimately reduce or eliminate risk and damage from natural hazards.
In the recent BRIC Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), FEMA offers a broad definition of C&CB project eligibility. This will enable greater flexibility for states and local communities as they look to fund the development of mitigation solutions under the BRIC program as well as other federal mitigation programs, such as FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA), and HMGP Post Fire. Given that BRIC is expected to be a significantly larger grant program than PDM; C&CB funding provides the necessary seed funding to jump start development of future projects and it appears FEMA is willing to provide the space for communities to appropriately identify their needs and do so.
UnSplash: Scott Graham
Additionally, when endeavoring on a new mitigation or infrastructure project, public awareness is key to highlighting the co-benefits of the project, such as environmental and economic impacts. Therefore, FEMA allows for up to 10 percent of a C&CB activity or mitigation project to be used for public awareness and education, such as: brochures, workshops, and videos.
C&CB projects will not require a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA). Generally, projects will be subject to a 75 percent federal, 25 percent state and local cost share; however, impoverished communities may be eligible for an increased federal cost share of up to 90 percent. While the $600,000 per applicant maximum award may not provide all the funding required to analyze, coordinate, design, and engineer a jurisdiction’s large infrastructure project, it is the first step in the process of building greater capacity to do so.
The BRIC application period opens on September 30, 2020 and closes on January 29, 2021; however, BRIC project applications will take a significant amount of time and resources to complete. We encourage potential applicants and sub-applicants to begin their planning efforts as soon as possible.
Hagerty is here to help. While the cost share for this program is 75 percent federal and 25 percent non-federal, FEMA will provide 100 percent federal funding for management costs associated with the administration of a BRIC-awarded mitigation measure or C&CB project. Therefore, our professionals can help at little-to-no additional cost.
Hagerty’s Mitigation Team are experts in navigating the pre- and post-disaster funding world. We are available to talk about your recovery needs, including how to access all funding available through federal grant programs. To learn more, contact us.
Scott Baldwin is a Senior Mitigation Manager at Hagerty Consulting and a subject matter expert in natural hazard mitigation in both the pre and post disaster recovery environments. With over 10 years of experience in FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance and Public Assistance (PA) programs, Scott has worked closely with states and communities in Colorado and California to identify, develop, and implement mitigation and recovery solutions tailored to meet their needs.