Crisfield, Maryland, showcases flood risk reduction efforts with FEMA and MDEM support

February 28, 2024

FEMA and MDEM visit Crisfield to assess flood risk reduction strategies

On February 27, 2024, officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) visited Crisfield, Maryland, to observe the city’s efforts in reducing flood risk.

Senior FEMA Officials Victoria Salinas and MaryAnn Tierney, alongside MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland, engaged with local authorities to understand how Crisfield is leveraging partnerships across various sectors to mitigate flooding through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)- Direct Technical Assistance (DTA) program.

Crisfield, situated along the Eastern Shore of Maryland, frequently experiences flooding.

The city has been actively working to address these challenges, focusing on developing a comprehensive mitigation strategy with FEMA, state, and local partners.

This strategy aims to implement infrastructure improvements and nature-based solutions to lessen flood risks and enhance the city’s resilience.

Collaboration and innovation in flood mitigation

The visit initiated with a roundtable discussion, where FEMA, MDEM, Somerset County, and Crisfield officials exchanged insights on the city’s flood risk reduction plans.

They highlighted the importance of federal funding in realizing the projects identified through the BRIC-DTA program.

Crisfield’s proactive approach to applying for a BRIC grant underscores the city’s commitment to safeguarding its community against severe flooding.

This collaborative effort aligns with FEMA’s “Year of Resilience,” emphasizing the sharing of best practices and innovative solutions to protect communities from disasters.

Salinas praised Crisfield’s engagement in the BRIC-DTA program, noting that the identified strategies, based on 2050 climate projections, are crucial for reducing the impacts of repetitive flooding on the city’s residents and businesses.

Tierney also remarked on the significance of the visit, highlighting the opportunity to witness firsthand the local initiatives to combat flood risk.

The BRIC-DTA program, she noted, is essential for communities and Tribal nations beginning their mitigation efforts, offering a pathway to resilience against future disasters.

Maryland’s commitment to resilience and sustainability

MDEM’s involvement ensures that Crisfield’s mitigation strategy aligns with state priorities, with staff playing a key role in the technical assistance program.

Strickland emphasized Maryland’s dedication to resilience and sustainability, viewing the state’s efforts in Crisfield as a testament to this commitment.

Crisfield stands as one of the initial BRIC-DTA communities in FEMA Region 3, now joining seven in the region and 74 nationwide.

Mayor Darlene Taylor expressed gratitude for FEMA’s support, highlighting the critical role of the BRIC-DTA program in equipping Crisfield to address its primary climate challenge: flooding.

The program’s impact is seen as pivotal for preserving Crisfield’s community and marks a significant step in the city’s ongoing resilience efforts.

FSJA Comment

The collaboration between FEMA, MDEM, and Crisfield, Maryland, in addressing flood risk illustrates a model of intergovernmental cooperation and community engagement.

Crisfield’s proactive approach to flood risk reduction, through infrastructure improvements and nature-based solutions, sets a precedent for other communities facing similar challenges.

This effort demonstrates the importance of leveraging federal programs like the BRIC-DTA to build capacity and develop equitable, sustainable solutions for hazard mitigation.

As climate projections predict more severe weather events, such partnerships and strategies become increasingly essential in safeguarding communities and ensuring their resilience in the face of future disasters.

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