FEMA and MDEM showcase flood mitigation efforts in Crisfield, MD

March 4, 2024

FEMA and MDEM officials visit Crisfield to discuss flood risk reduction

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) leaders visited Crisfield, Maryland, to observe and discuss the city’s efforts in reducing flood risks.

The visit, involving senior officials from both agencies, focused on how Crisfield is collaborating with various partners to mitigate flooding through FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)- Direct Technical Assistance (DTA) program.

Crisfield, situated along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, regularly faces flooding challenges.

Over the years, the city has been proactive in addressing these issues.

The BRIC-DTA program offers non-financial, customized support to communities and Tribal nations for up to three years.

FEMA’s collaboration with Crisfield includes a comprehensive mitigation strategy encompassing infrastructure improvements and nature-based solutions.

Crisfield’s proactive approach to flood mitigation highlighted

The visit began with a roundtable discussion, followed by a tour showcasing areas in Crisfield that have suffered severe flooding.

The city has applied for a BRIC grant to fund projects conceptualized through the BRIC-DTA program.

These projects are designed to reduce flood risks from various sources and enable quicker receding of floodwaters.

This visit also aligns with FEMA’s “Year of Resilience,” focusing on sharing best practices and protecting communities from disasters.

Victoria Salinas, FEMA’s Senior Official Performing Duties of Deputy Administrator for Resilience, emphasized Crisfield’s role as a model community.

Salinas said: “The City of Crisfield serves as an example of how communities benefit when all levels of government work together to build resilience.

“Crisfield’s participation in FEMA’s BRIC Direct Technical Assistance program has helped identify flood risk reduction strategies using 2050 climate projections that, when implemented, will reduce the devastating impacts of repetitive flooding from storm surge, heavy rains, and sea level rise on residents and business owners.”

FEMA’s role in supporting local flood resilience initiatives

FEMA Region 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney highlighted the importance of local and federal collaboration in addressing flood risks.

Tierney said: “Our visit to Crisfield was a great opportunity to see the work that Mayor Darlene Taylor and her team are doing alongside the state and FEMA to address flood risk in their community.

FEMA’s Direct Technical Assistance program is a great way for communities and Tribal nations to get started in mitigation work and discover ways to become more resilient to future disasters.

By building capacity at the local level, BRIC-DTA supports the development of holistic, equitable hazard mitigation solutions that advance community-driven objectives.”

MDEM’s involvement is crucial in ensuring the alignment of Crisfield’s mitigation strategies with state priorities.

Russ Strickland, MDEM Secretary, stated the importance of collaborative efforts in enhancing community resilience.

Strickland said: “As communities such as Crisfield face increasing risk from weather-related events, it is important that we work with local and federal partners and the non-government sector to mitigate these effects and increase resilience.

The Moore-Miller Administration is committed to resilience and sustainability across Maryland, and our work here in Crisfield is evidence of that commitment.”

Crisfield’s gratitude for FEMA’s support and future prospects

Crisfield Mayor Darlene Taylor expressed her gratitude for FEMA’s support.

Taylor said: “The City of Crisfield is extremely grateful for FEMA Leadership’s site visit, and for the phenomenal collaborative support we have received through the FEMA BRIC DTA program.

This program has been instrumental in helping to level the ‘resiliency’ playing field by providing the capacity for our small town to assess, analyze, and potentially address our number one climate challenge, flooding.

Already seeing increases in flooding frequency and severity with potentially devastating future impacts, the implementation of BRIC DTA solutions is crucial to preserving our small rural, waterfront community and could prove to be the most consequential effort Crisfield has ever participated in.”

Crisfield was one of the first BRIC-DTA communities in Region 3 and is now one of seven in the region and one of 74 nationwide.

FSJA Comment

The recent FEMA and MDEM visit to Crisfield, MD, underscores the growing need for comprehensive flood risk reduction strategies in vulnerable communities.

This collaborative effort between local, state, and federal entities exemplifies a unified approach to disaster mitigation.

The emphasis on both infrastructure improvement and nature-based solutions highlights a multifaceted approach to resilience.

The engagement of local residents and stakeholders in this project reflects an awareness of the importance of community involvement in developing effective and equitable solutions.

This visit not only marks a significant step for Crisfield in its journey towards greater resilience but also serves as a model for other communities facing similar challenges.

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