Natural hazards, such as inland flooding, storm surge, and high winds cause millions of dollars in damage per year.  As the frequency of extreme storm events continues to grow, damage and property loss will continue to increase.  In response, both Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and Massachusetts Emergency Management Association (MEMA) now emphasize Hazard Mitigation to reduce or eliminate risks caused by natural disasters.  This program helps to break the repetitive cycle of damage and repair, followed by repeated damage during future storm events. 

Hazard Mitigation allows for multiple benefits, including:

  • Reduced loss of life, property, and services before or after a natural disaster
  • Shorter disaster recovery time periods
  • Reduced reconstruction expenses
  • Better cooperation and communication within community departments
  • More government funding for disaster recovery and reconstruction projects

FEMA and MEMA have created the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to provide funding to states and communities to improve natural hazards resiliency.  In Massachusetts, this program functions through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).  Potential projects can include stormwater and drainage upgrades, culvert improvements, acquisition of problem properties, slope and bank stabilization, and other infrastructure retrofits designed to improve resiliency to climate change and natural hazards. 

In order to be eligible for funding under the HMGP, communities must have an approved Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan that forms a framework of a community’s strategy to reduce damage to lives, property, and the economy due to natural disasters.  CEI has worked with a number of Massachusetts communities to develop and implement these plans. 

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