The Resilient Nation Roundup | August 2020

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August 2020

We appreciate everyone's engagement and the diverse set of content we have for this month's Roundup. We would like to reiterate that all of our current partners' (and new partners') successes are worth celebrating and everyone is welcome to submit content to the Roundup. We hope you enjoy this month's edition!

Upcoming Events

Economic Impacts of Water Infrastructure Webinar | August 26

Release of Economic Study on Electricity Infrastructure Investment Webinar | September 1

ResCon International Virtual Convention | September 8-10

FEMA Region II Individual and Community Preparedness Virtual Outreach:

Understanding Risk British Columbia 2020 Event Series

BRIC Notice of Funding Opportunity Webinar Series

Funding Opportunity

FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant Program and Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Programs

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In this Issue:


I-DIEM and The Bill Anderson Fund Flagship at the University of Delaware Launch New Podcast Series, "Amplify This!"

Every month "Amplify This!" features emergency managers, diversity & inclusion experts, social equity advocates, and more from the world of disaster management. We discuss recent disasters, emergency policies, crisis management practices, and their impact on marginalized and underserved communities. The hosts are Chauncia Willis, CEO and co-founder of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management (I-DIEM) and Monica Sanders, director of The Bill Anderson Fund and an associate professor at the University of Delaware (otherwise known as your friendly neighborhood activist-scholar!).

The first set of episodes includes such thought leaders as Dr. Nicollette Louissant, Atyia Martin, and others. This first episode on Spotify focuses on the confluence of hurricane season and COVID-19 and what that means for frontline communities with guest Dr. Michelle Dovil of Florida A&M. Listen to the episode and subscribe to the podcast.

The Georgetown Climate Center Develops Equitable Adaptation Legal and Policy Toolkit.

GCC Logo

The effects of climate change disproportionately affect overburdened and low-income people and communities of color, who already face significant economic and social challenges. The cumulative impacts of pollution, racism, and political and economic disenfranchisement make it difficult for these communities to withstand and recover from extreme heat, flooding, and other climate impacts.

For communities to be truly resilient to climate risks, they must have the resources to prepare for the coming changes, as well as the ability to withstand impacts and recover quickly after an event. Building equity into climate resilience planning involves addressing the disproportionate impacts that affect frontline communities and reversing the trends that make it harder for communities of color and low-income individuals to thrive. In practice, this involves both inclusive processes that give frontline communities opportunities to shape decision making, and a deep investment in the programs and policies that frontline communities ask for and need. Importantly, these programs and policies should address not only climate risks, but also pervasive stressors such as lack of educational and economic opportunity and threats from displacement and gentrification.

To help communities address challenges of climate resilience and social inequality, the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) partnered with leading experts to develop an Equitable Adaptation Legal and Policy Toolkit.

GCC’s Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit will help local policymakers and community-based organizations address these challenges and develop viable strategies for building climate resilience and social equity. The toolkit includes best emerging practices, legal and policy tools, and case studies centered on equitable adaptation solutions to help users to explore solutions linking equity and resilience. While there is no “one size fits all” approach to building equitable community resilience, GCC’s toolkit provides analytical frameworks to help decision makers and advocates tailor approaches to their specific jurisdictions, legal contexts, and needs.

The Toolkit covers a broad range of subjects to help guide community-driven planning processes and implementation, including:

  • Facilitating procedural and substantive equity, including community-driven engagement and government procedural processes;
  • Economic resilience, affordable housing, and anti-displacement;
  • Resilient energy, water, and natural systems;
  • Disaster preparedness, response, and recovery;
  • Public health; and
  • Funding and financing approaches.

The Toolkit is available here.  

Building Community Resilience with Nature-Based Solutions: A Guide for Local Communities

Natural hazards such as flooding, high wind, drought, landslides, and others pose major threats to communities across the United States. Reducing these threats to lives, properties, and the economy is a top priority for many communities – but local officials don’t always know where to start, especially when it comes to using nature’s ability to reduce risk.

Enter the new Building Community Resilience with Nature-Based Solutions: A Guide for Local Communities. The goal of this guide is to help communities, along with state, territorial, and tribal governments, identify and engage the staff and resources that can play a role in building resilience through nature-based solutions. The document is not a technical how-to guide for implementation. Instead, it provides information to help local officials make the business case for nature-based solutions; plan for and set policies to support nature-based solutions; mobilize public and private resources for implementation; and understand federal funding opportunities.

This new document is the result of exciting and successful collaborations outside and within FEMA. Specifically, the Risk Management Directorate (RMD) collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) resilience experts. NOAA’s input strengthened the resource and brings it even more credibility. Within FEMA, RMD worked with the Mitigation Directorate’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) team to align the guide with how the BRIC program addresses nature-based solutions. The result is a guide with broad buy-in that represents multiple perspectives, all working towards risk reduction.

Nature Based Solutions

EDF: From Louisiana to New York, Coastal Leaders Come Together to Build Climate Resilience

Nearly one dozen states have hired Chief Resilience Officers (CROs) in various areas of government to confront climate challenges and keep residents safe. The Environmental Defense Fund convened a group of resilience experts to start building a network and provide an open forum to share challenges, successes, solutions and the many lessons learned. The main takeaway from the Resilience Information Exchange was that CROs face similar challenges and have a lot to learn from one another. Here are four initial lessons they learned and shared.

FEMA: Notice of Funding Opportunity for BRIC and FMA Mitigation Grants

On August 4, 2020, FEMA published the fiscal year 2020 (FY20) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for its Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grants (BRIC is replacing the existing Pre-Disaster Mitigation [PDM] program.) FEMA’s two competitive non-disaster Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs provide states, local communities, tribes, and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation’s ability to build a culture of preparedness by reducing disaster losses and protecting life and property from future disaster damage.

For FY20, $500 million is available for BRIC and $160 million in funding is available for FMA.

FEMA is working hard to spread the news about this year’s grant application period, which runs from September 30, 2020, through January 29, 2021, at 3pm ET.

In August and early September, FEMA is offering webinars to help applicants and sub applicants navigate the application process to ensure stakeholders understand what is needed to timely and successfully apply for funding. Stakeholders are being encouraged to participate in one of the six NOFO webinars and FEMA will be spending half an hour answering questions from attendees during the live webinar. The virtual sessions that will be recorded will be published online. Space is limited, so be sure to register online.

For this year’s HMA Non-Disaster NOFOs, FEMA developed a robust collection of Program Support Materials (PSMs). For the new BRIC program, information is provided on eligible activities to fund that support building codes, partnerships, project scoping, mitigation planning, direct technical assistance, competition criteria, and more. For FMA, the PSMs developed will help with Project Scoping, Community Flood Mitigation, and more.

One resource that may be of particular interest in many stakeholders who are interested in applying for funding, is the BRIC Mitigation Action Portfolio. This portfolio introduces stakeholders to the BRIC program and the array of eligible hazard mitigation activities that can benefit a community.  This and all BRIC PSMs can be found on the BRIC webpage and the FMA PSMs can be found on the FMA webpage.

Additionally, eligible applicants or sub applicants must apply for funding using the new FEMA Grants Outcome (FEMA GO), which is now the management system for FMA and BRIC. The development of FEMA GO was a multi-year effort to modernize and transform the way FEMA conducts grants management. FEMA GO will streamline the process to apply for, track, and manage grants. Learn more about using FEMA GO.

Finally, if you missed any of the 2020 BRIC Summer Engagement Series sessions, you can access all presentations here, or view recordings on the FEMA YouTube channel. 

ResCon International Virtual Convention | September 8-10, 2020


ResCon, co-hosted by National Governors Association, has officially opened public registration for this year’s conference to be held virtually on September 8-10, 2020.

ResCon is the premier annual international conference on the practice of successful resilience and disaster management. The 2020 event will highlight innovation as a tool of resilience, while integrating a state and national perspective into the conference to create a more engaging and valuable experience. Register Now!

Building Community Resilience: Resilient America’s Community Pilot Program

Over a five year period, the National Academies’ Resilient America Roundtable partnered with four communities across the US to explore and test approaches to building resilience through: communicating, understanding, and managing risk; building coalitions and partnerships across stakeholders in the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors; measuring resilience; and sharing data and information about best practices, hazards, communication, and policies that build resilience.

The final report for the Community Pilot Program outlines our community engagement process, and describes successes, challenges, and what we learned from our work together in building resilience.

The National Academies: Supply Chain Resilience

Supply chains play a critical role in provision of critical and everyday materials and supplies, and their continued functioning during and after hazard events plays a central role in response and recovery.

The National Academies' report Strengthening Post-hurricane Supply Chain Resilience: Observations from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria provides recommendations to strengthen understanding and resilience of US supply chains. While the report focuses on disruptions due to hurricane events, the framing of supply chain challenges and recommendations provide a useful guide to understanding supply chain dynamics in the context of other events, such as COVID-19.

UCS: Real-Time Lessons on COVID-19 and US Hurricane Response: What We’ve Learned from Hanna and Isaias

UCC Submission 1

This hurricane season has not only seen some of the earliest named storms, it’s also happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. How have places already impacted by these storms responded? Read here for a summary from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) on how Texas, North Carolina, and Florida are tackling these challenges.  

UCS: With Hurricane and COVID-19 Preparedness, Communities Are Damned if They Do and Damned if They Don’t

In preparation for hurricane season and COVID-19, Adrienne Hollis, Senior Climate Justice and Health Scientist, interviewed Reverend Leo Woodberry from Florence, SC, and Mr. Hilton Kelley from Port Arthur, TX. The underlying message: communities are forced to devise their own emergency preparedness plans. Governments need to be more proactive on hurricane preparedness. Read the full blog post here. 

UCS: U.S. West Faces a Grim Summer as Red Flag Fire and COVID-19 Warnings Mount

UCS Submission 3

Across the Western U.S., surges of COVID-19 cases are colliding with wildfires. New warnings that states with the highest number of cases in the country are now facing immediate fire risk mean the picture is about to get grimmer for this region. Learn more here. 

GBCI: New PEER Rating System Training Classes

Across the U.S., sustainable microgrids are emerging as a vital tool in the fight against climate change and increasingly common natural disasters. In the wake of hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires, the traditional energy grid in many parts of the country is struggling to keep the power flowing, causing outages that slow local economies and ultimately put lives at risk. The PEER rating system enables you to measure the resilience and reliability of your microgrid with a single, straightforward, points-based system. The rating system is structured around four main credit categories 1) Reliability & Resiliency; 2) Energy Efficiency & Environment; 3) Operations, Safety, & Maintenance; and 4) Grid Services.

Two new classes from GBCI help you to better understand the PEER rating system. The first is an introduction to PEER - This introductory course explains how the PEER program measures reliability and resilience in electricity grids, microgrids and central power plant systems. This course introduces you to the industry best practices highlighted in the PEER program. The second course is intended for those applying for PEER certification. It is a deep dive into each of the PEER credit categories with calculation examples and case histories highlighting the strategies to consider in PEER certification.

ASCE: Release of Economic Study on Water Infrastructure Investment

Join the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Value of Water Campaign for a fireside chat announcing their newest report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impacts of Water Infrastructure. The report, which will be released virtually, examines the benefits of investing in water infrastructure and the costs of underinvestment.

Confirmed panel participants include:

  • Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA);
  • Radhika Fox, Chief Executive Officer of the US Water Alliance;
  • Carol Haddock, Director of the Houston Public Works;
  • Katie Henderson, Senior Program Manager of the US Water Alliance; and
  • Tony Parrott, Executive Director of the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District.

The panel will be moderated by Emily Feenstra, ASCE Managing Director of Government Relations and Infrastructure Initiatives

ASCE’s Failure to Act economic studies show the impact on America’s economy if we continue only at current infrastructure investment levels. Specifically, the reports quantify the impacts of underinvestment to individual households and the overall GDP. Register here. 

Time: August 26, 2020 12 pm EST

ASCE: Release of Economic Study on Electricity Infrastructure Investment

*Event sponsored by Siemens

Join the American Society of Civil Engineers for a virtual press event and roundtable announcing its newest report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Electricity Infrastructure. This report examines investment trends and the changing dynamics in the energy landscape and provides an objective analysis of how existing investment gaps impact individual households, businesses, and the overall economy.

Confirmed panel participants include:

  • Tom Smith, Executive Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers;
  • Martin Powell, Chief Sustainability Officer of Siemens USA; and
  • Steven Landau, economist and Executive Vice-President at EBP-USA.

ASCE’s Failure to Act economic studies show the impact on America’s economy if we continue only at current infrastructure investment levels. Specifically, the reports quantify the impacts of underinvestment to individual households and the overall GDP.

Register here. 

Time: September 1, 2020 1:00 PM EST  

New Digital Dialogue on Coastal Ecosystem Protection from the Wharton Risk Center


In the Wharton Risk Center’s fifth Digital Dialogue, a series we have launched to solicit expert ideas for solving policy challenges, we hear from fourteen experts on what financial measures and policies are most successful for scaling coastal ecosystem protection. Check out the dialogue!

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation: Private-Public Partnerships Conference

Last month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosted its 9th annual Building Resilience Through Private-Public Partnerships Conference, with support from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Northern Command. The event convened over 2,400 cross-sector leaders and 121 speakers across 46 sessions over three days, and garnered more than 13,000 views. The goal of the conference was to shed light on the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis and how organizations can work together to build communities that are stronger than the next disaster. Missed the event? You can watch all of the conference sessions online.

NFIP Launches Hurricane Season Marketing Efforts

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is encouraging residents to purchase a flood insurance policy ahead of peak hurricane season. The NFIP encourages and invites you to promote resources, educate families and communities about flood risk, and help spread the word about the vital protection and peace of mind flood insurance offers in the event of flood damage.

The NFIP launched a campaign this summer in select states in Regions III, IV, VI, and IX to encourage residents living in hurricane-prone areas to purchase flood insurance. To amplify these efforts, we're looking to you to help get the message out.

You can help this hurricane season by following these three easy steps:

  1. Share NFIP materials — including social media resources, brochures, posters, flyers, and videos — on your website, via email, and through your network’s newsletter or listserv
  2. Use our sample media content to post on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook
  3. Embed the NFIP Cost of Flooding Tool and other engaging materials, such as Survivor Stories, into your website

Watch a video to learn more about how to use the outreach materials to help residents and businesses prepare for this year’s hurricane season at

Find community outreach materials at

Questions about the campaign or resources? Contact NFIP Communications (

American Planning Association Adopts Scorecard Tool Developed by CRC Researchers

Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence

Researchers from the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, based at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, have partnered with the American Planning Association (the nation’s largest group of planning professionals) to incorporate the Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard™ into APA’s tools for planners nationwide. The Scorecard helps communities determine the conflicts in their existing plans and improve resilience to hazards. CRC is supported by the DHS Science & Technology Directorate’s Office of University Programs. Read more here. 

FEMA Region II Individual and Community Preparedness Webinars

At the start of COVID-19 pandemic, the FEMA Region II Individual and Community Preparedness Team (ICP) expanded their webinar series to provide accurate, relevant, and timely guidance to stakeholders and constituents. ICP delivered 56 preparedness webinars from January 1st to July 30th, featuring guest speakers from federal, state, and local agencies and garnering the participation of over 17,000 participants from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can find webinar recordings on the FEMA website and register for our upcoming webinars below:  

To celebrate National Preparedness Month this September, ICP will host “Lunch and Learn” webinars every Tuesday from 12 – 12:30 PM ET. Grab your lunch and learn how to prepare yourself, your family, and your community for emergencies. FEMA Region II staff will provide important tips from each of our divisions – preparedness, grants, mitigation, response, and recovery.

Visualize Your Community’s Resilience with FEMA’s Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool

FEMA and Argonne National Laboratory created the Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool (RAPT) to support analysis and visualization to help build community resilience, response, and recovery capabilities. RAPT is an interactive geographic information system (GIS) web-map tool with clickable layers to show the interplay between census-tract population data, infrastructure locations, and hazard data including real-time NWS severe weather! Widgets provide quick analysis of incident areas identifying critical infrastructure and counts of vulnerable populations. RAPT is free and available here.

The Pew Charitable Trusts: Online Resource Hub in Support of Stormwater Utility Implementation Unveiled

The Pew Charitable Trusts and New Jersey Future published the “Stormwater Utility Resource Center,” an online hub to assist New Jersey communities with implementing stormwater utilities. These municipal programs assess a fee based on a property’s impervious surface coverage and uses the revenue for stormwater infrastructure upgrades and nature-based flood mitigation projects. The website provides best practices, step-by-step guidance, rate structure options, and model ordinances along with other technical assistance materials.

NEFRC: Resilience Spotlight: Using Technology to Map Coastal Vulnerabilities and Educate Local Stakeholders


In the wider context of adaptation planning for coastal hazards in Florida, effective community outreach and public education strategies are vitally important when it comes to establishing a ‘resilience framework’ for communities and local governments to work with. In Northeast Florida, one resource that has been utilized to educate local stakeholders about coastal hazards and vulnerabilities is the "Regional Resilience Exposure Tool," licensed by the Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC), and developed by Taylor Engineering.

From a baseline perspective, the tool allows local residents, business owners, and government actors to determine if resources are exposed to specific coastal hazards. In addition to coastal flood layers that are featured, other data layers relating to demographic and social measures can be overlaid in a variety of different ways. The types of flooding presented are FEMA flood hazard zones, storm surge for evacuation planning, depth of flood at defined storm occurrence intervals, and sea level rise at defined water levels (from 1 to 6 feet of rise).

Once a coastal flood layer is selected, users can overlay other layers such as population density, low-income and minority population densities, and elderly population densities to see how specific demographics might potentially be impacted. In addition to these layers, other featured data layers include critical facilities, historical assets, and “resilience hubs” (e.g. areas that contain measurable benefits relating to ecosystem services and flood mitigation).

In promoting the mapping tool, the NEFRC has utilized the resource to educate a diverse array of stakeholders about local vulnerabilities. Presentations have been made before Rotary Clubs, professional organizations, government agencies, and elected officials. Most recently, the NEFRC gave a joint presentation to a statewide Coastal Resilience Forum hosted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), with more than 170 audience participants.

Moving into the future, the NEFRC plans on expanding the tool and exploring options for further utility at the local level. From a planning perspective, the tool has been utilized to support data and analysis sections of local government comprehensive plans; and is currently being used to better inform the work of the Jacksonville City Council, Special Committee on Resiliency.

To check the exposure of a local community asset in Northeast Florida, visit the official webpage for the Regional Resilience Exposure Tool.

Understanding Risk British Columbia (URBC) 2020 Event Series

Join hundreds of engaged planners, engineers, policy-makers researchers, students, and citizens for a fabulous online event series Understanding Risk British Columbia (URBC) 2020!  

This summer and fall, URBC 2020 is offering an amazing mix of online events that foster place-based risk reduction strategies. Each session contributes to enhancing resilience and improving disaster recovery pathways in BC.

Register here.

With over 20 interactive online workshops and insightful webinars, URBC 2020 will explore:

  • Risk reduction ‘big moves’ to support a resilient 2050 in the Lower Mainland

  • Advances in hazard and risk assessments for our region 

  • Coordinated governance of disaster and climate risk management in BC

  • Grounding our resilience through Indigenous approaches to wellness

  • Seismic risk reduction tensions and incentives 

  • Strategies to reduce Fraser River and coastal flood risk in the Lower Mainland

  • Financial incentives for investing in risk reduction and adaptation

  • Development in hazardous areas: challenges and opportunities  

  • And more...

Review the detailed program here.

Register for one fee and get access to over 20 online events that will connect you to the region’s most cutting edge conversations about disaster risk reduction and building resilience.

EESI Comments on Proposed Framework and Themes of Fifth National Climate Assessment


The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) submitted comments in response to the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s (USGCRP) request for public input on the proposed themes and framework of the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5). The comments are available here. According to the Federal Register notice, one of the proposed sections of NCA5 “will identify needs and opportunities for adaptive measures and resiliency planning in the face of observed and projected changes in climate.” It also states that “NCA5 is not a policy document, and therefore will not evaluate policy measures, actions, instruments, or mechanisms to deliver or incentivize either adaptation or mitigation responses at any level of government. Rather, the intention of NCA5 is to inform the Nation, and different regions within the Nation, about near-term adaptation and resiliency needs over the next few decades that are likely to persist regardless of emissions pathway.”

Mandated by the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990, the NCA is a quadrennial assessment of the effects of global change, including the impact on “the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity.”

The comment period closed August 10, but NCA5 is in the early stages of development, with anticipated delivery in 2023. New information will be available here.

Rising to the Occasion

A group of 7th graders in Estes Park, CO have spent the past two school years working to better understand the natural hazards that affect their community – specifically the risk of wildfires – and increase public awareness of those risks by promoting actions that residents can take to reduce the impact of a wildfire to their community. In support of this effort, these young leaders are participating in the RISE Challenge, an innovative partnership among FEMA Region VIII, Resilience Action Partners, the ASFPM Foundation, and Earth Force.

Part classroom learning, part competition, and part summit, the RISE Challenge engages students in the exploration of their communities to determine where they are vulnerable to natural disasters, studying potential mitigation efforts, developing their own ideas for making their community resilient, and taking civic action to bring their ideas to life. The goal of the RISE Challenge is to create a generation of citizens with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to improve community resilience to natural disasters.

The RISE Challenge first appeared as a pilot program in Northern Colorado communities and has grown to six communities and 22 classrooms. Students researched hazard-awareness subjects across the spectrum, such as mitigating flood risks, preparedness planning for students with disabilities, and general community resilience planning. “We learned that forest fires are the responsibility of both the government and community members,” said Olin, a sixth-grade student at Estes Park who has participated in the RISE Challenge.

The RISE Challenge pairs the latest research on the student-learning process with technical expertise and community engagement best practices. Research shows that first-hand involvement in supporting community resilience activities leaves a lasting impact and helps to create a more civically engaged individual, meaning they are more likely to participate as they grow and learn more about community resilience.

When asked how her family reacted to the RISE Challenge concept, Rachel, a seventh grader at Compass Community Collaborative School in Fort Collins, said, “My mom thought it was cool, and my grandma said it was about time someone did something about these things that have been problems for years.”

The success of the RISE Challenge in Colorado has prompted the expansion of the program into Illinois and Montana, partnering with local nonprofits to support local efforts and help students address those risks that threaten their communities. If you would like to learn more about the RISE Challenge or explore bringing the program to your community, reach out to Sarah Pacheco at