June of 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Agnes. In 1972, Agnes wrought havoc in Maryland, resulting in 19 fatalities and damages up to $110 million. The Conowingo Dam experienced its highest flow rate, and towns from Havre de Grace to Ellicott City saw major flooding. Agnes was the nations' most costly natural disaster at the time. The hurricane’s damaging floods led the General Assembly to establish the Comprehensive Flood Management Grant Program (CFMGP) in 1976.
The CFMGP was established to assist local jurisdictions with: “Implementation of those capital projects included within the comprehensive flood management plans; … and Infrastructure repairs, watershed restoration, and emergency protection work associated with a flood event” (Environment Statute §5-802). Statute §5-803 adds that the department, in collaboration with the Department of Planning and the Department of Agriculture, must designate a priority list of watersheds for studies and flood management. The CFMGP aims to protect local citizens from floodwaters and to develop plans to mitigate future flooding. In addition, the CFMGP funds comprehensive watershed studies to better understand flood risks. With climate change resulting in more frequent and intense storms in Maryland, the CFMGP is more relevant now than ever.
The CFMGP coordinates closely with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). MEMA is the lead agency to request federal funds through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), while Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is the lead for CFMGP, a State grant program. Federal Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs (incl. HMGP, BRIC, and FMA grants) may fund up to 75% of the cost of flood mitigation projects, while the remaining 25% can be evenly split between the State CFMGP and the local governments. Since its inception, the CFMGP funded a variety of flood mitigation projects including the acquisition of over 400 flood-prone properties. These projects are typically cost shared with local governments and federal agencies.
When federal funds do not participate in the cost of a project, the CFMGP may fund up to 75% of the cost of the project and the local share would be 25%. Only County and municipal governments are eligible to receive grants from the CFMGP. The government agency must file an application requesting funding, and include evidence of its ability to fund the cost share amount.
Annually, MDE invites Counties and Municipalities to submit applications to request grant funding for projects to mitigate the impact of flooding and climate change. The solicitation period is typically from December 1 through January 31. Complete applications and supporting documents are due to MDE before the close of the solicitation period. Notification that your project was selected will be made after the Maryland General Assembly approves the State’s capital budget. Please Note: It is approximately 1.5 years from the time the application is submitted until the time notification will be made. Grant awards will be made after the Maryland Board of Public Works approval. The link to a sample application is below.
Important CFMGP Links
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230