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Statement: The mission of Benton County Career and Technical Center is to facilitate learning of all students, regardless of ability, in a safe and supportive environment in which each student will be provided with knowledge and entry level skills for occupations or higher education in which they can be lifelong learners, leading fulfilling and productive lives. These maps were created by FEMA for the National Flood Insurance Program and became effective on October 2, 2009. Kentwood, Mich., July 22, 2013 --Gary Ferrara, Information Technology Specialist, programs a FEMA computer for new local hire Annika van Raalte.
It devastated more than 90,000 square miles and billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure. The storm destroyed a countless number of homes and displaced approximately 1.4 million people to create the largest housing crisis since the 1930s Dust Bowl.
The catastrophe presented enormous emergency management challenges.FEMA partnered with the National Park Service to use Geographic Information System, or GIS, technology to document more than 40,000 homes in 15 New Orleans historic districts.
Founded in 1718 by French colonists, New Orleans became part of the United States in 1803 following a 40-year Spanish reign and a brief return as a possession of France. The historic and culturally diverse factors are an important part of the city’s character and charm that attract visitors from around the world.The aftermath of the storm posed major threats to the city’s cultural treasures. Some original recovery plans called for an irreversible change to the city by proposing to demolish many historic properties.
Preserving these assets became essential to the state’s recovery. Environmental and Historic PreservationFEMA’s Office of Environmental and Historic Preservation along with local and state officials worked together to find innovative solutions to preserve the historic integrity in one of America’s most unique cities as it rebuilt. As a result, many of these solutions have since been used on federal disaster responses across the nation.Environmental and Historic Preservation is a program responsible for integrating environmental and historic preservation considerations into FEMA’s mission of preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. Together with local, state, tribal and federal partners, they provide expertise to ensure legal compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and several other federal laws and executive orders during disaster recovery.Finding Demolition AlternativesFEMA facilitated the salvage of nearly 3,000 historic architectural items from demolished homes like these mantles and window frames.
City and state officials can now easily access the maps and use the data for historic research and planning.

Also, hazard mitigation planners can consult the Geographic Information System data to maximize historic property protection from future disaster events.
FEMA has since used GIS technology to improve reviews in other federal disasters.FEMA also funded Environmental and Historic Preservation archaeological surveys of New Orleans city parks. The surveys determined land-use history and suitability for future disaster response like debris staging or temporary housing or reconstruction of the infrastructure.
The surveys recorded historic significance that should help manage the parks in the present and will help recovery during future disasters. The city now has detailed history of its parks for the first time and knows what areas contain cultural significance that require more sensitive handling.Engaging the Community and Tribal PartnersFEMA has taken a proactive approach to seek community input concerning historic and environmental matters before funding a variety of recovery projects, like schools and hospitals. Since FEMA began funding projects in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, it has increasingly opened the review process to those who know the historic and environmental resources and have a vested interest in the outcome: the local communities and organizations. Environmental and Historic Preservation regularly consults with community and neighborhood groups to discuss FEMA funded-projects.
The items were discovered during an archaeological survey to determine land use suitability for disaster response-related operations. For instance, Fort Pike and Jackson Barracks are New Orleans sites significant to some American Indian tribes. Environmental and Historic Preservation has engaged tribal governments to minimize adverse effects of recovery projects there.The transparency enhances relationships FEMA has with communities and tribal partners. It also helps streamline the Environmental and Historic Preservation review process, resulting in faster recovery dollars.
Engagement also ensures federal dollars are used wisely and gathers information to avoid or minimize negative effects to historic properties and the environment.A Federal PartnershipHurricane Katrina’s magnitude required many federal agencies in addition to FEMA to assist in the recovery. Federal agencies providing recovery funds often performed their own environmental and historic preservation reviews for the same project.

However, federal agencies coordinated to enhance the Environmental and Historic Preservation process during Louisiana recovery.FEMA formed partnerships with other federal agencies to streamline Environmental and Historic Preservation reviews and avoid duplication. For example, the agency worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs to streamline the Environmental and Historic Preservation review for the new Medical Center of Louisiana and VA hospital campus that encompasses 25 blocks in Mid-City New Orleans, a district listed in the National Register of Historic Places.Coordination efforts like the work done at the New Orleans hospital campus helped lay the groundwork of Unified Federal Review.
Unified Federal Review provides a framework across the nation for federal agencies to consolidate Environmental and Historic Preservation reviews as a team effort rather than individually. The unified approach eliminates needless duplication, saves time, results in faster decisions on federally-funded activities, and expedites recovery for communities. Ten Years of Recovery Becomes Model Across the CountryNew Orleans’ recovery has been a collaborative effort. The city, American Indian tribes, the state and other federal agencies have all played integral roles to maximize the preservation of its historic resources while streamlining the recovery process. The collaboration includes 10 years of archaeological and building surveys and design reviews of historic renovations and new construction. This teamwork has resulted in increased preservation of the Crescent City’s historic and cultural fabric.The original recovery solutions the Environmental and Historic Preservation team has undertaken in Louisiana have been adopted by the agency in other disaster recoveries across the country. Geographic Information System technology, increased community engagement and unified federal agency reviews on historic resources — all having roots in Louisiana recovery — have been utilized by FEMA during disaster recovery across the country. This has made federal disaster recovery more efficient and enhanced efforts to preserve the country’s precious historic resources like EHP has successfully done in New Orleans.As Louisiana recovery progresses, the FEMA Environmental and Historic Preservation team continues to implement these innovative and enhanced practices.

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