Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

MOU between the USGS and FEMA - disaster resistant community

Subject: Project Impact ­ Building a Disaster Resistant Community.
Date Signed: 12/13/2000

Subject: Project Impact ­ Building a Disaster Resistant Community.
Date Signed: 12/13/2000

1. Purpose

The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to establish a formal working relationship between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and FEMA´s Project Impact ­ Building a Disaster Resistant Community. This MOU replaces the MOU between USGS and FEMA establishing the framework for the pursuit of activities of mutual interest dated November 10, 1982.

2. Background

2.1. Federal Emergency Management Agency

The mission of FEMA is to reduce the loss of life and property and protect our institutions from all types of hazards through a comprehensive, risk­based, all-hazards emergency management program of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

FEMA Mitigation ­ Project Impact: Building a Disaster Resistant Community

FEMA´s Project Impact helps communities take steps to become more disaster resistant and sustainable in advance of a natural disaster event such as a flood, hurricane, earthquake, or wildfire. Experience has shown that passing and enforcing strong building codes, making sound choices in community planning, and consistently building safer and stronger buildings saves lives, significantly reduces damage to property, and accelerates economic recovery after a disaster occurs. Project Impact encourages an investment in mitigation in order to improve the economic structure, stability and sustainability of our neighborhoods and communities and to save lives.

Through Project Impact, FEMA has outlined four primary predisaster activities for communities to begin the process of becoming disaster resistant:

  • Building community partnerships and leveraging resources
  • Identifying hazards and community vulnerability
  • Prioritizing and implementing hazard risk-reduction actions
  • Building and communicating success to engender and foster further action

These activities are locally driven and empower communities to determine their needs and priorities and to act on those of greatest importance to them. The Project Impact initiative relies on active and effective partnerships among Federal agencies, State and local governments, volunteer agencies and the private sector to support these local activities by providing technical assistance, funding and resources.

2.2. U.S. Geological Survey

The mission of USGS is to serve the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to:

  • Describe and understand the Earth
  • Minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters
  • Manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources
  • Enhance and protect our quality of life

3. Cooperation and Coordination

3.1. General

In light of their respective missions and the common goal to reduce the loss of life and property from natural disasters, FEMA and USGS recognize the need to maintain coordination at a level that ensures efficient use of organizational resources, consistent with the principles of each Agency. FEMA ­ USGS cooperation may include USGS participation in projects and activities in Project Impact communities, as well as participation in other mitigation and emergency response activities related to flood, earthquake, landslide, volcano and other hazards. Additionally, FEMA may participate in USGS programs, initiatives, and activities. Overall, FEMA and USGS agree, to the extent set forth below, to coordinate their activities and programs as they relate to areas such as:

  • Hazard and Risk Assessments
  • Mitigation and Risk Reduction
  • Preparedness
  • Response and Recovery
  • Land-Use Planning
  • Economic Development

3.2. Coordination of Specific Activities

FEMA and USGS agree to encourage, coordinate, and enhance ongoing relationships between both entities and to hold periodic partnership meetings both at the national and regional levels. Efforts in this area will focus on, but are not limited to, identifying and assessing natural hazards and associated risks, particularly as they relate to FEMA´s Project Impact communities.

FEMA and USGS identify three general types of coordination and cooperation in their activities. These types are:

Type 1. Independent activities of one agency that may be of interest or consequence to the other agency. For these activities, each agency agrees to provide prior notification and periodic status reports to the other agency to the extent practicable.

Type 2. Joint activities agreed to, planned, and executed by both FEMA and USGS to address common objectives within the interests and missions of both. Each agency shall provide the support required to meet its commitments to these joint activities.

Type 3. Activities that are consistent with the mission objectives of each agency, in which participation of both agencies is optimal for completion of the activity, but such participation may not be a program priority for one agency and is reimbursed by the other agency.

4. Implementation

4.1. Addenda

Activities under this MOU shall be implemented through addenda that describe specific activities, programs, projects, and financial arrangements. These addenda shall be incorporated into this Interagency Agreement in the future based upon mutual agreement between FEMA and USGS.

4.2 Points of Contact

Each agency shall appoint an individual representative to serve as a point of contact for matters relevant to this MOU.

4.3 Notification

Each agency will endeavor to inform its employees and constituents of this MOU through its newsletters, Internet Websites, and other communications methods and tools.

5. Authorities

The authorities of USGS to enter into this MOU include:

  • Public Law 99-591 ­ provides in Fiscal Year 1997 and thereafter that USGS has permanent authority to "prosecute projects in cooperation with other agencies, Federal, State and private" (43 U.S.C. 36c).
  • The USGS Organic Act of March 3, 1879, as amended (43 U.S.C. 31 et seq.).
  • Public Law 95-124, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.).

The authorities of FEMA to enter into this MOU include:

  • The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 5121, et seq., 42 U.S.C. 4001, et seq.).
  • The National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.).
  • Public Law 95-124, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.).
  • Public Law 93-498, The Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974, as amended (15 U.S.C. Section 2201, et seq.

The Parties are also authorized to enter into this MOU by the Economy Act of 1932, as amended (31 U.S.C. 1535). To the extent future grants and/or cooperative agreements are issued by FEMA and USGS to any vendor or university, they will be issued pursuant to the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, as amended (31 U.S.C. 6305), OMB Circular A-102 (Grants and Cooperative Agreements with State and Local Governments), and will adhere to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 6.002 and other applicable Federal laws and regulations.

6. Publications and Release of Information

6.1. Publication and Review of Manuscripts

Publications documenting cooperative efforts may be prepared by either FEMA or USGS, or jointly, provided that both agencies have an opportunity to review manuscripts prior to publication. To the extent possible, decisions involving authorship, review of reports, and other conditions and circumstances will be addressed during the preparation of addenda on specific activities under this MOU.

6.2. Resolution of Differences

Should differences arise, both agencies shall make an effort to reconcile them. However, this shall not prohibit either agency from publishing data or information provided it assumes sole responsibility and gives appropriate credit to the other agency.

6.3. Citation and Attribution

The agencies agree that sharing credit is mutually beneficial and will make every effort to assure that appropriate citation and attribution, including the use of official agency visual identifiers, is given for work performed under this MOU.

7. Duration and Termination

This MOU becomes effective on the date of execution, and shall remain in effect for 5 years unless terminated by written notification by either agency to the other. This MOU may be amended or extended by written mutual agreements. This MOU supersedes all previous MOUs between FEMA and USGS.

(signed)                                             (signed)                                             Charles G. Groat
Director
U.S. Geological SurveyJames L. Witt
Director
Federal Emergency Management Agency
December 13, 2000 (signed)                December 13, 2000 (signed)                DateDate