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Mitigation and Grants


While it is not possible to prevent natural hazards, it is possible to reduce their consequences. We have tools and techniques which, when put into effect in a timely fashion, allow us to avoid the worst-case scenario when a hazard does occur. These tools and techniques are known as mitigation.

The goal of floodplain mitigation is to lessen the impact floods have on people, property, and the environment. In practice, mitigation can take many forms. It can involve actions such as:

  • promoting sound land use planning based on known flood hazards;
  • buying flood insurance to protect your belongings;
  • relocating or elevating structures out of the floodplain;
  • developing, adopting, and enforcing effective building codes and standards; and
  • developing and implementing a plan in your business or community to reduce your susceptibility to hazards.

Floodplain mitigation can be either structural or non-structural. Structural measures keep the floods away from people and buildings, non-structural measures keep the people and buildings away from the floods. Non-structural measures such as zoning or retro-fitting are less expensive than structural measures such as levees. FEMA and Wisconsin Emergency Management are excellent sources for mitigation information.


Municipal flood control grant program

Recognizing that we have a responsibility to protect life, health and property from flood damages, the DNR officers the Municipal Flood Control Grant Program. It is an assistance package to all cities, villages, towns and metropolitan sewerage districts concerned with municipal flood control management. Assistance is provided in two ways:

  • Local assistance grants that support municipal flood control administrative activities; and
  • Acquisition and development grants to acquire and remove floodplain structures, elevate floodplain structures, restore riparian areas, acquire land and easements for flood storage, construct flood control structures and fund flood mapping projects.

Flood mitigation assistance grants

Communities are encouraged to develop flood mitigation plans, which assess flood risk and identify actions to reduce that risk. Floodplain mitigation grants are available to communities that have flood mitigation plans in place and are approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as Wisconsin Emergency Management.

For more information, contact:
Wisconsin Emergency Management

There are two types of grants available to communities:

  • Planning grants - grants to communities to develop or update flood mitigation plans.
  • Project grants - grants to communities to implement measures to reduce flood losses. This could take the form of such things as elevating, relocating, or dry flood-proofing of insured structures.

Hazard mitigation grants

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) assists state and local governments in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following a major disaster declaration.

Objectives of the HMGP are:

  • To prevent future losses of lives and property due to disasters;
  • To implement state or local mitigation plans;
  • To enable mitigation measures to be implemented during immediate recovery from a disaster; and
  • Provide funding for mitigation measures that benefit the disaster area.

Grants provide up to 87.5% of the eligible costs (75% funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and 12.5% by the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management.) The remaining 12.5% is a required local match. Federal funding under the HMGP is based on 15% of the federal funds spent on the Public and Individual Assistance programs for each disaster.

Eligible applicants are:

  • state and local governments;
  • Certain private, non-profit organizations or institutions; and
  • Indian tribes or authorized tribal organization.

Examples of eligible projects are:

  • retrofitting, such as flood-proofing;
  • acquisition and relocation of structures from hazard prone areas;
  • development of standards to protect structures; and
  • structural hazard control such as debris basins or floodwalls.

Eligible projects are required to demonstrate:

  • the project is cost/beneficial;
  • the project is environmentally sound;
  • other alternatives have been considered; and
  • the project is the best alternative and will actually solve a problem and is a permanent solution.

Eligible applicants apply for the HMGP through Wisconsin Emergency Management.

For more information, contact:
Wisconsin Emergency Management

Funding for mitigation projects is available from the DNR through Municipal Flood Control Grant Program and from Wisconsin Emergency Management through its Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs.


More information on floodplain management.