MVC works for disaster preparation grants
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) is working to prepare a pre-disaster mitigation plan designed to prepare the Island to cope with natural disasters such as floods, storm surge, or wildfire.
According to Jo-Ann Taylor of the MVC, significant federal grants are available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to protect shore defenses, public facilities, and critical infrastructure. Grant money can also be used for emergency equipment, shelters, communication, and education.
Pre-disaster preparation is a good thing to do for its own sake, Ms. Taylor says, but the grants are a strong incentive. She points to the small town of Wellfleet, which recently received nearly $2 million in federal and matching funds for strengthening harbor revetments.
In order to qualify for grants, the Island must have a plan in place that has been approved by each town, by the county, and by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), which is why the MVC is working to prepare such a plan.
The MVC has been holding public meetings since the start of the year. The most recent, held last week, added individual town plans to the previously presented overall planning. The up-to-date version is available on the MVC web site (mvcommission.org). The MVC will continue to accept written comments through today.
The present cycle of planning considers only natural disasters such as hurricanes or forest fires, because that is the area for which FEMA funding is available. Terrorism or accidents at the nearly Pilgrim nuclear power plant are not part of the present effort. According to Ms. Taylor, there are no plans anywhere for the probably impossible task of evacuating Martha's Vineyard in the event of a major disaster, natural or man-made.