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Hazard Mitigation

Hazard mitigation is an important part of Emergency Management. Hazard mitigation is any action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to life and property from future disasters and helps to reduce the costs of recovering from a disaster. Hazard mitigation works towards finding long-term solutions that reduce the impacts of disasters.

About the St. Mary's County Hazard Mitigation Plan

The St. Mary's County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan applies to all areas of the county, including the Town of Leonardtown. The plan recommends hazard risk reduction measures that will minimize losses to life and property affected by the natural hazards that face the County. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires hazard mitigation plans to be updated every five years. Section 409 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 93-288, as amended), Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), as amended by Section 102 of DMA 2000, provided the framework for state and local governments to evaluate and mitigate all hazards as a condition for receiving federal disaster assistance. A major requirement of the law is the development of a local hazard mitigation plan.

What is the purpose of the Hazard Mitigation Plan?

The purpose of this plan is to identify, plan, and implement cost-effective hazard mitigation measures through a comprehensive approach known as hazard mitigation planning.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

As part of the plan update process, a Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA) is completed for the County. Twelve (12) natural hazards have been identified and a hazard risk has been assigned to each. The HIRA only includes natural hazards as they lend themselves better to data collection related to geographic extent than technological and man-made hazards.

  • Hurricane, Tropical Storms, & Storm Surge
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Shoreline Erosion
  • Winter Storm
  • Flood
  • Wind
  • Tornado
  • Drought & Extreme Heat
  • Emerging Infectious Disease
  • Wildfire
  • Thunderstorm
  • Dam Failure

For more information on the hazards identified in the St. Mary's County HIRA, visit

Hazard Mitigation Planning Board

Following the adoption of the 2017 St. Mary's County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, the Commissioners of St. Mary's County officially established the St. Mary's County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee, which is now the Hazard Mitigation Planning Board (HMPB). The HMPB was established to institutionalize hazard mitigation planning and resiliency.

The purpose of the HMPB is to advise the Commissioners of St. Mary's on all matters relating to planning and mitigation due to natural hazards, community outreach, coordination of resources and agencies, and other issues relating to hazard mitigation that the Commissioners of St. Mary's County or the HMPB deems appropriate.

The Department of Emergency Services (DES) is the lead agency for hazard mitigation planning efforts in St. Mary's County.

Visit the Hazard Mitigation Planning Board page for more details on the HMPB and for information on the HMPB meeting schedule.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides funding for eligible mitigation measures that reduce disaster losses through their Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants. Visit FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants page for more information.

St. Mary's County residents whose homes are at high-risk for flood damage can inquire about applying for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program.

Please read below before inquiring about the FMA grant program:

The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program is a highly competitive grant program. The St. Mary's County Department of Emergency Services (DES) can apply on behalf of an interested homeowner as a subrecipient of the grant funding received from FEMA by the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM). Projects are selected based on the eligibility, ranking, and cost-effectiveness of the project. Projects submitted by St. Mary's County DES are first ranked by MDEM and then by FEMA to determine if they will receive funding. Submission of an application does not guarantee funding.

Eligibility and Requirements

  • Home must be actively insured through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
  • Home must be located within a flood zone
  • Homeowner must be willing and able to commit to providing 25% of the total project cost in an escrow account upon approval of the project (FMA grants have a cost share requirement of 75% federal and 25% non-federal)

Documents required prior to applying

  • Elevation Certificate
  • A copy of the NFIP Declaration
  • Documentation of previous losses due to flooding (if applicable)

Application process

  1. Contact with all required documents listed above and stating your interest in applying for FMA grant funding.
  2. Emergency Management staff will connect with you regarding the next available application cycle for funding and any additional requirements. The grant is offered on an annual basis, and due dates are communicated each year based on fund availability from FEMA.
  3. Emergency Management staff will work with you to obtain project proposals and additional required documentation and will submit the application on your behalf.

Please note, the application is only offered once per year and the application process may take several months. Once submitted, it may take approximately a year for the project to be approved or not. If the project is approved, it may take an additional year for funding to be released so the project work can begin.