Federal Disaster Declaration DR-4520 (COVID-19)

On March 13, 2020, the President declared the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration for all states, tribes, territories and the District of Columbia. The incident period began January 20, 2020 and is currently ongoing.

Under this national declaration (EM-3454) State, Territorial, Tribal, local governmental entities and certain private-non-profit (PNP) organizations will be eligible to apply for Public Assistance for Category B Protective Measures. These measures may include emergency protective measures take to respond to the COVID-19 emergency at the direct or guidance of public health officials and other necessary emergency protective measures for activities taken in response to the COVID-19 incident.

Officials are encouraged to take appropriate actions that are necessary to protect public health and safety in accordance to public health guidance.

Applicant Briefing Materials:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA)

The FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grant program provides assistance to State, Tribal, and local governments and certain types of private non-profit (PNP) organizations to help reimburse costs associated with damage to public infrastructure such as roads and bridges. FEMA funds the program, which WEM administers in the state. In order to be eligible for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the event must overwhelm state and local response and recovery efforts, meet countywide damage thresholds ($4.10per capita) and meet a statewide damage threshold ($1.63 per capita) of $9,606,760.34 using the 2020 census. Once approved by the President, FEMA provides 75% reimbursement of eligible documented costs, the State of Wisconsin provides up to 12.5% of eligible documented costs, and the local government’s share is 12.5%. To request a federal disaster declaration, the Governor must request FEMA to come to the impacted county or counties and conduct a damage assessment of damaged public infrastructure such as roads and bridges. A FEMA inspector will determine if the damage is eligible under the federal program. The information gathered from a damage assessment will be provided to the Governor who will then request the President to approve a federal disaster declaration.

FEMA’s Public Assistance Program is guided by the  Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended.

Questions about the FEMA PA Program can be directed to the WEM Public Assistance Recovery Section at  DMAWEMPublicAssistance@widma.gov

Post Award Guidance

State Resources

Federal Resources

Mitigation Funding Provided through Section 406 of the Stafford Act

The FEMA PA program provides funding to restore a damaged facility to its pre-disaster design, function, and capacity; however, during the repair work, opportunities to mitigate future damages in cost-effective ways often present themselves. The Section 406 Mitigation Program provides funding to an applicant to reduce potential of future, similar disaster damages. Some examples of this would include:

  • Upsizing a repetitively washed out culvert
  • Replacing a metal culvert with a cement culvert
  • Elevating a road surface
  • Elevation of equipment and control in a wastewater treatment plant
  • Burying of overhead power lines
  • Installing gabion baskets, riprap, or geotextile fabric to reduce or control erosion on a steep slope


There are different means to determine cost-effectiveness of particular mitigation measures. FEMA must approve proposed hazard mitigation projects before they can be incorporated. If you would like to include hazard mitigation into an open or future project, please contact our office for more information. Section 406 provides discretionary authority to fund mitigation measures in conjunction with the repair of the disaster-damaged facilities. These opportunities usually present themselves during the repair efforts. The mitigation measures must be related to eligible disaster-related damages and must directly reduce the potential for future, similar disaster damages to the eligible facility. This work is performed on the parts of the facility that were actually damaged by the disaster and the mitigation provides protection from subsequent events. Mitigation measures must be cost-effective, technically feasible, and in compliance with statutory, regulatory, and executive order requirements. In addition, the measure cannot cause a negative impact to the facility’s operation or surrounding areas, or susceptibility to damage from another hazard. 

Section 406 hazard mitigation funding and Section 404 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding are two distinct programs that can sometimes be used together to more completely fund a hazard mitigation project and promote resilience. Section 406 mitigation funding can be used to restore parts of the facility that were actually damaged by the disaster to provide protection from subsequent events. Section 404 funding can then be used to provide future protection to the undamaged parts of the facility. Leveraging 404 and 406 funds in a concerted effort facilitates project scoping and development while extending the use of limited 404 funds. 

Additional information can be found on
Mitigation Resources