U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Ellicott City is an unincorporated town in Howard County, Maryland. Founded in 1772 at the bottom of a valley by Johan and Joseph Ellicott, specifically to harness the power of the Tiber and Patapsco Rivers to power the brothers’ mills, the terrain of the city includes steep inclines and an abundance of nonporous granite. The town has been prone to flooding since its founding, with most previous floods originating from the Patapsco River at the bottom of the valley and spreading into the city.

Project Goal: Evaluate the impact that pre-disaster planning and community participation had on shaping economic recovery after a dangerous flood in a historic city.

Howard County’s Six Guiding Principles for Recovery

  1. Healing: Foster the healing process for community members through the access of a wide range of social and financial resources.
  2. Economy: Expedite business recovery and restore long-term economic growth.
  3. Stability: Find immediate and long-term housing solutions for residents displaced by the flooding.
  4. Rebuilding: Rebuild Historic Ellicott City with an emphasis on resilient infrastructure through flood mitigation.
  5. Preservation: Preserve Historic Ellicott City’s unique and cherished architectural characteristics that have always attracted visitors.
  6. Environment: Pursue and implement projects that ensure the continued vitality of our natural resources in pursuit of sustainable quality of life.

U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Billions of dollars of new funding were directed to FEMA to help communities face the threat of terrorism. Just a few years past its 20th anniversary, FEMA was actively directing its "all-hazards" approach to disasters toward homeland security issues. In March 2003, FEMA joined 22 other federal agencies, programs and offices in becoming the Department of Homeland Security. The new department, headed by Secretary Tom Ridge, brought a coordinated approach to national security from emergencies and disasters - both natural and man-made.


Adaptation Phase
Sharing Lessons
Community / Local
Sector Addressed
Development (socioeconomic)
Disaster Risk Management
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Create stakeholder engagement processes to develop and implement adaptation strategies
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Develop disaster preparedness plans and policies
Governance and Policy
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
North America
United States