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In cases where the damage and debris are so extensive that it exceeds local and state capabilities, FEMA can assign the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a mission to provide debris management assistance in support of the National Response Framework.

There are no “typical” debris management missions, but generally, there are 3 types of FEMA mission assignments:

1) Direct Federal Assistance – The Corps undertakes the debris management mission, as assigned by FEMA. Direct Federal Assistance missions may consist of one or more of the following tasks:
  • Right of Way Debris Removal
  • Emergency Clearance
  • Private Property Debris Removal
  • Demolition
  • Debris Removal from Drainage Structures
  • Waterway Debris
 2) Technical Assistance – The Corps provides assistance to local governments in developing debris removal contracts and assisting with environmental issues, as well as training and coordination of FEMA and local government debris monitors.

3) Federal Operations Support – The Corps provides oversight for FEMA of state and local debris operations.

Key Points on Debris Management
  • The 2005 hurricane season became the largest debris mission undertaken by the Corps of Engineers. The Corps managed the removal of 72 million cubic yards of debris in Louisiana and Mississippi, enough to fill 18 Louisiana Superdomes.
  • As a result of Hurricane Ike in 2008, the Corps supported 546 jurisdictions in 46 Texas counties with debris removal monitoring and technical assistance, and removed 70,000 cubic yards of debris from the Louisiana parishes of Cameron and Vermilion.
  • The Corps has Advance Contract Initiative debris contracts awarded in six different regions that can be quickly mobilized after a disaster.
  • There are seven Debris Planning and Response Teams located in district offices in Baltimore, Ft. Worth, Louisville, Mobile, New Orleans, Portland and Sacramento.