Funding the Fox Point Beach Drive Coastal Resiliency Project

The Village of Fox Point leveraged FEMA funds to protect a half mile of stormwater infrastructure and utilities along Beach Drive from erosion.


Funding the Fox Point Beach Drive Coastal Resiliency Project


Beach Drive on January 10-11, 2020. Image credit: Village of Fox Point.


In 2023, the Village of Fox Point, Wisconsin began construction along a half-mile stretch of Beach Drive to protect road, stormwater, and utility infrastructure from coastal erosion. Segments of Beach Drive are situated 20-30 feet from the Lake Michigan coastline. Sanitary infrastructure runs adjacent to the coastline – lakeward of the road – and stormwater sewers extend into the Lake.

Fall and winter storm events in 2019 and 2020 caused rapid erosion of the coastline along Beach Drive. Erosion was compounded by rising lake levels. Up to seven feet of coastline was lost over a six-week period threatening and exposing infrastructure. Wave runup and overtopping also caused debris to build up on the road.

The Fox Point Beach Drive Coastal Resiliency Project designed a shore protection structure that could withstand future fluctuating lake levels and safeguard municipal infrastructure.

The Village of Fox Point (the Village) leveraged a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to support the project design and construction. The Village worked with Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) to apply for and administer the grant.

Total Project Cost: $3,595,951


Funding – $2,168,537

The Village was awarded a FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant. This is a legacy grant program replaced by the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. The PDM program was last funded in 2019. Although the PDM grant program is considered a legacy program, it can still be funded through congressionally directed spending. For example, in 2022 and 2023, two projects in Wisconsin were funded through the PDM program.

The FEMA PDM grant covered the project’s estimated design and construction costs. The total cost of both the design and construction was estimated at $2,168,537. The grant provided a 75% federal share to a 25% local match. The local match was secured by the Village through their annual municipal budget.

Federal Share (75%) = $1,626,337

Local Match (25%) = $542,200

Prior to submitting their application in January of 2020, the Village placed temporary protection along the stretch of coastline. This included two layers of concrete blocks along the coastline and around exposed infrastructure. The Village’s grant application was selected for funding through the PDM program in 2020. Following selection, but prior to award, the Village worked with WEM to submit additional required clarifying several points in the application. A full environmental and historic preservation review was also needed before the grant could be administered.

Temporary protection around municipal infrastructure. Image credit: Village of Fox Point.

Supplemental information submitted to WEM/FEMA:

  • July 2020 – North Segment Emergency Design Notes to place the temporary concrete block along the northern section of Beach Drive.
  • October 2020 – supporting documentation to justify/explain the estimated costs included in the grant budget.
  • October 2020 – remove references to “beach nourishment” in the application as FEMA interpreted the meaning differently than the DNR and ACOE.
  • November 2020 –documentation on pre- versus post-award costs included in the budget
  • February 2021 –bathymetric survey.

Pre-Application Documentation & Preliminary Design – $16,000

When seasonal storms picked up in the fall of 2019, the Village contracted Kapur & Associates s. The Village had the consultant continue documenting site conditions from January through March of 2020. The Village used this documentation in their application to FEMA.

Storm sewer along Beach Drive after October 21, 2019 storm event. Image credit: Village of Fox Point.

While the Village worked on providing the supplemental information for their application, they contracted consultants to begin working on the project design. Kapur & Associates also provided the preliminary design for the relocation of the sanitary sewer main.

Temporary Shore Protection Design & Final Revetment Design – $29,000

The Village contracted with Miller Engineers to complete the project design. This included the design of the temporary protection structures as well as the permanent protection solution.

The final design included a rock revetment that minimized the height of the stone by maximizing the slope of the structure. Additionally, a buffer zone of perennial plants was included behind the armor stone.

Final design schematic provided by Village of Fox Point.


In September 2021, the Village received official approval to proceed and had two years to complete the project. Construction began in 2023 to place and grade the armor stone.

Construction of revetment along Beach Drive. Image credit: Village of Fox Point.

Notes on the Application Process

PDM Grant Requirements

While WEM can assist in the application process, the local community must be the grant applicant. In order to be eligible for a PDM or BRIC grant, the community must participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and must have an adopted, FEMA-approved, local hazard mitigation plan.

Below is a list of the components of the PDM grant application.

  • Full scope of work
  • Cost estimates with documentation
  • Engineering and design plans
  • Benefit-cost analysis demonstrating cost-effectiveness
  • Environmental and historic preservation review
  • Non-federal share (match) commitment (i.e., in-kind, state funds, local funds, donations)

The two biggest lifts of the application are typically the benefit-cost analysis and the environmental and historic preservation review. These two steps take the longest, need the most documentation, and require the most work.

The benefit cost-analysis for this project included the following elements:

  • List of project costs and ongoing maintenance costs
  • Engineering report that showed estimated erosion rate and the impacts
  • Estimated cost to repair or replace structures and infrastructure
  • Cost of losing service of water and wastewater
  • Cost of losing service of road

Some projects are difficult to fund through FEMA because there is not enough infrastructure at risk to allow a project to pass the benefit-cost analysis. The two key conditions that contributed to the Village passing their benefit-cost analysis were that (1) Beach Drive is a single access point road to numerous residential structures and (2) municipal utilities adjacent to the road were threatened by the rapid erosion at the site. An engineering report showed the road and utility infrastructure would be compromised in just a few years. Additionally, loss of service of the road would cause people to be out of their homes (requiring them to be placed in hotels) – a detour was not possible in this instance as Beach Drive is a single access point road.

A programmatic environmental assessment was conducted for this project (described further below).


This project inspired FEMA to initiate a Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Great Lakes Shoreline Stabilization Projects which streamlines the environmental review process for FEMA grant applications in Region 5.

Ultimately, this resiliency project protects municipal infrastructure and safe-guards property owners’ access to their homes in Fox Point.

Lessons Learned

  • Documentation of hazard impacts is valuable to demonstrate the need for funding.
  • WEM is a valuable partner in applying for and administering a FEMA grant.
  • Get in touch with the permitting agencies as soon as possible. The permitting process with state and federal agencies can take time.
  • Communication throughout the entire project is key to implementing a successful project and balancing property owner and municipal needs.
  • Revisit your cost estimate multiple times to ensure it realistically anticipates future costs of materials and labor. Once an application is submitted, the budget cannot be modified despite any changes that may increase the project cost.


To learn more about the project, watch the Village of Fox Point and Wisconsin Emergency Management’s presentation from the Spring 2023 CALM Network Meeting.