Not a Priority: Federal Funding to Improve Flood Forecasting

Dear Dr. Orton:

Thank you for your submission of the proposal [(censored) title relating to improving our Storm Surge Warning System’s forecasting of storm surges] to the [(censored) federal program].

Although your proposal ranked in the top group and was very highly regarded by the review panel, we do not have the funds available this year to fund the project. Since we did not receive the increase from the President’s Budget request, we can only fund a couple of proposals from the [other environmental disaster] priority through [same federal program] [other sub-program] funds.

We are carrying over into fiscal year 2014 the top ranked proposals, including yours, with the expectation that we will fund your proposal in the late summer of 2014 pending the availability of funds. We are likely not going to know what the [federal program] budget is for 2014 until spring of 2014, and all funds are subject to Congressional appropriations. However, we do view this proposal and project to be a strong one that would benefit [federal program] and our federal partners. Thus, we will do our best to honor our commitment in 2014.

A panel of experts reviewed your proposal based on the criteria listed in the Federal Funding Opportunity. I will be sending to you a summary of the comments from the panel when I return to the office in a few weeks.

Thank you for your patience during what is a very busy time of year for us.


[program manger]


Was this a result of the sequester, or did they actually (as implied) plan a funding opportunity purely around the President’s budget request?

This proposal took a week of my time, and several days for several other scientists, all likely for naught. It is very difficult to find funding for academic flood forecasting, especially in the era of the sequester, when little or no judgement is utilized on what is worthy of funding.

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1 Response to Not a Priority: Federal Funding to Improve Flood Forecasting

  1. Condolences or congratulations? I actually would incline toward the latter more than you probably would at the moment. We get this kind of thing all the time, and in my experience people in the funding agencies at this level usually mean what they say (that doesn’t mean they can always perform down the road). They do not hesitate to say “no” if they actually mean “no”.

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