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Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan

2021 Lower Connecticut River Valley Hazard Mitigation Plan Update

The Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG), with our consultants Dewberry Engineers, Inc., have updated 15 of our 17 communities’ Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans. They are a requirement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for municipalities to apply for FEMA hazard mitigation grants and must be updated every five years to stay eligible for grant funding. The plans provide an important opportunity for communities to come together and assess their ability to withstand and recover from a natural disaster and prioritize actions to mitigate damage caused by future natural disasters.

This plan analyzes the natural hazards that could impact the region, determines risk and vulnerability, and defines actions that will be taken to make our region more resilient to natural disasters.

 FEMA Hazus data for the communities participating in this update:

As part of the municipal plans Hazus data which is a nationally standardized risk modeling methodology was created for each municipality. Each town is linked below to the data that was created using the loss estimation software for floods, hurricanes, and earthquake.  It can be a valuable tool for planning for the aftermath of an event. “It is distributed as free GIS-based desktop software with a collection of inventory databases for every U.S. state and territory. Hazus identifies areas with high risk for natural hazards and estimates physical, economic, and social impacts of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis. The Hazus Program, managed by FEMA’s Natural Hazards Risk Assessment Program, partners with other federal agencies, research institutions, and regional planning authorities to ensure Hazus resources incorporate the latest scientific and technological approaches and meet the needs of the emergency management community.

Hazus is used for mitigation, recovery, preparedness, and response. Mitigation planners, GIS specialists, and emergency managers use Hazus to determine potential losses from disasters and to identify the most effective mitigation actions for minimizing those losses. Hazus supports the risk assessment requirement in the mitigation planning process. Response planners use Hazus to map potential impacts from catastrophic events and identify effective strategies for response and preparedness. Hazus is also used during real-time response efforts to estimate impacts from incoming storms or ongoing earthquake sequences.

Hazus can quantify and map risk information such as:

  • Physical damageto residential and commercial buildings, schools, critical facilities and infrastructure.
  • Economic loss, including lost jobs, business interruptions, and repair and reconstruction costs.
  • Social impacts, including estimates of displaced households, shelter requirements, and populations exposed to floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.
  • Cost-effectivenessof common mitigation strategies, such as elevating structures in a floodplain or retrofitting unreinforced masonry buildings.”

Click here for the recently updated Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans for Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

The updated plan is a multijurisdictional plan with 15 annexes.  One for each community.

Natural hazards are extreme natural events that pose a risk to people, infrastructure, and resources. Hazard mitigation planning and resultant actions reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people, property, and resources from natural hazards and their effects.  Floods, nor’easters, and hurricanes rank amongst the region’s greatest concerns. Although less of a concern the plan will also looks at wild fires, drought, and extreme hot and cold among others.

Hazard mitigation plans look to:

  • Reduce loss of life
  • Reduce damage to property and infrastructure
  • Reduce costs to residents and businesses for things like insurance, repair costs, and taxes
  • Reduce municipal service costs (e.g. emergency response and infrastructure maintenance)
  • Educate residents and policy makers concerning natural hazards and mitigation possibilities
  • Connect hazard mitigation planning activities to other community planning efforts and
  • Enhance and preserve natural resources systems.

Every community is unique but some common mitigation actions include replacement of undersized culverts, flood proofing a school or fire station, purchase of a flood prone property for open space, or creation of educational material concerning natural hazards and mitigation actions for a community’s citizens.

The updates began in December 2019 with a regional planning team meeting and into January 2020 with a visit to each town to review existing plans with municipal staff.  There were opportunities for public involvement through regional public meetings with presentations, a web-based survey, and opportunities to comment on the draft plan into the winter of 2020. The plan was approved by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and FEMA and was adopted by each community and River COG in the summer of 2021. 

fllod susceptibility layerMore Information:

2017 and 2020 Flood  Resiliency Study – Please read the next 3 documents together.  This study was updated as part of this NHMP update and is included as Appendix C and as a new layer to the ArcGIS Map Package.  We are asking for our municipalities to help with ground truthing the data of this research project.

Please send comments or questions to: 

Scott Choquette @ [email protected] , or

Margot Burns @   [email protected]

 

Notice of Funding Opportunity for Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants FY 2021  Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities –  Due 1/28/22

 

                                   

 

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