Weigh in on hazard mitigation plan for county

Weigh in on hazard mitigation plan for county
Posted on 07/16/2018

La Plata County staff and key stakeholders have been working for over nine months to develop an update to the hazard mitigation plan that was created in 2013.  The goal of the planning effort is to revisit natural hazard information and update to account for changes in population and occurrences of natural disasters in the planning area.  This is effort is two-fold; first, it assists in reduction of repetitive damages to community infrastructure, and secondly, the county will maintain eligibility for grants under Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance program.

Please take a brief survey to help shape the mitigation plan!

The county’s hazard mitigation plan provides a formal explanation of prevalent hazards within the county and how hazards may affect communities differently.  Most importantly, the mitigation strategy presented in the plan responds to the known vulnerabilities within each community and provides prescriptions or actions to achieve the greatest reduction of natural hazard risk.  The end result of this planning effort could result in saved lives, reduced injuries, reduced property damage, and protection for the environment in the event of a natural hazard within the county.

 “This will plan will assist the county to receive grant funding for construction of flood/ erosion control infrastructure, fuel reduction and other mitigation measures to reduce damages from storm events similar to the Crestview Ditch Project over the last few years,” said Ethan Mobley, Owner of Dynamic Planning + Science, the consultant hired by La Plata County.

Starting in July of 2017, county staff hired consultant Dynamic Planning + Science to initiate the planning effort by mapping hazards across the region and worked to identify people, critical facilities, and property values within each hazard area.  This step is the first in a series of tasks to understand the vulnerabilities within the county and update the planning efforts conducted in 2013.

The planning effort includes analysis of natural hazards within unincorporated county areas and the incorporated areas of Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio.  In addition, the planning effort is assisting each fire protection district within the county to understand wildfire vulnerabilities for the communities they protect.

Based on the outcomes of the new vulnerability assessment, the county will revisit mitigation strategies and create new mitigation actions to reduce community vulnerabilities.  Mitigation actions range from increased public education and awareness efforts to actual structural projects to reduce impacts of hazards.  Structural projects could range from flood control infrastructure and bridge replacements to utility upgrades intended to lessen the impacts of natural hazard events.

Over the coming months the county stakeholders will finalize newly developed mitigation action strategies based upon stakeholder and public consensus.  To establish public perceptions on local hazards and mitigation strategies, the county developed a short community survey.  Anyone who completes the survey by July 31 will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a variety of donated prizes. The results of this short survey will help the County and participating jurisdictions prioritize mitigation actions and assist County and City officials to establish incentives for mitigation of hazards near your home.

Survey responders will be entered to win a grand prize of a $300 Stihl power tool voucher redeemable at Kroegers Ace Hardware or Southwest Ag Inc.  Power tools are a great way to reduce vegetation around homes for wildfire mitigation and reduce the unwieldy branches that cause damage to property or utility outages during severe storms.  For more information on the planning effort or the survey please visit http://mitigatehazards.com/la-plata-hmp/