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Local hazard mitigation plans - preparing for a natural disaster

Mitigate, prepare, respond, recover - local hazard mitigation plan

By: Jordan Blough, Economic Development Specialist

Did you know that in order to be eligible for hazard mitigation assistance, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant funding which focuses on preventing future disasters and is made available following a natural disaster, local governments are required to develop and implement a local hazard mitigation plan (LHMP)? You can find Mendocino County’s multi-jurisdictional plan, which includes the County, incorporated cities, and unincorporated areas on the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services Website. A local hazard mitigation plan provides an overview of the region, an assessment of potential local hazards, including an evaluation of their likelihoods, and sets forth goals and strategies for mitigating or preventing the hazards identified. LHMPs must be approved by both the California Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES) and FEMA prior to being adopted by the local governments in the region in order to qualify for future grant funding. However, access to grant funding is not the only benefit of developing an LHMP. In developing LHMPs, local governments undertake a planning process which allows them to better understand the hazards threatening life, property, the environment, and the local economy, solicit input from the public and other stakeholders on how to best mitigate these threats, and develop a method for determining where best to expend limited local resources on hazard mitigation activities. This planning process also facilitates the adoption of hazard mitigation measures into local regulatory documents and procedures including land use planning policies, zoning codes, and building codes, further increasing the community’s resilience. To stay up to date and in compliance with CAL OES and FEMA requirements, LHMPs must be updated every five years.


Mendocino County’s LHMP was adopted in May 2014, and the document identifies hazards such as dam failure,resiliency drought, earthquake, epidemics, floods, wildland fire, landslides, tsunamis, and hazardous material spills. The plan also includes assessments of the community’s capabilities for addressing hazards and strategies for mitigating those hazards. Mendocino County’s plan will be updated in 2018 and 2019 to comply with five-year update requirements. Following the firsthand experience of the Mendocino County with a disaster on the scale of the Redwood Complex Fire last October, this plan update will provide a vital avenue for improving community resilience in the future. In the coming months, the public will receive opportunities to provide input on all aspects of the LHMP. This public participation is a critical aspect of LHMP development, and the public’s experience and lessons learned following the Redwood Complex Fire will provide invaluable insight in to the community’s needs during the Plan update process. We strongly encourage all interested community members to review the Mendocino County LHMP and submit their comments and concerns during the update process. If you are interested in learning more about LHMP requirements, you can visit the FEMA website for local mitigation planning resources, the Cal OES website for the local hazard mitigation program, or contact the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services directly.


Jordan Blough, Economic Development SpecialistAbout Jordan Blough
Mr. Blough has worked for LACO Associates for over two years as both a Staff Analyst and Economic Development Specialist, providing project coordination, grant writing and proposal development, business development analysis. Mr. Blough  also serves  as a project liaison to both clients and regulatory agencies. Mr. Blough graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in both English and Sociology from the University of California, Davis. His previous work experience includes serving as a Proposal Coordinator for Gary Bess Associates, a specialty grant writing firm in Paradise, California, where he became familiar with the requirements for managing and complying with large private, State, and Federal grant awards for both public agencies and non-profits. Mr. Blough’s grant writing portfolio includes leading or supporting application efforts for over $7.8 million in awards over the past three years, and an additional $3 million in requests are currently pending award decisions. Contact Jordan via email.