The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security encourages counties and their local governments to maintain natural hazard mitigation plans specific to their region and operations so that those agencies are better prepared for when a disaster strikes. An incentive for maintaining a FEMA-approved natural hazard mitigation plan is that those participating agencies are eligible for FEMA grant funding.
The District, in partnership with Whatcom County and a number of other local governments in the county, first developed a County-specific natural hazard mitigation plan in 2005, which has been revised/updated every five years since in accordance with FEMA review requirements. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the County’s initiation of the most recent update until earlier this year. Since that time, the County and participating agencies, with the assistance of the Western Washington University Resilience Institute, has went through a systematic process of reviewing and updating the plan, which has culminated in FEMA’s recent ruling of Plan Approvable Pending Adoption.
The primary project benefit is that the District maintains its preparation and readiness for ensuring continuity of operations throughout any disruptive event. An ancillary benefit is that, by completing a FEMA-approved plan, the District is eligible for FEMA grants. For example, by having participated in the County’s 2015 plan update, the District was eligible to receive a FEMA hazard mitigation grant supporting the District’s upcoming (2023) Division 7 reservoir replacement (FEMA will fund approximately $1.5 million of the $2 million project).
- January 27, 2021—Plan kick-off meeting of participating agencies
- March 23, 2021—Virtual public meeting No. 1
- April 13, 2021—Virtual public meeting No. 2
- April 30, 2021—Draft Plan complete
- May 11, 2021—Virtual public meeting No. 3
- July 7, 2021—Washington Emergency Management Division approval of Plan
- October 20, 2021—FEMA granted Plan Approvable Pending Adoption status
- November 10, 2021—Plan adopted by District Board of Commissioners
There has been no direct cost to the District; all District-specific work has been completed using District labor.
- None to Date