Event Title

Planning for resilient coastal communities in Washington state

Presentation Abstract

Washington State is vulnerable to natural hazards such as avalanches, droughts, earthquakes, floods, landslides, severe storms, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildland fires. Coastal communities in Washington, many of which include tribal governments, are particularly vulnerable to hazards (e.g., floods) due to climate change. Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMPs) represent critical tools that emphasize the importance of hazard mitigation for reducing vulnerability, improving preparedness, and fostering resilience in the face of natural and climate-induced threats. Reducing the vulnerability of critical facilities (hospitals, fire and police stations, etc.) is a strategy for successful hazard mitigation efforts and community resilience. Along with the state and several tribes and municipalities, 36 of Washington’s 39 counties have prepared HMPs. However, the quality of the plans varies, and plan implementation is challenging. Using document analysis and a survey, our Sea Grant funded project explored HMPs using several components of plan quality (vision statement; fact base; planning process; goals and objectives; coordination and capabilities; mitigation policies and actions; and implementation). In addition, a statewide survey explored factors that contribute to plan quality, as well as factors that facilitate or hinder plan implementation. Our findings indicate that several coastal community HMPs exhibit characteristics of high-quality plans. However, survey responses suggest several barriers to the implementation of these plans, reducing their contributions to overall community resilience. For example, nearly 90% of respondents from coastal counties reported that they lack the resources (e.g., time, funding, personnel) to carry out the planned mitigation strategies. Improving HMP quality is one key step towards increasing coastal community resilience, yet this must be accompanied by effective plan implementation. Implications and recommendations for planners, hazard mitigation professionals and others involved in coastal community resilience efforts are discussed.

Session Title

Panel: Towards Resilience Through a Socio-Ecological Paradigm

Conference Track

SSE8: Policy, Management, and Regulations

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE8-9

Start Date

4-4-2018 3:30 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 3:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 3:30 PM Apr 4th, 3:00 PM

Planning for resilient coastal communities in Washington state

Washington State is vulnerable to natural hazards such as avalanches, droughts, earthquakes, floods, landslides, severe storms, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildland fires. Coastal communities in Washington, many of which include tribal governments, are particularly vulnerable to hazards (e.g., floods) due to climate change. Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMPs) represent critical tools that emphasize the importance of hazard mitigation for reducing vulnerability, improving preparedness, and fostering resilience in the face of natural and climate-induced threats. Reducing the vulnerability of critical facilities (hospitals, fire and police stations, etc.) is a strategy for successful hazard mitigation efforts and community resilience. Along with the state and several tribes and municipalities, 36 of Washington’s 39 counties have prepared HMPs. However, the quality of the plans varies, and plan implementation is challenging. Using document analysis and a survey, our Sea Grant funded project explored HMPs using several components of plan quality (vision statement; fact base; planning process; goals and objectives; coordination and capabilities; mitigation policies and actions; and implementation). In addition, a statewide survey explored factors that contribute to plan quality, as well as factors that facilitate or hinder plan implementation. Our findings indicate that several coastal community HMPs exhibit characteristics of high-quality plans. However, survey responses suggest several barriers to the implementation of these plans, reducing their contributions to overall community resilience. For example, nearly 90% of respondents from coastal counties reported that they lack the resources (e.g., time, funding, personnel) to carry out the planned mitigation strategies. Improving HMP quality is one key step towards increasing coastal community resilience, yet this must be accompanied by effective plan implementation. Implications and recommendations for planners, hazard mitigation professionals and others involved in coastal community resilience efforts are discussed.