Why should your community do Hazard Mitigation Planning?
The purpose of mitigation planning is to identify policies and actions that can be implemented over the long term to reduce risk and future losses. Mitigation Plans form the foundation for a community's long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.
Local governments benefit from Mitigation Planning by:
- Identifying cost effective actions for risk reduction that are agreed upon by stakeholders and the public
- Focusing resources on the greatest risks and vulnerabilities
- Building partnerships by involving people, organizations, and businesses
- Increasing education and awareness of hazards and risk
- Communicating priorities to state and federal officials
- Aligning risk reduction with other community objectives
There are also financial benefits for communities that have a FEMA-approved LHMP:
- A FEMA-approved LHMP is required for local governments that wish to receive federal funds from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) programs.
- The LHMP is also one of the mitigation actions needed to qualify for additional post-disaster funding through the Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF).
What is my community’s LHMP status?
The Expanded Community Report on Vermont’s Flood Ready website shows your community’s LHMP status.
- Visit the Expanded Community Report page
- Choose your town using the drop-down menu
- Click search
- A chart will open in a new window where you will find (under Flood Hazard Mitigation Actions): 4. Local Hazard Mitigation Plan and ERAF Status which will say:
- “Yes” if your town LHMP has been approved by the local community, and is approved or in the process of securing final approval by FEMA
- “No” if your town does not have a LHMP or it has expired and is not yet in the process of being updated.
The first LHMPs received FEMA approval in 2004. In July 2015 34% of Vermont communities have an approved LHMP; and 56% are eligible for ERAF funding.
What are the LHMP Requirements?
All LHMPs must meet the planning elements listed in the Local Mitigation Plan Review Tool in order to receive FEMA approval.
What is the process for receiving FEMA approval of my LHMP?
Most communities work with their Regional Planning Commission (RPC) to secure funding and prepare their LHMP. The development process engages a cross-section of the community. Find your community’s RPC
FEMA’s Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide describes what is required for an LHMP to receive formal FEMA approval, and both DEMHS and FEMA use the Local Mitigation Plan Review Tool to review LHMPs for completeness. DEMHS has created a list of Steps for Approval to serve as an overview of the LHMP process.
Drafts are routed by your community’s lead planner (this position could be held by a community or RPC staff person) to the State Hazard Mitigation Officer at DEMHS for an initial completeness review. DEMHS may request additional information in the LHMP in order to meet FEMA’s requirements. Upon completion of any state requests DEMHS submits the LHMP to mitigation planners at FEMA Region 1 in Boston. FEMA mitigation planners may also request additional information in the LHMP to meet their requirements.
When the draft has satisfied FEMA’s review FEMA will indicate “approved pending adoption by the community”. After the plan is adopted by the community FEMA will then issue final approval. The LHMP is valid for five years from the date of final FEMA approval.
Upon submittal of the first draft to DEMHS the entire review process can take anywhere from 6-12 months, and sometimes even longer.
What funding opportunities exist to develop my LHMP?
Communities often work with their Regional Planning Commission to secure funding through HMGP or PDM. A community can also apply directly to HMGP or PDM to develop the LHMP themselves, or to hire a private planning consultant.
Additional funding opportunities for LHMPs and other mitigation activities are described here on the FloodReady.vermont.gov webpage.
What is the connection between LHMPs and the Flood Resilience planning requirement in Municipal Plans?
Under State statute communities may refer to their LHMP as contributing to addressing the requirements of the flood resilience section of municipal plans.
The requirements of a LHMP for FEMA and the flood resilience element of a Municipal Plan under state statute are related but not identical.
- LHMPs may address several types of hazards and are particularly oriented to identifying problematic areas of the community for future mitigation action.
- The flood resilience section of the Municipal Plan is oriented to protecting existing landscape features that already function for the community, before focusing on location-specific “fixes”.
(Cited from FloodReady.vermont.gov, Local Hazard Mitigation Plan webpage.)
For more information about meeting the Flood Resilience Element of Municipal Plans and to see examples visit FloodReady.vermont.gov at the Flood Resilience Element webpage and the Example Flood Reslience Plan Elements webpage.
What is the current State Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP)?
- Local Hazard Mitigation Plans (Flood Ready Vermont)