Public meeting Jan. 17 about county’s hazard mitigation plan

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

A public meeting will be held on Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. in the Crawford County Highway Department conference room near Seneca about the county’s multi-hazard mitigation plan. 

The county has had such a plan for years, but the meeting is about gaining public input for the development of an updated plan, and also to give information about hazard risk assessment research and some projects that have been identified to help reduce future damages and losses from hazards.

The updated plan will be for the years 2019 through 2023.

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Jim Hackett said the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission (MRRPC) was contracted to conduct the research.

The plan will go before the full county board at their February meeting.

A hazard mitigation plan gives details about the county’s likelihood of experiencing various natural disasters and what the county’s response would be. Also in the plan will be options to help prevent or lessen damages from such disasters.

Disasters can include, but are not limited to, floods, a variety of heavy storms, heavy snow, tornadoes, dam failure, wildfires, extreme cold, extreme heat, drought, landslides, fog, sinkholes opening, pandemic flu, and railroad and river traffic. 

Villages and townships in the county helped to develop the plan by responding to four surveys and holding various meetings. A copy of the final draft of the plan can be found at www.crawfordcountywi.org/land-conservation-home.

In February 2016, the county received word that they were awarded a $40,000 planning grant to update their Multi-Hazards Mitigation Plan. FEMA will provide 75 percent ($30,000) of the funds, and the remaining 25 percent ($10,000) will be provided by local match. In April 2016, the MRRPC signed a contract with Crawford County that called for the MRRPC to prepare the plan and provide most of the local matching share.

Due to reductions in budgets and loss of state aids, most projects listed the Crawford County Multi-Hazards Mitigation Plan 2012-2016 have been carried over or deferred to the new proposed plan.

Numerous projects are listed in Chapter 4 of the draft plan, and Dave Bonifas, community development planner for the MRRPC, said public input is especially sought regarding projects by which disasters can be perhaps prevented.

“The plan is a document that lists 19 natural and two man-made hazards that could affect Crawford County,” said Bonifas. “The plan lists the historical occurrences of these hazards, where they occurred, the amount of damages they cause and what is the likelihood of them occurring again. The most important part of the plan is a list of potential mitigation projects that would alleviate the loss of life or structures in the event one of these hazards occurring.”

The plan was prepared by the MRRPC through a cooperative cost sharing agreement with the Crawford County Board of Supervisors, the MRRPC, the Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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