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Local Hazard Mitigation Planning

The Hazard Mitigation Plan Committee  Conduct a Goal Development Meeting.

The City of Tracy is currently taking steps to update its Hazard Mitigation Plan according to federal and state guidelines.
We will continue to update this webpage as part of our ongoing effort and encourage the public to participate throughout the process by attending meetings and offering constructive input.

What is Hazard Mitigation

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines hazard mitigation as, “any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.” Another way to understand hazard mitigation is as the prevention component of the emergency management process. 

  • Preparedness activities are the emergency plans, training, drills, and exercises that individuals, communities and first responders participate in on almost daily basis. These are things done to get ready for an emergency or disaster before it happens.

  • Response is the short-term, emergency actions taken to address the immediate impacts of a hazard.

  • Recovery is the longer-term process of restoring the community back to normal or pre-disaster conditions.

  • Mitigation activities are actions that will reduce or eliminate losses, for anticipated future events. Mitigation can reduce or eliminate the need for an emergency response and greatly reduce the recovery period.

Many types of mitigation actions are things done on a daily basis without much forethought such as purchasing insurance to protect a vehicle investment, putting on your seatbelt, or putting in gutters around a roof to better direct rain runoff. The same concepts apply to community level hazard mitigation planning. Mitigation planning is a process for county, city, and local governments to identify community-level policies and actions that will reduce the impacts of natural hazards. 

Why is Hazard Mitigation Important?

Most people who live or work in the City of Tracy have been affected by hazards in one way or another. Some of the hazards that can affect the City include extreme heat, localized flooding, wildfire, drought, severe weather, and earthquakes. While the City of Tracy has not experienced recent large-scale natural disasters and emergencies, a wildfire recently closed Highway 580 for hours keeping residents from commuting home from work in the Bay Area and forcing heavy commercial traffic onto city streets. San Joaquin County has had recent emergencies, including severe storms, mudslides, and flooding from storm events that resulted in a presidential disaster declaration in 2017 and extreme drought conditions that resulted in a presidential disaster declaration in 2008. Both the City of Tracy and San Joaquin County also experienced the Loma Prieta Earthquake that resulted in a presidential disaster declaration in 1989 and cost $888 million dollars in damage.  In addition to these large events, there are also smaller, isolated weather events that cause localized property damage and losses significant to the people affected. The planning process will evaluate the potential for future damaging events and work toward solutions to help mitigate their impacts in the future.

Local Hazard Mitigation Plans

The rising costs associated with disaster response and recovery has caused federal, state, and local governments to focus on addressing natural hazards before they occur. The acts of “Mother Nature” cannot be prevented, but through the hazard mitigation planning process the impacts can be identified, which can lead to strategies to reduce and sometimes prevent the impacts altogether. A community comes together as a team (Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee, HMPC) in a facilitated forum to gather data that is then organized into a plan, referred to as a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) for a single-jurisdiction, which identifies goals, objectives and actions pertaining to mitigating impacts from identified natural hazards. As the LHMP is developed, the HMPC reviews the data for accuracy and the public at large has an opportunity to comment and have their comments incorporated before a final draft LHMP is completed. FEMA realizes the importance of mitigation planning and offers incentives to communities that develop one. By following FEMA guidelines for a plan approval process, participating communities can be eligible for grant funding intended for mitigation projects. It is an opportunity for communities to take advantage of funds they would not have been able to tap into previously.

Plan Development Process

The City of Tracy is taking the lead on the preparation of a LHMP with professional planning assistance from Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.  Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. will facilitate the planning process, collect necessary natural hazard data, and perform other technical services, including preparing the risk assessment and LHMP document.

 A planning team will be organized, and will meet on a regular basis, working through varying levels of review, and revision of the following elements of the LHMP:

  • Identify hazards that may impact or have impacted the City;

  • Profiles of hazard events;

  • Assessment of the vulnerability to those hazards;

  • Assessment of the City’s capabilities to mitigate the hazards;

  • Mitigation goals;

  • Specific mitigation actions and projects;

  • Implementation strategy for the plan;

  • Plan maintenance and update process;

  • Plan approval and adoption.

The planning team will include representatives from various city departments. Stakeholders on the planning team may include representatives from federal and state agencies, and local municipalities.

The planning process began with a kick-off for the first HMPC meeting in September 2018, which will be followed by a Stakeholder’s Workshop on November 14, 2018. The second HMPC meeting is scheduled for December 20, 2018, followed by the third HMPC meeting on February 12, 2019, and an evening Public Workshop. The LHMP will be developed in early 2019, with a draft for public review anticipated by Spring 2019.

How Can You Get Involved?

Members of the public have a very important role in this process. The planning team regards broad public participation in the planning process as an essential strategy for developing a plan that will be effective, supported by residents of the City, and ultimately implemented. The process will provide a range of opportunities for the City and its citizens, public officials, and stakeholder groups to participate and give input in the plan update. Interested stakeholders should pay attention to the City of Tracy’s LHMP website for updates on the process.

Community members participate in our LHMP online survey at the Downtown Tracy Farmers' Market

For more information on the City of Tracy's LHMP or the planning process, please contact:

City of Tracy
Karin Schnaider
Finance Director/LHMP Project Manager
Phone: (209) 831-6841
 
Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.
Juliana Prosperi, AICP
Project Manager
Phone: (303) 503-7794
 
 
 

 

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