Task 6 Requirements
The hazard mitigation strategy shall include a description of mitigation goals to reduce or avoid long-term vulnerabilities to the identified hazards.
44 CFR §201.6(c)(3)(i)
The hazard mitigation strategy shall include a section that identifies and analyzes a comprehensive range of specific mitigation actions and projects being considered to reduce the effects of each hazard, with particular emphasis on new and existing buildings and infrastructure.
44 CFR §201.6(c)(3)(ii)
The hazard mitigation strategy shall include an action plan, describing how the actions identified will be prioritized, implemented, and administered by each local jurisdiction. Prioritization shall include a special emphasis on the extent to which benefits are maximized according to a cost benefit review of the proposed projects and their associated costs.
44 CFR §201.6(c)(3)(iii)
For multi-jurisdictional plans, there must be identifiable action items specific to the jurisdiction requesting FEMA approval or credit of the plan.
44 CFR §201.6(c)(3)(iv)
The plan shall include a process by which local governments incorporate the requirements of the mitigation plan into other planning mechanisms such as comprehensive or capital improvements, when appropriate.
44 CFR §201.6(c)(4)(ii)
A local jurisdiction must review and revise its plan to reflect progress in local mitigation efforts.
44 CFR §201.6(d)(3)
A local jurisdiction must review and revise its plan to reflect changes in priorities.
44 CFR §201.6(d)(3)
The heart of the mitigation plan is the mitigation strategy, which serves as the long-term blueprint for reducing the potential losses identified in the risk assessment. The mitigation strategy describes how the community will accomplish the overall purpose, or mission, of the planning process. Task 6 provides suggestions for developing a new or updating an existing mitigation strategy.
FEMA requires that the mitigation strategy of a hazard mitigation plan responds to the particular hazards facing the community, as identified in the risk assessment (Task 5). The mix of potential mitigation actions should reflect the values and priorities of the community, as expressed in the public participation process (Task 3). These actions should address not only current threats, but future threats as well, such as the risk due to climate change or additional development in natural hazard areas. Finally, the community’s capability assessment can help the community prioritize actions, based on its fiscal, political and technical capabilities.
As hazard mitigation evolves into a more proactive practice, it is moving away from an emphasis on physical measures or structures such as dams, levees and floodwalls to nonstructural approaches that include land use planning and management. The idea is to steer new development away from hazard-prone areas and avoid putting people and structures in harm’s way. Land use planning techniques can include zoning and subdivision ordinances that limit development in hazardous areas as well as acquisition or relocation of structures, such as repetitively-flooded homes. Unfortunately, communities tend to adopt land use measures to control future land use after most hazard-prone areas have already been developed—a phenomena known as the land use management paradox.
Our evaluation of 175 local mitigation plans found that most jurisdictions did not integrate land use controls and development management tools into their mitigation strategies. The mitigation strategies tended to consist of a narrow range of prevention, and natural resource protection actions and little in the way of structural control, emergency services and public information.
Best practices include:
- Providing a description of goals and objectives and how they were developed
- Tying each goal to specific categories of mitigation e.g. preventative actions, property protection
- Presenting goals clearly using a table
- Using a wide range of mitigation actions to reduce long-term vulnerability, including local land use plans and regulations, structural projects, natural systems protection, education programs and preparedness and response actions
- Performing a cost-benefit review of identified mitigation actions
- Prioritizing mitigation actions based on a range of criteria including cost-benefit analysis and how well they meet identified objectives
- Including a table or matrix of identified actions, agencies responsible for implementation, timeline and potential funding sources
- Providing status updates on actions identified in previous versions of the plan