Having an approved and updated Hazard Mitigation Plan in place is a requirement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for communities, counties, school districts and other groups to qualify for several types of hazard mitigation funding, including 75% federal cost-sharing under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program after flooding, drought, earthquake, wildfire, storms and other natural disasters. The current Hazard Mitigation Plan was approved in 2009. An update is required by FEMA every five years.
Hazard mitigation planning includes working with participating communities, the NRD, and other agencies to prioritize and complete projects designed to make communities safer and ease potential damage from disasters. According to FEMA, every dollar spent on hazard mitigation planning results in a four-dollar savings on post-disaster cleanup and rebuilding. JEO Consulting Group, Inc. assisted with development of the original plan and will also help with the updating process, funded by a FEMA planning grant. The update team consists of representatives from the NRD, community representatives, representatives, county supervisors, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
Upper Loup NRD began the update on the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan in the fall of 2013. Communities met in the spring of 2014 to provide input and relay community-specific data related to exposure and vulnerabilities within their communities. Participating jurisdictions met again in the fall 2014 to discuss the risk assessment and identified projects and strategies to reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards.
The Upper Loup NRD Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan has since been reviewed by the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and has received approval pending local adoption. Each jurisdiction that participated in the planning process as a direct participant will need to adopt the plan. The approved 2015 Upper Loup Hazard Mitigation Plan is available for download.