FEMA Releases New State Mitigation Plan Review Guide

FEMA recently announced the release of the new State Mitigation Plan Review Guide (“Guide”). The updated Guide clarifies federal regulations that apply to FEMA; policy; and guidance around state hazard mitigation plan for state agencies and other officials developing mitigation plans. The Guide helps ensure a consistent plan review process for FEMA and the states that aim to improve the analysis and integration of evolving risks, such as climate change. The Guide will go into effect in approximately one year on March 6, 2016, for all state mitigation plans submitted to FEMA for review and approval. The transitional period allows time for FEMA and the states to work together to support their familiarity and understanding of the updated Guide. Indian tribal governments should follow the Tribal Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance.

We bring this to your attention because states will need to take a holistic approach and include not only emergency management, but also the sectors of economic development, land use and development, housing, health and social services, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources, in their planning process and mitigation program, where practicable.

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Report on Coastal Storm and Flood Risk in the US North Atlantic Region

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced in a press release that it has just released the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS). The report brought together experts from Federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations and academia, to assess the flood risks facing coastal communities and ecosystems and collaboratively develop a coastal storm risk management framework to address increasing risks, which are driven in part by increased frequency and intensity of storm events and rising sea levels due to a changing climate. The NACCS provides tools and information, including a nine-step Coastal Storm Risk Management Framework that can be used by communities, states, tribes, and the Federal government to help identify coastal risk and develop strategies for reducing those risks. The report and all associated documents and tools are available here.

Hold the Weather Jokes – Things are Getting Serious

From record snowfalls in Buffalo, New York, to unseasonable lows in other regions to strange shifts in weather from bitterly cold to pleasantly warm – everyone is feeling it. A report out of the World Bank Group reveals that these weather occurrences will very likely become the new normal. This is a result of global warming. In the report titled Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal, the World Bank Group explains the real tangible impacts of global warming. Read more here.

Climate Change Toolkit Offers Insight into Potential Hazards

Climate change is resulting in unpredictable and severe weather. In addition to increased risk of wildfires and drought, sea level rise will affect millions. The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides information on how to prepare for and mitigate the potential hazards of climate change. The toolkit includes planning assistance, case studies, and links to training opportunities. The Climate Explorer tool shows areas of climate change impact and stresses, along with a discussion of how different regions might be impacted. Just as we look to the historical record to evaluate the hazards that may affect our institutions and organizations, the Climate Resilience Toolkit gives us an opportunity to discover future hazards. Embrace a “climate-smart approach” and make sure you’re prepared for the challenges that climate change may bring to your community. For an overview of the contents of the Toolkit, a one-page flyer is available here to share, or view the Toolkit online here.