Peterborough, New Hampshire Signs Agreement to Become Disaster-Resistant Community Under FEMA Initiative

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Release date: 
April 21, 1999
Release Number: 
R1-99-10

BOSTON, Mass. -- Peterborough, NH has joined the disaster-resistant efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Project Impact, a national effort to change the way America deals with disasters. This effort shifts the focus of emergency management from responding to disasters to taking actions in advance of disasters that reduce potential damage.

"I am pleased to welcome the Town of Peterborough into the network of Project Impact communities and commend the leadership of the town for their efforts in flood management and building code enforcement," said FEMA Director James Lee Witt. "Communities such as Peterborough, New Hampshire have suffered their fair share of damage from natural disasters and riverine flooding, and the pro-active efforts to reduce damage serve as a great model for communities across New Hampshire--and across the country."

The Town of Peterborough has adopted a strict floodplain management program and introduced intensive community growth management efforts, including planning for open space and conservation areas as a Project Impact disaster-resistant community.

"Communities in New England need to be prepared for disasters that we know will come,"said Jeffrey A. Bean, director of FEMA Region I, which includes the six New England states. "FEMA invited Peterborough to participate as a Project Impact community because of its high risk for riverine flooding, its history of disaster loss, and its proven track record for taking actions to become disaster resistant."

Peterborough's Project Impact initiative will focus on:

  1. Developing a comprehensive, all-hazard educational program for town residents and employees;
  2. Updating floodplain maps to minimize flood damage and preserve natural functions of the floodplains; and
  3. Working with the State Department of Transportation to repair and protect a large retaining wall which supports key lifelines and transportation infrastructure in the commercial area.

Peterborough, located on the Contoocook River, is roughly 11 miles northeast of Mount Monadnock with a population of 5,600 year round. The town is well known for its publishing industry including MacGraw-Hill, IDG and Yankee magazine. The other major industries are New Hampshire Ball Bearing, Peterborough Basket Company, Eastern Mountain Sports and the Millard Group. Peterborough is also well known for the performing arts such as the McDowell Colony, the Peterborough Players and the New England Marionettes.

Peterborough is one of the most flood-prone areas in the state and has been included in three disaster declarations since 1987. It is subject to a variety of natural hazards including riverine flooding, wildfires, ice storms and river ice jams. The town has more than forty dams, two of which have been classified as high hazard dams. Peterborough has many of the ingredients already in place to become an outstanding Project Impact community.

Town officials adopted the most recent Building Officials and Contracting Association (BOCA) codes and are working with the construction industry to strengthen understanding and partnership between private and public sectors. Peterborough has established a local hazard mitigation partnership that is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop new flood plain mapping using digital technology.

Project Impact is a national initiative launched by FEMA in October 1997 to involve citizens, government officials and the business community in actions to make their communities more disaster-resistant. The Town of Peterborough is one of 14 New England communities and 118 others across America designated in Project Impact. FEMA is changing the way it deals with disasters; continuing its focus on response and recovery, while placing emphasis on disaster damage preven...

Last Updated: 
July 19, 2012 - 23:02
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