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Resources to Plan for Post-Disaster Recovery

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Resources to plan for post-disaster recovery assist communities in assessing local needs in recovery, carrying out a recovery planning process, and determining projects to support the community’s future vision and priorities.

The Community Recovery Management Toolkit is a compilation of guidance, case studies, tools, and training to assist local communities in managing long-term recovery following a disaster. The materials provided in this toolkit are aimed at providing guidance and resources to help local officials and community leaders to lead, organize, plan for, and manage the complex issues of post-disaster recovery.

Assessments, Data and Studies

FEMA Geoplatform - This database provides geospatial data and analytics in support of emergency management, related to winter storms, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

Community Mapping Project: A Guidebook for Neighborhood Associations and CDCs - This is a step-by-step guidebook for neighborhood associations and CDCs to conduct building-by-building surveys of their neighborhood to collect, manage, and use community-specific information to build mapping systems.

Coastal County Snapshots - Coastal County Snapshots compiles complicated data into easy-to-read reports for coastal and Great Lake adjacent counties to use as a planning tool to assess their county’s resilience to flooding.

CanVis Visualization Software - This visualization program can be used to show potential impacts from coastal development or sea level rise to support policy development, project planning, and presentations.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Atlas of Rural and Small Town America - This interactive data tool allows users to view statistics on people, jobs, and agriculture. 

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer - This tool offers access to data and information about the risks of sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding along the coastal United States.

OnTheMap for Emergency Management - This tool provides access to detailed U.S. Census Bureau reports for current natural hazard and emergency related events

Smart Location Database - This nationwide GIS data resource includes over 90 variables characterizing the built environment, transit service, destination accessibility, employment, and demographics at the census block group scale.

Coastal Inundation Mapping Training - This two-day instructor-led course helps certified floodplain managers and county, state, and municipal officials, including planners, emergency managers, and coastal resource managers, to better understand coastal inundation issues and mapping methods using a geographic information system (GIS).

Disaster Impact and Unmet Needs Assessment Kit - These resources for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grantees provide a process for identifying and prioritizing critical unmet needs for long-term community recovery. 

Coastal Resilience Index - This self-assessment tool aims to provide community leaders with a simple and inexpensive method of predicting whether their community will reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning after a disaster.      

Code and Zoning Audit - This tool reviews the land use (zoning) codes and regulations in your community to see if they help your community achieve its vision for smarter growth. 

Habitat Priority Planner - This tool aids in making decisions about conservation, restoration, and planning by providing a means of obtaining critical habitat analyses that are consistent, repeatable, and transparent.  

Health Impact Assessment: Quick Guide -This quick guide introduces one method local communities can use to assess how existing or planned land use, community design, and transportation policies, projects, or programs, affect or likely to affect public health.  

Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk - The 3-hour instructor-led online training guides officials in assessing a community’s vulnerability to hazards using a participatory approach and incorporate information about hazards and climate into ongoing planning and decision-making.

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation - Very new APA guidance on post-disaster planning for local recovery. This is a significant resource providing guidance, tools, case studies and a model ordinance.

Coastal Land Use Toolkit - Provides examples of development and redevelopment standards with a focus on hazard mitigation and natural resource protection in coastal areas including model zoning and subdivision ordinance text.

Example Plans and other recovery and community development plans associated with the community:

Long-Term Community Recovery Plan: Greensburg and Kiowa County, Kansas - Guidance for Greensburg and Kiowa County for the use in their recovery efforts following the May 4, 2007 tornado. The plan focuses on projects that are critical to community recovery. Other associated local plans include the Sustainable Comprehensive Master Plan - Provides guidance for community development over the next twenty years; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) issued a report titled NREL 5 Year Building Performance Report - A five-year building performance report of the community buildings; and Rebuilding Greensburg, Kansas, as a Model Green Community: A Case Study - Details the guidance the city needed to become green.

Long-Term Community Recovery Plan: Chambers County, Texas - Describes how communities in Chambers County collaborated to develop a unified, regional long-term disaster recovery plan, adopted by all signatories.

Big Thompson River Restoration Master Plan - Provides overall guidance to assess, prioritize, and implement river restoration projects that provide increased resiliency to the local communities, the economy, and the river ecology.

Town of Lyons Long Term Flood Recovery - Provides a description of the process the community went through to adopt their flood recovery action plan, the various working groups and task forces, and an overview of the process. Other related local plans include Housing Development: A Post-Disaster Workshop in Lyons, Colorado: Housing Recovery Plan 2014; the Lyons Housing Collaborative summarizes the process and the results of the community’s efforts to find solutions for replacing housing destroyed during the 2013 flooding event; and the St. Vrain Creek Watershed Master Plan, of which the Town of Lyons was a part.

Waterbury Long-Term Community Recovery (LTRP) - Describes the public engagement process and how the community came together to rebuild. Flood Plain Management - The website provides a wide array of information on flooding, preparedness, flood damage reduction, and mapping.

Boulder County Creek Recovery and Restoration Program - Provides examples of seven separate watershed recovery master plans that were part of a comprehensive creek planning initiative, including the St Vrain Creek Watershed Master Plan - Other watersheds that were part of the planning process include the lower reaches of Boulder Creek, Coal and Rock Creeks, Fourmile Creek, Left hand Creek, the Little Thompson River, and South Boulder Creek. Watershed master plans are available for each watershed segment.

Joplin Roadmap to the Future: Phase II Recovery Plan - Guides future disaster recovery projects and the Updated Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis, which assesses the 2011 tornado impact to the housing market.

Flood Recovery and Investment Plan and CR Progress - Document on-going flood recovery efforts to provide recovery project costs, to outline current efforts and timeline, to forecast future activities, and to detail progress in flood recovery and other community development projects the city has made. Additional community planning efforts include the 2009 City of Cedar Rapids Framework Plan for Reinvestment and Reinvestment details the local strategies to invest and rebuild neighborhoods devastated by the 2008 flooding; a Vision Cedar Rapids: Downtown Framework Plan provides an executive summary of the planning process; and Flood Recovery Planning provides examples of the two-phased River Corridor Redevelopment planning process (the framework for reinvestment and a neighborhood planning process.)

Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Action Plans:

State of Louisiana Master Action Plan Version 2 for the Utilization of Community Development Block Grant Funds in Response to Hurricane Isaac - Action plan for the disbursement of CDBG-DR funds throughout the State and in Saint John the Baptist and Plaquemines Parishes, Louisiana.

Town of Union, New York Action Plan for Disaster Recovery - An action plan for the disbursement of CDBG-DR funds in the Town of Union, New York to recovery from the Irene/Lee flooding.

CDBG-Disaster Recovery Grant Action Plan, Orange County, NY - An action plan for the disbursement of CDBG-DR funds in the Orange County, New York to recover from the Irene/Lee flooding.


Integrating Mitigation into Recovery

Mitigation Ideas: A Resource for Reducing Risk to Natural Hazards - Communities can use this resource to identify and evaluate a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk to natural hazards and disasters. 

Integrating Hazard Mitigation into Local Planning: Case Studies and Tools for Community Officials - This guide discusses how to incorporate risk reduction strategies into existing local plans, policies, codes, and programs that guide community development or redevelopment patterns. 

Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning - This guide provides examples and strategies for integrating hazard mitigation strategies into comprehensive, area, and functional plans; and shows where hazard mitigation can fit into zoning and subdivision codes. 

Resilient Regions: Integrating Economic Development Strategies, Sustainability Principles and Hazard Mitigation Planning - This report provides an in-depth look at the roles that regional planning and development organizations are taking to help local and regional economies rebuild after natural disasters.  

Green Infrastructure Training - This three-hour course introduces students to the fundamental green infrastructure concepts that play a critical role in making coastal communities more resilient.

Flooding: Cedar Falls, Iowa - This case study presents a variety of mitigation and recovery strategies employed by the City of Cedar Falls, Iowa to make the community more resilient to flooding.

Achieving Hazard-Resilient Coastal & Waterfront Smart Growth - This report provides ideas for further research, tools, services, and approaches that federal and state agencies, academics, organizations, and practitioners could consider to improve integration of smart growth and hazard mitigation approaches along the coast.

Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk - Provides practical examples of from a local perspective of interaction between local, state, and federal building codes and mitigation strategies.  Illustrations provide specific guidance and examples to historic, older neighborhoods and/or dense urban neighborhoods impacted by flooding.

The Local Mitigation Planning Handbook - The Handbook is the official FEMA guide for local governments to develop, update and implement local mitigation plans.

The National Hazard Mitigation Association - The website provides guidance to local communities and promotes natural hazard risk reduction and climate adaptation through planning and mitigation. Best Practices - Provides examples of best hazard mitigation practices, including Beyond the Basics: Best Practices in Mitigation Planning features numerous examples and best practices that were drawn from high quality hazard mitigation plans.

NYC, Build it Back Stronger & Safer - Flyers and handouts for local rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Sandy.


Integrating Sustainability into Recovery

Rebuilding After Disaster: Going Green from the Ground Up - This guide, developed for community leaders involved in post-disaster reconstruction, is intended to show communities how they can incorporate green principles and technologies like energy efficiency and renewable energy into their rebuilding plans.

Holistic Disaster Recovery: Ideas for Building Local Sustainability After a Natural Disaster - This handbook presents a variety of strategies for improving resilience to future disasters as well as increasing attractiveness to business, improving growth management, and preserving local history and culture.

State and Local Climate and Energy Program - Renewable Energy -This planning tool helps communities think about the baseline conditions and opportunities for renewable energy in their community.

A Tale of Two Cities: Greensburg Rebuilds as a National Model for Green Communities - This case study documents how experts worked with Greensburg city leaders, business owners, residents, and others to identify ways to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the town’s rebuilding efforts.

Rising Above the Water: New Orleans Implements Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Practices Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - This case study details technical assistance provided by DOE and NREL to New Orleans to design and develop more efficient schools and homes, and evaluate costs, benefits, and impacts of various energy efficiency and renewable technology energy policies.

Technology Deployment: Disaster Resiliency and Recovery - Includes examples of projects taken from Greensburg, Kansas, Galena, Alaska, New Orleans, Louisiana, and New York and New Jersey after Hurricane  Sandy.  

 Sustainable Communities Leadership Academy: Advancing Local Solutions -  Introduces various concepts basic to sustainability through workshops and other presentations concerning sustainable communities and economies, climate adaptation and resilience, and leadership for sustainability.

Recommendations to improve the Strength and Resilience of the Empire State's Infrastructure - Outlines various cross-cutting, sector-specific issues surrounding making New York State infrastructure more resilient.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit - Provides access to map overlays of climate stressors and impacts with interactive graphs of historical temperature and precipitation records.

Tools for Coastal Climate Adaption Planning: A Guide for Selecting Tools to Assist with Ecosystem-Based Climate Planning -  Provides information necessary for coastal lands mangers and community planners to select appropriate tools for their projects and focuses on spatially explicit solutions for climate-related planning.

Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster Resilient Communities - Provides a focus on recovery coordination across several small villages, policies to improve floodplain management, and planning for more responsible future growth. The guidance contains a Flood Resilience Checklist and a discussion of smart growth approaches.

Livable Communities Disaster Recovery Toolkit - AARP suggestions and checklist for how to rebuild a town, city or neighborhood to be a great place for people of all ages. 


Post-Disaster Recovery Planning

Long-Term Community Recovery Planning Process: A Self Help Guide - This guide provides communities with a framework for long-term community recovery that has been successful in bringing communities together to focus on their long-term recovery issues and needs and to develop projects and strategies to address those needs.

Lessons in Community Recovery: Seven Years of Emergency Support Function #14 Long-Term Community Recovery from 2004 to 2011 - This report provides information and illustrations to demonstrate how a whole community process can establish a holistic and inclusive recovery system that leverages all resources, from both the public and private sector.

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction - These chapters from APA's 2005 report Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction focus on policies for reconstruction, guidance for the planning process, and tools to assist in recovery planning.

Lessons from Katrina: How a Community Can Spearhead Successful Disaster Recovery - This guidebook provides a phase-by-phase analysis of the planning and implementation process for neighborhood redevelopment and includes sample documentation.

Hayman Fire: Hayman, Colorado - This case study discusses the challenges, impacts, and planning efforts associated with the largest and most devastating wildfire in Colorado's recorded history.

3 Cities That Used Natural Disasters to Revitalize Their Futures - This article details how Tuscaloosa, AL, Greensburg, KS, and San Francisco, CA, reinvented and revitalized themselves after earthquakes and tornadoes.

St. John the Baptist Parish Community Recovery Strategy - The St. John the Baptist Parish Community Recovery Strategy chronicles the community-driven planning process to provide a blueprint for the future of St. John Parish as it recovers from Hurricane Isaac.


Decision Making and Project Evaluation

Long-Term Community Recovery Toolbox: Decision Making Tool - This tool helps communities clarify and prioritize their ideas for community recovery and build them into more specific project proposals. 

Long-Term Community Recovery Toolbox: Project Development Guide - This guide assists with development of long-term community recovery project descriptions, including collecting and analyzing information about goals, strategies, and expected outcomes of proposed projects.

Long-Term Community Recovery Planning Process Project Value Tool Guide - This guide provides a standardized methodology for determining the recovery value of post-disaster reconstruction projects.

Last Updated: 
05/05/2015 - 11:37
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