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Region 7 Hazard Mitigation Case Studies and Best Practices

Highlighting particularly effective aspects of a local mitigation plans from the Region 7 states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, below is the collection of Region 7 hazard mitigation planning case studies and best practices.

Search by keyword or browse through our examples of good planning practices that may be of use to other plan developers to review and incorporate as appropriate into their planning processes.

Case Studies and Best Practices

Multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation planning can be an effective process to build partnerships between communities that face common hazard risks, leading to shared solutions. It can also help build a foundation to shift priorities as risks and vulnerabilities change.
A good hazard mitigation plan assesses a community's risk and prioritizes solutions to address that risk. It is created by community experts with input from various stakeholders including the public-those who live and work in the community.
The purpose of mitigation planning is for state, local, and tribal governments to identify the natural hazards that affect them and develop a mitigation strategy to reduce potential losses from these hazards. Many communities, especially those with limited capacity, struggle to develop and evaluate meaningful mitigation strategies that match their capability and resources to carry out.

This report, Electrical Transmission and Distribution Mitigation: Loss Avoidance Study, assesses the effectiveness of completed electric system mitigation projects in Nebraska and Kansas affected by the ice and wind storms of December 2006 through January 2007.

WASHINGTON D.C. AND IOWA - State Program Consultations - Every year, FEMA and a state or territory work together to find ways to advance mitigation programs during an annual mitigation program consultation meeting. When successful, these touchpoints strengthen communication, relationships and mitigation outcomes. Below are how Washington, D.C. and the state of Iowa approached these meetings to better engage partners and attendees.
LOWER PLATTE SOUTH, NE - Hazard mitigation plans are often difficult for communities to actively implement because of financial constraints. Funding for mitigation projects can be difficult to secure, especially for expensive infrastructure which requires both design and construction. Working together on mitigation projects is a way communities can share and reduce project costs, though getting those connections in place is a challenge all its own.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The record-setting and unprecedented flooding that lasted from the spring of 1993 into the early part of 1994 served as the catalyst for Missouri governments to look for solutions to the devastation and suffering caused by the massive floods.

KANSAS - On May 3, 1999, a series of strong fronts moved through Oklahoma and Kansas, producing numerous tornadoes that tore through areas of both states considered parts of “Tornado Alley.” Two schools in Wichita were severely damaged.

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, MO - The charming, late Victorian-era Town is renowned for its remarkable varieties of mineral waters. The Town is located in the northeast portion of Missouri along the Fishing River, about 30 miles northeast of Kansas City.

CHANUTE, KS - Hans Harold and his wife, Donna, woke up around 4:30 a.m. on June 30, 2007 to find their house surrounded by water.

DES MOINES, IA - In June 1998, a storm with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour (mph) caused over $465,000 in damage to the Iowa State Fair complex and the 160- acre campground. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the potential for disaster and loss of human life was obvious.

ARNOLD, MO - The City of Arnold (pop. 20,082) is a thriving, prosperous community located just 20 miles south of St. Louis where the Meramec River joins the Mississippi. The Meramec, flowing south, forms the eastern border of the city.

REYNOLDS COUNTY, MO - Simple design improvements to a one-lane bridge in rural Reynolds County, Missouri have left the span standing while others around it have been damaged or destroyed by repeated flooding.

LINCOLN, NE - In January 2000, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) approved Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds for the City of Lincoln’s Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), Theresa Street location.

MASON CITY, IA - During the first week of June 2008, heavy rains flooded major rivers and tributaries, forcing the Winnebago River and creeks (Willow, Chelsea, Ideal, Mason, and Calmus) to fill area homes in Mason City, Iowa, with up to 10 feet of floodwaters.

SENECA, MO – On May 10, 2008, Randy and Dana Lowe, and nine other members of their family, survived an EF4 tornado unharmed, even though it tore the couple’s Seneca home apart. The family barely had time to crowd together after realizing the huge tornado was coming.

POLK COUNTY, IA – Charlene Ostreko has seen floodwaters pour into her home more than once in the 35 years she and her husband have lived there. Flooding has occurred after major storm events have forced the nearby Four Mile Creek over its banks.

WAYNE COUNTY, MO - It’s a long way from the terror of a flood to a happy park, but that’s what’s happening in Piedmont, Missouri where a cooperative effort is moving people out of harm’s way and saving lives and taxpayer dollars.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, IA – For generations, families living alongside the Little Sioux River in Cherokee, Iowa have known that heavy rainfall would cause the river to swell its bounds and force some measure of floodwaters into their homes.

HOWELL COUNTY, MO - Should disaster strike, residents of West Plains, Missouri won’t have any difficulty finding the City’s safe room. Chances are they’ve already used it for a school event, civic club dinner, bake sale, or other community function.

KANSAS CITY, MO – In 1864, Brush Creek flowed through the middle of the Battle of Westport, (the biggest battle of the American Civil War west of the Mississippi River). The site is present-day Kansas City.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO - An often overlooked aspect in National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies has helped many homeowners in the State of Missouri finance required improvements that will save them from significant damage in future flooding events.

BUTLER COUNTY, KS – Historical Flooding, dating back as far as the 1930s, kept many homes in the City of Augusta and the town of Andover on the repetitive flooding list. Floods resulted from a major river near one community and a creek near the other.

MISSOURI - Anyone who lived through the 1993 Midwest floods will never forget them. Of the nine states affected by flooding during the spring and summer of 1993, Missouri was the hardest hit, with damages totaling $3 billion.

WAUKON, IA - In Spring 2008, the banks of the Upper Iowa River were damaged by severe storms and flooding.

BUTLER COUNTY, KS - Butler County's Hazard Mitigation plan identified tornadoes as its highest rated hazard. Close behind were flooding and hazardous materials. Also identified in the plan was the need to effectively and efficiently communicate with special populations before a crisis strikes.

WASHINGTON, MO - Flooding in the summer of 1993 uprooted thousands of people and destroyed or damaged their property. People and animals were caught in raging waters, leading to many deaths.

MERRIAM, KS - On October 4, 1998, a storm dumped 5.6 inches of rain on the City of Merriam in Johnson County, Kansas. Flash flooding damaged structures throughout Merriam and the surrounding county. After the flood, the City and County investigated engineering solutions for the flood area.

STORY COUNTY, IA – The Maple-Willow-Larch Resident Halls, located on the campus of Iowa State University (ISU), provide housing for nearly 1,600 students.

NEBRASKA - High winds and ice storms are common hazards in the plains of Nebraska. Such hazards can cause a transmission system to collapse as one transmission line structure (power pole) fails, “triggering” adjacent structures to topple in succession like a string of dominos.

HOISINGTON, KS – On April 21, 2001, an F4 tornado struck Hoisington, Kansas (population 2,975), severely damaging 230 homes and businesses and leaving one person dead.

INDEPENDENCE, MO - For the City of Independence, removing power lines from utility poles and burying them underground is not just a matter of aesthetics; it’s also good business.

LINN COUNTY, IA - After watching the town he lives in get inundated with flood waters in the historic Iowa floods of 2008, Tom Watson of Palo, Iowa knows that you can’t stop the water from flowing.

VINTON, IA - Anthony and Jackie Behounek live along the Cedar River outside the City of Vinton, Iowa. When a record flood in May 2008 hit the rural area, the Behouneks left their home to stay with Jackie’s mother.

SHAWNEE, KS - A tornado with a wind speed of 250 miles per hour could destroy mostly any man-made structure in its path, except for an 8 by 10 foot ground-level room reinforced with a wood frame and a thin sheet of steel.

RHINELAND, MO - Established in 1853 along the banks of the Missouri River on a backdrop of rolling hills and bluffs, repetitive flooding became a way of life for the nearly 200 residents of the tight-knit community of Rhineland.

MERRIAM, KS - Located in Eastern Kansas, just south of Kansas City, Johnson County is one of the more populated counties in the State and has flooding and flash flooding problems from Turkey Creek, Indian Creek, Rock Creek, and Brush Creek.

HARRISON COUNTY, IA - In 1975, Dan and Dale Hoyt were living in Dale’s grandparents’ farmhouse in Missouri Valley, Iowa. One day in May, at home with her three-year-old and two-month-old sons, Dale watched a television report as a tornado struck Omaha, Nebraska, some 15 miles from their house.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO — For a city on the western shore of the Mississippi River, city officials and citizens are determined not to let that the river swallow up their homes as it did during the great Midwest floods of the 1990s.

NEBRASKA  - Through the Cooperating Technical Partnership program, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) developed the Large Area Mapping Initiative to map unstudied areas in the state as a means of providing flood hazard data to all users.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - As severe weather hits at 3 a.m. and most people are nestled sound asleep, officials at Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) are confident that the citizens of Missouri are less vulnerable to disaster.

RILEY COUNTY, KS - Riley County, which contains the City of Manhattan, is creating a countywide Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM).

INDEPENDENCE, IA - The scenic Wapsipinicon (“Wapsi”) River meanders into the City of Independence along low-laying banks that are shouldered by an historic rock mill, grassy parks with walking paths, and a few scattered homes.

NEOSHO, MO - Although far removed from both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the City of Neosho, had a long history of flooding.

DODGE COUNTY, NE - The county of Dodge, Nebraska has seen its share of flooding in the past. In 1993 alone, the Elkhorn River has overflowed its banks on at least five separate occasions. The repetitive flooding damaged over 5,100 acres of crops and structures per event.

Last updated August 25, 2021