CLARK COUNTY, WI - State, Indian Tribal, and local governments are required to develop a hazard mitigation plan as a condition for receiving funding for mitigation projects. Clark County, Wisconsin, updated their 5-year old Hazard Mitigation Plan with a team composed of a new emergency management director with project management experience, an experienced planner, conscientious directors, mayors, and village presidents. The Plan received rave reviews in its draft format.
Clark County’s new Emergency Management Director (EMD) Michelle Hartness used the planning process as an opportunity to not only abide by the Robert T. Stafford Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 93-388) as amended by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, but also to familiarize herself with the County's cities, towns, and villages to identify the County’s vulnerabilities and to plan accordingly.
“Emergency disaster has become a real part of my life and being here in Clark County has been an amazing opportunity,” said Hartness. “Enhancing public safety is a priority for me."
In 2008, Clark County received a Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the amount of $14,697.75 to fulfill the requirements for updating their 2005 hazard mitigation plan. The total cost of the project was $19,597, which included a $4899.25 local match. With a proposed 2-year completion timeframe, Clark County’s Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan project began in December 2008 and was to be completed by December 2010.
The combination of a new, eager to learn EMD, an experienced regional planner, diligent community leaders, and the cooperation of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) contributed to the success of driving the plan forward.
Made up of a cross-section of professionals from various departments and community stakeholders (including sheriffs, and fire, highway, public health, and hospital officials), the LEPC reviewed and established the priorities for the County. The LEPC also helped to steer the direction of where Clark County needed to be in planning for emergencies. Input from mayors and village presidents regarding their vulnerabilities was taken into consideration. They knew their communities and the risks, and were able to provide a comprehensive profile. For example, agriculture is a vital component of Clark County’s economy. Potential agricultural risks addressed included weather-related damages to crops, manure runoff, storage facility failure, pests, and disease.
The draft was submitted to Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) for approval on May 4, 2010. The plan was reviewed at WEM with no changes requested on June 3, 2010, and forwarded to FEMA on October 22, 2010. FEMA provided a “Meets Requirements” letter on November 12, 2010. The final step is formal adoption by the County and participating jurisdictions.