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County Executive's Office

Dane County Updates Plan Used to Prepare for, Manage Natural Hazards

July 13, 2017
Josh Wescott 608-266-9069
County Executive

                        Dane County Updates Blueprint Used to Prepare for, Manage Natural Hazards

                   For First Time Ever, Plan Now Includes Consideration for Impacts of Climate Change


Dane County is updating its Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan to address the threat of natural hazards due to the region’s changing climate, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. A resolution seeking to adopt Dane County’s 2017 Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan Update will be introduced at tonight’s County Board meeting. Upon approval, the new plan will examine climate trends and determine their projected impacts on natural hazards like extreme heat and flooding.


The 2017 update of Dane County’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies and justifies a number of proposed projects and programs to mitigate the County’s vulnerability to the impacts of future disasters. From tornadoes and flash floods to severe storms and extreme temperatures, natural hazards can threaten the life and health of Dane County’s citizens and cause extensive property damage. The inclusion of climate change factors will help the County take appropriate action to protect citizens’ safety, both now and in the future.


“Historic rains, ice instead of snow storms in winter and periods of sweltering heat are becoming all too familiar occurrences that negatively affect the economic well-being and personal safety of Dane County residents,” said Parisi. “By including assessments of the region’s changing climate in Dane County’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, we hope to keep our citizens safer by being more prepared for the natural hazards Mother Nature sends our way.”


Dane County has received 15 federal disaster declarations since 1976. The resulting losses from these events can be measured in the tens of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, each dollar spent on mitigation saves society an average of $4 in avoided future losses, in addition to saving lives and preventing injuries.


All 61 local units of government in Dane County were invited to participate in the update’s planning process. 37 local governments ultimately chose to participate in this effort. The decision of whether to participate in the process was a local choice based on local community needs.


In 2016, Dane County convened a series of listening session to give residents an opportunity to discuss concerns about natural hazards and disasters. A planning team then met to gather information and summarize the concerns of local officials and citizens throughout Dane County. Public comments on the draft plan were also considered before it was prepared for tonight’s submission to the County Board of Supervisors.


Following County Board approval, the 2017 update will be recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as Dane County’s official plan. By adhering to the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, the County will be able to apply for federal grants to implement the plan’s projects and programs.


This will be the second update of Dane County’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. The initial version of the plan was adopted in 2005. It was followed by an update in 2010.