What is Hazard Mitigation?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines hazard mitigation as, “any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.” Another way to understand hazard mitigation is as the prevention component of the emergency management process. (see figure)
- Preparedness activities are the emergency plans, training, drills, and exercises that individuals, communities and first responders participate in on almost a daily basis. These are things done to get ready for an emergency or disaster before it happens.
- Response is the short-term, emergency actions taken to address the immediate impacts of a hazard.
- Recovery is the longer-term process of restoring the community back to normal or pre-disaster conditions.
- Mitigation activities are actions that will prevent or eliminate losses, even if an incident does occur. Mitigation can reduce or eliminate the need for an emergency response and greatly reduce the recovery period.
This may sound complicated, but we all do many of these things on a daily basis.
Why is Natural Hazard Mitigation Important?
Most people who live or work in Sutter County have been affected by natural hazards in one way or another. Sutter County and its residents are vulnerable to a variety of hazards including floods, levee failure, drought and other severe weather events.
The rising costs associated with disaster response and recovery have focused the attention of federal, state, and local governments on addressing natural hazards before they occur. Obviously, events like torrential rains and floods cannot be prevented from occurring. Planning for natural hazards and implementing mitigation measures, however, can reduce the impact of such events when they do occur. Emergency response and recovery costs; property damage and monetary losses; personal injury and loss of life; and the overall economic and social impact on the community can all be reduced, and in some instances eliminated through natural hazard mitigation.
Hazard Mitigation Plan and Plan Update Process
Mitigation planning is a process for state and local governments to identify community-level policies and actions that will mitigate and thus reduce the impacts of natural hazards. According to a federal law, the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, local governments were required to complete a “local hazard mitigation plan (LHMP)” every five years in order to remain eligible for future federal disaster mitigation funding. Sutter County’s last LHMP was completed in 2007.
After securing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation grant funding in 2012, Sutter County is using the funds to support an update of their LHMP. Partners in this planning effort include the Cities of Live Oak and Yuba City and several special districts. This LHMP Update is being developed by a Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee comprised of representatives from various County and City departments; neighboring jurisdictions such as Butte County and key federal state and local agency stakeholders, and the public. The plan is addressing an updated list of hazards, including, flood, dam and levee failure, earthquake, severe weather, and agricultural hazards such as pests and invasive species. The plan will assess the likely impacts of these hazards to the people and property of the County and will also establish updated goals and prioritize projects to reduce the impacts of future disasters on people and property as well as to critical facilities and infrastructure.
The plan helps reduce damages from natural hazards by defining the kinds of hazards and emergencies that are not only possible, but also most probable, and the history of where and when they have happened and where they are likely to occur in the future. Wherever possible, the plan identifies steps that help avoid, reduce, alleviate, or mitigate disaster damages. Another benefit of mitigation planning is that it can also help lessen the cost of flood insurance in Sutter County and the Cities of Live Oak and Yuba City through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System.
National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System
The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.
As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the goals of the CRS Program. The objective of the CRS is to reward communities for what they are doing, as well as to provide an incentive for implementing additional flood protection activities. The reduction in flood insurance premium rates is provided according to a community’s CRS classification. Sutter County joined the CRS in 2008 and Yuba City joined in 2007. Both are currently a CRS Class 6, which provides a 20 percent discount on flood insurance for those located within the special flood hazard area (SFHA) and a 10 percent discount for those located in non-SFHA areas. The City of Live Oak joined the CRS program in 2011 and is currently a CRS Class 9 which provides a 5 percent discount on flood insurance for residents located both within and outside of the SFHA areas.
Opportunities for Input
Members of the community have a very important role in this process. A draft of the LHMP Update will be available early summer for review and comment by the public and all interested stakeholders on this website and also the at the following locations:
A public meeting on the draft plan will also be held:
Date/Time: To Be Announced
Location: To Be Announced
Public and local stakeholder attendance is invited and encouraged at this upcoming public meeting.
For more information on this project and how to provide input, contact John DeBeaux at (530) 822-7219 or