Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2010 Vol. 57 No. 3


Texas Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan

The State of Texas Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan Cover designed by TDEM Mitigation Specialist Wendy Kirby. Photo on plan cover courtesy of Alicia Cahill, City of Galveston.

The required three-year review and update of the State of Texas Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan was recently completed. Approval of the plan means Texas remains eligible for non-emergency Stafford Act assistance, such as Public Assistance categories C-G; Fire Management Assistance Grants; and FEMA mitigation grants, including the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

The Plan represents the collaborative efforts of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and its partner agencies. The changes are not considerable but reflect recent natural hazard occurrences and a refinement of state goals and strategies.

There are several new features of interest in the updated plan. The State Facility Database contains locations and values of all state-owned or leased buildings in electronic form. The database includes an interactive component that allows state agencies to input and update information themselves.

The State Facility Database is just one component of the Geospatial Emergency Management System (GEMSS), developed by the Texas Natural Resource Information Systems (TNRIS) through a grant from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Local communities throughout Texas are encouraged to use the other features of GEMSS themselves, including satellite imagery of their region, weather alerts, hurricane tracking, hurricane evacuation routes, floodplain data, drought monitoring and traffic situations.

The state plan preparation and review process is similar to the local mitigation action planning process undertaken by jurisdictions throughout the state. The state plan addresses mitigation at the state-level, and includes all state agency participants. The authority to adopt must be addressed at the state level. In Texas, this requires the signature of the Governor.

As lead planner, TDEM coordinates the planning process through its state hazard mitigation team, which consists of representatives from the emergency management council, other appropriate agencies and interested parties. These representatives contribute statewide hazard analysis data.

State-level risk assessment provides the basis for identifying new development and vulnerabilities in Texas, a comparison of impacts from natural hazards and a mechanism for prioritizing mitigation measures for grant funding. The state also gleans information from local mitigation plans to update state strategy, prioritize mitigation actions and to demonstrate the progress of mitigation efforts at the local level.

Greg Pekar, TDEM’s Mitigation Section Administrator, said mitigating repetitive flood losses through acquisitions of flood-prone properties continues to be a high priority. “In addition to flood losses, Texas is looking for the opportunity to increase funding for windstorm and wildfire mitigation projects,” said Pekar.

Jurisdictions are encouraged to email comments to the State Hazard Mitigation Plans Officer at Carolyn Sudduth.

Share |