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A local hazard mitigation plan can help protect infrastructure

Local Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) helps the community identify important local hazard issues, prioritize next steps and provide access to funding through the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program. The LHMP is also one of the mitigation actions needed to qualify for additional post-disaster funding through the Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF).Cover of Jericho Hazard Mitigation Page

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Most communities work with their Regional Planning Commission to secure funding and prepare their LHMP. The development process engages a cross-section of the community. Drafts are routed by your planner to the Hazard Mitigation Planner at Vermont Emergency Management (VEM). Drafts are reviewed for completeness and conveyed to mitigation planners at FEMA Region 1 in Boston. FEMA mitigation planners may request additional information or clarification by the community. When the draft is complete, FEMA will indicate “approved pending adoption by the community”. After the plan is adopted by the community FEMA will then issue a final approval. The LHMP is valid for five years from the date of final approval. The first Hazard Mitigation Plans were approved in 2004. In April 2014 over 20% of Vermont communities have an approved LHMP. Another 13% have drafts currently in review by FEMA. Hazard Mitigation Planning occurs at a statewide level every three years and at the local level every five years. Check the status of your community's plan on the Expanded Community Report under Status of LHMP Review.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Planning

VEM - Local Hazard Mitigation Planning Resources
VEM LHMP Resource Hub
The State of Vermont Hazard Mitigation Plan 2018

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Planning
FEMA Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide
FEMA Local Mitigation Planning Handbook 2013
FEMA Mitigation Best Practices 
Portland OR - Social Equity and Hazard Planning  
Natural Hazards Mitigation Association - Resources, Training  
Floodplain Buyouts: An Action Guide for Local Governments on How to Maximize Community Benefits, Habitat Connectivitiy, and Resilience UNC April 2017

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FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs

VEM Hazard Mitigation Grant Information
Vermont State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Flood Mitigation Assistance
FEMA BRIC Program- Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities

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Adopting the LHMP

Local Hazard Mitigation Plans must be adopted by the community. Sometimes this has only involved the Select Board and has not involved the broader community including the Planning Commission. This process may mean that Municipal Plans have not acknowledged, referenced or been responsive to existing Local Hazard Mitigation Plans.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Planners strongly encourage communities to get more people involved in the planning process and to incorporate their LHMP into their comprehensive Municipal Plans. Under State statute communities may reference their LHMP as contributing to addressing the requirements of the flood resilience section of municipal plans. Over time these plans may remain somewhat out of cycle – but certainly should influence each other.  

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LHMP and Flood Resilience

The requirements of a LHMP for FEMA and the flood resilience element of a Municipal Plan under state statute are related but not identical.  

Local Hazard Mitigation Plans may address several types of hazards and are particularly oriented to identifying priorities for the grant program. The flood resilience section of the Municipal Plan is oriented to protecting existing landscape features that already function for the community before dwelling on spot by spot “fixes”. Future Hazard Mitigation Plans can address the flood resilience goals identified in statute and contribute substantially to meeting the flood resilience element of municipal plans. Of course other sections of the municipal plan (transportation, economic development, land use) are affected by hazards and benefit from hazard planning.

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FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grants – Important Change

Recently Hazard Mitigation Funds have become easier to access for some projects.

In 2013 FEMA issued a guidance indicating that a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) is no longer needed for certain building acquisition or elevation projects. This change eliminates a major hurdle for proposals seeking funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) in Vermont or through other FEMA Flood Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs.

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Recent Examples of Plans

LHMP are often posted on municipal websites with other community plans and documents.  Some are available on the websites of Regional Planning Commissions. 

Beginning in July 2021, new FEMA approved LHMP are linked from Flood Ready Expanded Community Reports and ERAF Summary Sheet.


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