Public Review and Feedback Invited for Cook County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan Update
COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA - March 26, , 2019 (LSN) – Cook County has completed an updated draft of the of the County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan (MHMP) as required by the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000). Local jurisdictions are required to update the plan every five years to remain eligible for pre-disaster and post-disaster mitigation grant programs.
Update of the plan has been under the direction of the Cook County Office of Emergency Management & Public Information in cooperation with the University of Minnesota Duluth – Geospatial Analysis Center and representatives from County departments, local municipalities (city and township), school districts, and other key stakeholders such as the MN Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and Arrowhead Electric. The County has also partnered with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to develop a Tribal Annex to the County Plan. The Tribal Annex will identify vulnerabilities and mitigation projects that are specific to the Grand Portage Reservation and provide a means for the County and Tribe to collaborate on similar mitigation projects in the future.
Community involvement and feedback are vital to the success of the plan. Cook County invites public review and feedback of the draft plan prior to submitting it to the State of Minnesota and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for review. A copy of the draft County MHMP and Tribal Annex and a survey for public feedback is available online at https://scse.d.umn.edu/cook-county-mhmp. The plan review and comment period will be open until Monday, April 15, 2019.
About the Plan
The Cook County MHMP is a multi-jurisdictional plan that covers all of Cook County, including the City of Grand Marais, townships, and unincorporated areas. The Cook County MHMP also incorporates the concerns and needs of school districts, public utilities, the Grand Portage Reservation and other stakeholders participating in the Plan.
Cook County is vulnerable to a variety of potential natural disasters, which threaten the loss of life and property in the county. The plan addresses how to mitigate against hazards such as tornadoes, flooding, wildfires, blizzards, straight-line winds, ice storms, and droughts which have the potential for inflicting vast economic loss and personal hardship.
The plan update identifies cost-effective and sustainable mitigation actions to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life or property from natural hazards. Some examples include improvement of roads and culverts that experience repetitive flooding; construction of safe rooms at campgrounds to protect lives in the event of tornados or severe wind events; wildland fuel-reduction activities, burying powerlines that may fail due severe storms; mitigation for coastal areas adjacent to Lake Superior, and conducting public awareness and education campaigns to help people be prepared to take safe action before, during, or following a hazard event.
The Benefits of Hazard Mitigation Planning
Hazard mitigation planning ultimately helps us protect Cook County residents. By working with local communities we can identify vulnerabilities and develop strategies to reduce or eliminate the effects of a potential hazard. In addition, increasing public awareness of local hazards and disaster preparedness helps to create a community that is resilient to disaster, and breaks the cycle of response and recovery. Update of the plan will further allow the county and its jurisdictions to apply for eligible projects under future Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant funding from FEMA for projects that are cost-effective and will help to reduce or eliminate impacts of future natural disaster events.