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Association of State Flood Plain Managers Association of State Flood Plain Managers
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Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Workshop
Monday, October 29, 2018

Haley Briel and Dave Fowler from ASFPM attended the “Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Workshop” Oct. 15-17, at the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, just outside of Mobile, Alabama.


The workshop was hosted by the National Association of Counties with assistance from ASFPM, Coastal States Organizations and NOAA. The goal was to kick off the Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Challenge. Eligible teams must be counties within coastal shoreline with populations of less than 250,000, and have FEMA-approved and locally-adopted hazard mitigation plans. Teams were required to have members from a variety of positions, including elected officials and coastal managers. The benefits of being chosen for the program include attendance at this workshop and participation with mentoring support over the next year. The four selected teams were from Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes in Louisiana, Cameron and Willacy Counties in Texas, Harrison County in Mississippi, and Santa Rosa County in Florida. These teams, as well as internal project staff, technical experts and guest speakers, came together to hold discussions and facilitate strategies for collaborative partnerships on the following topics:

Community Resilience Planning

Hazard Vulnerability Assessments

Resilience Strategies

Hazard Mitigation Implementation Strategies

Communication and Public Outreach

Fowler presented on resilience strategies drawn from his 40 years with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Whitney Gray, Florida Resilient Coastlines Administrator, provided an overview of the Florida DEP guidance for coastal resilience planning processes and implementation strategies. She also referenced two documents, Florida Adaptation Planning Guidebook and the Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning Guidebook Addendum.

Darryl Boudreau, Watershed Coordinator with The Nature Conservancy, provided examples of effective natural resilient strategies being implemented around the Gulf of Mexico region.

Niki Pace, Sustainability Coordinator, Law and Policy Program, Louisiana Sea Grant, gave a presentation on legal and liability issues tied to hazard mitigation and resilience strategies, such as potential liability for inaction and property takings issues. Several documents cited during the presentation had been authored by ASFPM members Jon Kusler and Ed Thomas.

Renee Collini, Coordinator, Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, and Brandon Lewis, Senior Analyst, Environmental Finance, Public Financial Management, gave an overview of the types of funding resources available, tips on how to identify and access those resources, and information on how to set yourself up to successfully receive funding when opportunities arise. Funding is a crucial element to the success of any program, and this session sparked a lot of questions and discussion.

By the end of the workshop, the 40 attendees had brainstormed and developed plans for a project to complete in their respective communities over the coming year. ASFPM staff were assigned to mentor and provide guidance to Harrison County, Mississippi, and will do so over this year. The group will meet again next year to share their findings and experiences undertaking the projects they designed and implemented.

Ultimately, the Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Workshop was an excellent opportunity for Gulf Coast practitioners to share best practices, relay stories, and learn more about strategies that may be applicable and appropriate in their home communities. It is our hope that four successful projects emerge over the year and lasting partnerships between county staff, elected officials and ASFPM can be forged.






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