Local Hazard Mitigation Plan
The Local Hazard Mitigation Plan was adopted by the City Council on November 1, 2022.
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 that has a long-term beneficial impact.
Hazard mitigation is the first step in the emergency management cycle, and it is followed by preparedness, response, and recovery.
- Preparedness activities include emergency plans, training, drills, and exercises that individuals, communities, and first responders participate in on an almost 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 cost-effective actions that will reduce or eliminate impacts, for anticipated future events. Mitigation can reduce or eliminate the need for emergency response and greatly reduce the recovery period.
Many types of mitigation actions are things done on a daily basis without much forethought such as purchasing insurance to protect a home investment or putting in gutters around a roof to better direct rain runoff. The same concepts apply to community-level hazard mitigation planning. Mitigation planning is a process for county, city, special district, and local governments to identify community-level policies and actions that will reduce the impacts of natural hazards.
Why is Hazard Mitigation Important?
Most people who live or work in the City of South Lake Tahoe have been affected by hazards in one way or another. Some of the hazards that can affect the City include wildfire, drought, flooding, severe weather and winter snowstorms, and earthquakes. The City of South Lake Tahoe has a history of severe winter snowstorms and wildfires within the Tahoe Basin. The City has also indirectly experienced recent long-term impacts from heavy smoke and poor air quality associated with recent wildfires that occurred outside the region. In addition to these major hazard events, there are also smaller, isolated weather events that cause localized property damage and losses significant to the people affected. The planning process will evaluate the potential for future damaging events and work toward solutions to help mitigate their impacts in the future. According to a report by the National Institute of Building Sciences, it is estimated that for every one dollar invested in hazard mitigation, an average of six dollars is saved on long-term disaster response and recovery. Hazard mitigation plans are also required by law in order for municipalities to be eligible to apply for and receive FEMA hazard mitigation funds under the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program.
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) was signed into law in 1988 and provides the authority for federal disaster assistance activities, including preparedness and mitigation along with assistance for response and recovery. The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) amended the Stafford Act to reinforce the importance of mitigation planning and emphasize planning for natural disasters to reduce the impact and losses from natural hazards. DMA 2000 established provisions and requirements for state, local, and Native American Tribal entities to closely coordinate mitigation planning and implementation efforts.
The development of a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) involves a four-phase planning process that consists of 1) organizing resources and building a planning team, 2) conducting a risk assessment, 3) developing a mitigation strategy, and 4) implementing a monitoring and maintenance plan. The City will update its previous LHMP to include stakeholder and public input, a detailed risk assessment, and a new mitigation strategy.
What is the purpose of the survey for the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan?
The purpose of the survey is to collect information from the public to better understand the vulnerabilities with the City, as well as solicit input on needs to best mitigate, or reduce the impacts of hazards before they occur. Your comments will be considered by the City's Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee as the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan is developed.
What is the Plan Development Process?
The City of South Lake Tahoe is taking the lead on the update of their LHMP with the support of a planning team that will facilitate the planning process, collect necessary natural hazard data, conduct a risk assessment, develop a mitigation strategy, and prepare the LHMP document.
The planning team, known as a Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (HMPC) was established and will meet on a regular basis, working through varying levels of review in the preparation of the following elements of a customized LHMP for the City:
- Identify hazards that may impact or have impacted the City;
- Profiles of hazard events;
- Assessment of the vulnerability to those hazards;
- Assessment of the City’s capabilities to mitigate the hazards;
- Mitigation goals;
- Specific mitigation actions and projects;
- Implementation strategy for the plan;
- Plan maintenance and update process; and
- Plan approval and adoption.
The HMPC includes representatives from key City departments, such as South Tahoe Fire Rescue, Development Services and Building Division, Public Works Department, and Finance Department. Stakeholders on the planning team will include representatives from a combination of federal, regional, and state agencies, fire districts, and local organizations, such as the Tahoe Prosperity Center and the Chamber of Commerce.
The planning process began with a kick-off for the first HMPC meeting in May 2021. The first Public Workshop is tentatively scheduled for summer 2021. The second HMPC meeting is scheduled for August 2021. The LHMP will be developed by late 2021, with a draft for public review anticipated by early 2022. The second evening Public Workshop will be scheduled once the Public Review Draft LHMP is available.
How can you get involved?
Stakeholders and members of the public have a very important role in this process. The HMPC regards broad public participation in the planning process as an essential strategy for developing a plan that will be effective, supported by residents (and visitors) of the City, and ultimately implemented. The process will provide a range of opportunities for the City and its citizens, public officials, and stakeholder groups to participate and give input on the plan. Provide comment on the draft plan, as listed at the top of this page.
For more information on the City of South Lake Tahoe LHMP or the planning process, please contact:
City of South Lake Tahoe
Jim Drennan, Battalion Chief
South Tahoe Rescue
2101 Lake Tahoe Boulevard
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Phone: (530) 542-6164
Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.
Juliana Prosperi, AICP
10940 White Rock Road, Suite 190
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
Phone: (916) 636-3200