Resilience & Hazard Mitigation
Southeastern Connecticut is a coastal region along Long Island Sound, drained by a number of large rivers, and a region that experiences four distinct seasons, each presenting unique weather-related challenges. As a commitment to ensuring continued public safety, operation of necessary community services, and protection of public investments, SCCOG and its member municipalities have undertaken a variety of studies and planning processes aimed at improving resilience to natural hazards. The threat of climate change and sea-level rise also represents a major threat to SCCOG’s coastal communities.
The primary purpose of a Multi-Jurisdictional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) is to identify natural hazards and risks, existing capabilities, and activities that can be undertaken by a community to prevent loss of life and reduce property damages associated with identified hazards. The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires local communities to have a FEMA-approved mitigation plan in order to be eligible to receive Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program grants and Post-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds under the Hazard Mitigation Assistance program. SCCOG’s most recent Hazard Mitigation Plan was completed in 2023.
2023 Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan
For the most recent update to the HMP, SCCOG was able to leverage an important effort by the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), called Resilient CT 2.0, to bring a greater emphasis to the impact that climate change will have on identified natural hazards. The “Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan” outlines sets of actions that can be taken to reduce losses of property and life due to natural disasters like floods, severe wind events, winter storms, wildfires, droughts, and extreme heat events made worse by climate change, as well as hazards such as earthquakes that are not affected by climate change. This is the first edition of the region’s plan to directly include droughts and extreme heat.
Critical Facilities Assessment
A Critical Facilities Assessment was completed in 2017, which studied site-specific vulnerabilities of sixteen emergency services facilities located in storm surge or flood zones. This project was recommended in the 2012 Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Site-specific assessments examined flood, wind, and snow-load risks and provided recommendations for improvements, with the goal of reducing risk of service interruptions.
Community Rating System Initiative/Model
In early 2019, SCCOG and a consultant team completed an initiative providing assistance to member municipalities enrolled in, or interested in joining, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS). The CRS is a voluntary program in which NFIP communities are awarded points for documenting and undertaking activities that improve flood resilience. Based on CRS standing, NFIP communities are sorted into classes, in which premium discounts of 5-45% are awarded to flood insurance policy holders. SCCOG was successful in improving the CRS standing of three existing CRS communities, and four additional municipalities are scheduled to join.
In addition to assisting interested municipalities, the CRS initiative/model also produced a regional Guidebook and Toolkit to assist interested municipalities in joining in the future.
Regional Resilience Guidebook
The Nature Conservancy, along with SCCOG and the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer), led an effort with the Cities of Groton, New London, and Norwich, the Towns of East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Montville, Salem, Stonington, and Waterford, and other regional stakeholders, to form a shared vision for natural hazard resilience. In particular, the Regional Resilience Guidebook examined six topic areas: Water, Food, Economy, Ecosystems, Energy, and Transportation.
DEMHS Region 4 Recovery Steering Committee
The DEMHS Region 4 Recovery Steering Committee was convened in June 2020, organized under Regional Emergency Support Function 14, Long-Term Recovery and Mitigation, and follows the State’s Disaster Recovery Framework.