Winona County seeks public input, feedback on multi-hazard mitigation plan
Winona 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. Local jurisdictions are required to update the plan every five years to remain eligible for pre-disaster and post-disaster mitigation grant programs.
Community involvement and feedback are vital to the success of the plan. Winona 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 MHMP and a survey for public feedback is available online at https://scse.d.umn.edu/winona-county-mhmp. The plan review and comment period will be open until Friday, Sept. 14.
About the plan
The Winona County MHMP is a multi-jurisdictional plan that covers Winona County, including the cities of Altura, Dakota, Elba, Goodview, Lewiston, Minnesota City, Rollingstone, St. Charles, Stockton, Utica and Winona. The Winona County MHMP also incorporates the concerns and needs of townships, school districts and other stakeholders participating in the plan.
Winona 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.
Update of the plan has been under direction of Winona County Emergency Management 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 utility providers. Together, the planning team worked to identify cost-effective and sustainable 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, public parks, mobile home parks or schools to protect lives in the event of tornados or severe wind events; burying power lines that may fail due to heavy snow, ice or wind storms; ensuring timely emergency communication to the public through warning sirens and mass notification systems, 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 Winona 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.