The public is invited to comment on the environmental impacts of Okanogan County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, which has been undergoing an update over the past two years.
The detailed plan, which is required by state law, addresses floods, earthquakes, landslides, climate change, severe weather, volcanoes, hazardous materials and pandemics in its 795 pages. It also includes a chapter on wildland fire, but that topic is treated in more detail in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which the county has just begun to update, Okanogan County Emergency Manager Maurice Goodall said.
Multi-hazard mitigation planning is a process used by state, tribal and local governments to engage stakeholders, identify hazards and vulnerabilities, and develop a long-term strategy to reduce risk and future loss.
The hazard-mitigation plan includes a compilation of disasters going back to the 19th century and rates the likelihood of hazards in all regions of the county. For example, the risk for earthquakes in the county is medium (there are numerous earthquakes each year, but most go unnoticed). The overall risk for landslides is medium-high, with the highest risk in uninhabited mountainous regions. But the risk of both floods and severe weather is high.
Because the update has been in the works for two years, some of it is already dated. The pandemic section, which focuses on COVID-19, was written between August and October 2020, less than a year into the pandemic.
The plan is a component of Okanogan County Emergency Management’s efforts to inform and educate the public and reduce the vulnerability of citizens and infrastructure in Okanogan County through comprehensive disaster planning and mitigation.
The multi-hazard plan isn’t an action plan, but more of a “wish list” that identifies beneficial mitigations and can be used to apply for grants, Goodall said. The county, cities, fire districts, and organizations like the Okanogan Conservation District all use the plan to apply for funding.
The plan has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state. It ultimately must be adopted by the county commissioners.
People can comment on the plan through Friday, July 8. Direct questions and comments to Senior Planner Charlene Schumacher at (509) 422-7113 or email@example.com.
A copy of the plan is available on the Okanogan County Emergency Management website at www.okanogancounty.org/government/emergency_management/index.php.