Green River Star -

By Lillian Palmer
Staff Writer 

City drafting natural disaster plan

Mitigation plan to be implemented Sept.

 


If a natural disaster was to strike Sweetwater County today, there would be no plan to cover its impact on the community.

Research and planning is currently underway to create a regional multi-hazard mitigation plan for natural hazards such as floods, wild fires, winter storms, dam failures and others.

The plan will pertain to Region 4 of Wyoming, which includes Sweetwater County, Lincoln County and Uinta County. The state hired the company Amec Foster Wheeler to help Green River Interim Fire Chief Mike Liberty and others on the county planning team.

Liberty said the issue was discussed at the state level of the federal emergency management association, and came up with the funds to hire a company to put the plans together.

Liberty, Community Development Director Laura Profaizer and Public Works Director Mark Westenskow will head the Green River group in the region for the mitigation plan.

"They both have a good amount of knowledge with different things and resources that we may need to be able to get these things and get this accomplished," Liberty said.

Currently, he said the team is gathering information concerning natural disasters that have happened in the past, in the city.

"I didn't realize there were that many things out there, but there is a lot more than people probably realize," he said.

The information Liberty, Profaizer and Westenskow are gathering now will be submitted to the state next week.

"The goal is to have this mitigation plan complete, accepted by FEMA and adopted by the governing bodies in September," Liberty said. "It's a pretty aggressive schedule. It will be tough to meet, but I think we can do that."

Once the mitigation plan is complete, it will be combined with the city's master plan, also making it easier for review when it comes time.

The group the state hired will also review the plan in five years to maintain an up-to-date plan.

A key point in the city having the multi-disaster mitigation plan is it will qualify the city to apply for FEMA mitigation funds, pre and post disaster.

Liberty said what will be needed from the federal government will depend on what the plan recommends for the area.

"If we can get some money to prevent (disasters) from happening or at least lessen their effects," Liberty said.

"Nothing big right now. We've had several events that's happened within the city we've been able to handle ourselves and not have to go to FEMA."

"I think this is a really good thing and I think we should've had one a long time ago and kept it up but now we can get started on it and get this thing put together and we'll get it going," Liberty said.

"I'm just glad that we're finally getting to this. We've wanted a mitigation plan for quite some time but it's a lot of work and a lot of expense to do on your own," Judy Roderick of the county's homeland security department, said.

The state figured out a way to split the state into regions financially, to be able to fund for the planning of the state-wide mitigation plans.

"I'm excited we're finally going to get this done," she said.

 

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