After a year-long development process, the Neuse River Basin (NRB) Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan was approved and adopted by county commissioners at their May 4 meeting.
The plan involves five counties: Pitt, Wayne, Greene, Lenoir, and Jones, and received FEMA approval prior to the commissioners' formal adoption. An approved hazard mitigation plan provides communities access to federal disaster assistance during an emergency.
Hazard mitigation involves any sustained action taken to reduce long-term risk to human life and property from natural hazards.
"Pitt County has taken seriously the need for hazard mitigation planning since the devastating flood associated with Hurricane Floyd in 1999," said Planning & Development Director James Rhodes.
This regional planning effort represents the fourth hazard mitigation plan to be adopted by the Board of Commissioners. In 2003, Pitt County was recognized as the NC Emergency Management Community of the Year for Outstanding Achievement in Hazard Mitigation and received the NC American Planners Association award for Implementation of the Hazard Mitigation Plan.
The newly-adopted plan covers several areas, including vulnerability assessments, regional and local mitigation strategies, and plan implementation procedures. The NRB Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan serves all citizens, and minimizes the impact of natural disasters on the region for years to come. Strategies to improve emergency management services, maintain a robust floodplain management program, and improve outreach efforts are also included.
The plan was developed under the direction of each participating county and the Regional Mitigation Advisory Committee. A public input meeting concerning the plan was held in July 2014. The county received a grant from North Carolina Emergency Management to draft the plan, and serves as the plan's lead agency.
"The bottom line is that this plan continues the County's commitment to protect citizens from various hazards and ensures that the County is eligible for federal disaster assistance for the next five years," Rhodes said.
A copy of the plan is available at http://www.neuseriverregionalhmp.org.