On behalf of the entire BOLDplanning team, congratulations to the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management, NM, along with the cities of Aztec (the county seat), Bloomfield, and Farmington, and the town of Kirtland, for gaining FEMA approval of their recently updated Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP).
HMPs, as expressed by FEMA, are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. Additionally, the National Institute of Building Sciences now estimates that every dollar invested in mitigation saves six dollars in prevented damages (up from four dollars in previous years). And, given the fact the U.S. saw a record number of billion-dollar disasters (22 in fact, totaling $96 million in damage) in 2020, that number may climb even higher.
For the last few months, Tennessee-based BOLDplanning and the San Juan County’s participating jurisdictions have worked together to identify natural hazards, add/update mitigation projects, and communicate with plan stakeholders. The result, FEMA approval of the HMP, confirms compliance with the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390) and ensures the County’s eligibility for Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants (pre-and post-disaster) for the next five years. These include the Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program and the Building Resilience Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant Program, to name a few.
Funds from these programs are commonly used by state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to support all kinds of mitigation projects. Among them are structural retrofits, the building of safe rooms, culverts, and retaining walls, the installation of warning sirens, and even mitigation education and awareness programs.
For San Juan County, specifically, these projects include but are not limited to promoting the Flood Damage Prevention Program, constructing a new water storage tank in Aztec, constructing a new reservoir for the Bloomfield Water System, supporting wildfire mitigation efforts in Farmington, and ensuring water supply protection in Kirtland.
With a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan now in place, San Juan County and its participating jurisdictions are in a much better position to safeguard residents, businesses, schools, an