Evaluating the Quality and Implementation of Hazard Mitigation Plans in Coastal Washington State

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Local-level hazard mitigation plans, particularly in coastal areas, are critical to protecting communities from natural hazards, some of which are expected to increase with climate change. However, questions remain with regard to (1) the quality of these plans, (2) the underlying planning processes, and (3) the implementation of planned actions. This study helps to fill these gaps by evaluating hazard mitigation plans from 19 counties in western Washington State, using seven components of plan quality. This evaluation was supplemented with an online survey of 27 hazard planning professionals in these counties, exploring their perceptions of collaboration in the respective planning processes, as well as implementation of the plans. Overall, the plans excel in some components of plan quality (e.g., vision statement) but suggest room for improvement in other components (e.g., policies and actions). Survey results do not provide evidence that more collaborative planning processes yield higher-quality plans in the context of these counties. Additionally, although the plan evaluation finds elements of high-quality plans, the survey identifies barriers to implementation, including deficiencies in funding, coordination, and leadership.

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Natural Hazards Review



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