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Natural Hazards Mitigation Planning

Hazard Mitigation Planning is the process of identifying natural hazards and assessing the risk they pose to critical community resources. By identifying this risk and creating long-term strategies, communities can address vulnerabilities and reduce the loss of life and property.

The formal process of hazard mitigation planning emerged as part of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. This act amended the earlier Stafford Act by establishing a national program for pre-disaster mitigation. As part of this act, all municipalities are required to have a FEMA-approved Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan in place and to ensure that the plan stays active to address changing hazards and risk. To maintain an active plan, regional and local jurisdictions must review and complete revisions every five years to address changes in development, progress in mitigation efforts, and changes in priorities. The 2024 Merrimack Valley Region Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan update is currently underway.

An active hazard mitigation plan offers a number of benefits, including the opportunity to:

  • Maintain a comprehensive and local assessment of risk
  • Review vulnerabilities and create tangible action steps to manage and mitigate risk
  • Apply and receive federal funding to support pre-disaster mitigation and recovery

Four Main Components of a Hazard Mitigation Plan:

Identify Natural Hazards

Identify and describe the natural hazards (e.g. hurricane, drought, coastal erosion) that can occur in your region and their associated frequency, intensity, and risk.

Map Community Lifelines

Locate critical infrastructure, services, and resources within your community that act as lifelines to sustain day-to-day operations.

Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment

Overlay the identified hazards and community lifelines to conduct a vulnerability assessment to understand community-specific risk.

Create Mitigation Goals & Action Plan

Develop a set of mitigation goals and an associated action plan to actively minimize vulnerability and risk within your community.

Merrimack Valley Region Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan 2024

The first Regional Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Merrimack Valley was written in 2008 (read 2008 plan). The plan was then updated in 2016 (read 2016 update). In December 2022, MVPC kicked off a second update to the Regional Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. Over the next 18 months, MVPC will work with ten different Merrimack Valley Communities to complete this update.

HMP Kick-off Event

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission held a virtual kick-off event on December 7th, 2023. Following this event, each participating municipality formed its Local Hazard Mitigation Planning teams.

Public Comment Period

The updated 2024 Merrimack Valley Region Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan will be available for public comment and review starting Tuesday, May 28th through Friday, June 28th, 2024. Please check back here later this month for a link to the final draft plan to review and comment!


HMP Update Complete