Hettinger County updates Multi-Hazard plan

Even James Schwartz admitted it was timely when representatives from Hettinger County communities met Monday in New England to work on updating the county’s multi-hazard mitigation plan.

By Brad Mosher

The Herald

While the people were meeting in New England’s Memorial Hall, the county seat was facing an all too familiar threat – the Cannonball River breaching its banks and flooding into parts of the Mott community.

Schwartz, the president and CEO of Nexus Planning and Consulting in Bismarck, said the work the representatives did Monday over three hours would help the communities and them save money in the years ahead.

“We were reviewing the mitigation strategy and the projects that were built off of previous meetings. The research we did there is called the risk assessments. We analyze each of the hazards and threats. We talked about what is the impact, how often does it occur, how likely it is to occur in the future ands what makes us vulnerable,” he said after the groups completed the paperwork needed.  In addition, the meeting and plan also focused on how to mitigate it currently within the communities or county’s capabilities.

Schwartz, whose grandparents live in New England, said that from the various assessments the group has analyzed the threats to the communities. “From that, we created the projects at the meeting and then we just scored them out.”

According to the emergency services manager for Logan County, Schwartz said the next step in the process will be developing the rest of the draft plan. “Then, it will go out for a 30-day public review. After the 30 days is over, then we’ll have a public hearing to allow for the public to come in and voice, review, or comment. At the community meeting, there will be a motion to accept the draft plan as it is…”

When it is completed locally, the plan will be sent to the state and federal agencies for review,” Schwartz said.

“When it goes to the state, they have 45 days for review,” he added.

“Ultimately, I believe we can have this whole thing wrapped up by the end of July. Then, once they give us the ‘Yes we have got it’ and we adopt it… then we take our application and submit it to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and we seek reimbursement for our efforts,” he said.

Once completed and approved, the plan will be keep the county and the communities in compliance with their (FEMA) regulations, Schwartz explained.  “When you do that, you are eligible for any and all grant programs that they have. So, it is a good idea for us to stay in compliance and maintain our eligibility for grant funding.”

“When you have a good plan, it is always easier to update than to start fresh,” he said.

Schwartz said that he was surprised when he found out that Regent had one flooding issue. “And I was surprised that in New England, flooding had as little impact as it did because of the topography.

“On the opposite side, Mott is the one which has all the issues. I was really surprised how lopsided the findings were. Their Main Street is this old drainage floodway. That is why they build the Mott Watershed Dam was to stop it and control it, then they built the Main Street.

“They (Mott) have to address flooding, dam failure, their school is at the intersection of highways (HazMat with a vulnerable population), infectious disease because of the flooding, the care center with a vulnerable population. They have a lot of risks,” he added.

“There is a lot of work to do in Mott,” he concluded.

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