the committee vision for dealing with and learning from the consequences of failure through focused and active community collaboration to enhance resilience.1
Throughout the preceding chapters, the committee has described the types of tools, products, and guidance that could be developed at the federal level that would aid development of more comprehensive and effective dam and levee safety programs. The present chapter focuses on tools and methods that could support engagement of community members and stakeholders in collaborative efforts to improve community resilience, and provides information about community circumstances and priorities that can inform technical decision making. The assumption is that the primary proponents for selection and use of these tools will be dam and levee safety professionals. However, the broader community is an equal partner in the application of those tools and in enhancing community resilience. The chapter concludes with discussion of what the committee considers essential to successful incorporation of resilience-enhancing practices into dam and levee safety programs: evaluation of current safety program activities. The committee suggests a model that could be applied by safety programs and the broader community to assess processes that are in place and processes expected to be in place at given increments of program maturity.
Concepts of community resilience cannot be incorporated into dam and levee safety programs in one decision, action, or administrative fiat. Rather, improving resilience requires persistent and coordinated commitment and action—mostly voluntary—by many in the community. In all cases, methods and strategies for outreach and engagement are needed to create long-term and continuously improving relationships between owners, regulators, community members, and stakeholders more broadly. Successful integration of these concepts is supported by the identification and selection of the appropriate tools. But cases are community- and situation-specific, and so generic recommendation of the “best” tools is neither possible nor helpful.
Dam and levee professionals have direct access to much of the expertise and experience needed to develop, apply, or assess tools that can be used at the community level. Some of the expertise and tools can be found in the federal government. In some instances, it may be possible to modify or adapt an existing or developing tool to better meet community needs. In other cases, new tools are needed. The development of tools is best accomplished collaboratively across levels of government to take full advantage of the perspectives and knowledge of local and state entities and key stakeholders.