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9 Conclusions and Recommendations Primarily because individual landslides usually affect limited local areas and individual landowners, damage resulting from landslide hazards has not generally been recognized as a problem of national importance and has not been addressed on a national basis. The absence of a coordinated, national approach to mitigating the detrimental effects of landslides has resulted in a reduced ability of state and local govern- ment agencies to apply the important lessons learned, often at consider- able expense, in other parts of the country. As a result of a congressional directive, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) addressed the need for a national approach by preparing the National Landslide Hazards Mitiga- tion Strategy (Spiker and Gori, 2000~. This proposal describes in broad overview the nine major components, ranging from basic research activi- ties to improved public policy measures and enhanced mitigation, con- sidered essential to address hazards arising from landslides at the national level. The committee agrees that a national approach to the mitigation of landslide hazards is needed and considers that the nine components briefly described in the USGS proposal are the essential elements of a national landslide hazard mitigation strategy. Responsibility for the problems posed by landslides, and for the solutions to those problems, is widely shared among different levels of government and among different stakeholders at each level. This shared responsibility emphasizes the role of the partnerships that will be required to develop and implement a national landslide hazards mitigation strat- egy. A key starting point for considering landslide partnerships is the recognition that for a national policy to be effective, it must shape not 103
104 PARTNERSHIPS FOR REDUCING LANDSLIDE RISK only federal actions but also those of state and local governments and ultimately those of private landowners. The committee agrees that a national landslide hazards mitigation strategy should be based on part- nerships involving federal, state, local, and nongovernmental entities. The committee has defined five focal points for partnerships that will inevitably entail relationships within and among multiple levels of govern- ment and with nongovernmental entities: 1. partnerships between the federal agencies involved in landslide mitigation to provide leadership and national coordination; 2. partnerships between federal agencies and their state counterparts to promote hazard mapping and risk analysis at the state level; 3. partnerships between state agencies and local governments, non- governmental groups, and private citizens to ensure that education and assistance is provided to the "front line" of mitigation activities; 4. research partnerships between federal agencies and academic insti- tutions, in collaboration with state, local, and nongovernmental partners, to conduct research on landslide process mechanics, monitoring tech- niques, loss and risk assessment methods, and mapping techniques, and 5. international partnerships for global exchange of knowledge and techniques. The description of the components of a national landslide hazards mitigation strategy in the USGS proposal is brief. The committee con- cludes that a more complete discussion of the comparative importance of each element of the proposed national strategy is required and a sense of priorities must be presented. The recommendations presented in the following paragraphs are designed to convey the committee's priorities for a national program: The committee recommends that a national strategy for landslide loss reduction promote the use of risk analysis techniques to guide loss reduction efforts at the state and local levels. Because the state of the art of landslide risk analysis is evolving, further development of risk analysis methods, and documentation and dissemination of their use, are impor- tant components of the research and application program for a national landslide strategy. Use of risk analysis for guiding appropriate choice of landslide loss reduction tools should be an important element of the technical assistance and outreach programs provided to state, local, and nongovernmental entities. Development of guidelines and standards concerning best practices and promotion of those practices at state and local levels of government are important aspects of the proposed federal strategy.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 105 The National Landslide Hazards Mitigation Program must play a vital role in evaluating methods, setting standards, and advancing pro- cedures and guidelines for landslide hazard maps and assessments. National landslide information gathering and mapping should be under- taken within the proposed partnerships. The program must establish appropriate standards and procedures for the collection, long-term manage- ment, and maintenance of this information. Metadata must be associated with all data collected under the auspices of the program, in accordance with National Spatial Data Infrastructure protocols. Hazard donation mapping must be developed for multiple mapping scales by utilizing best available technologies. Accurate terrain information is essential, and the landslide hazard mapping program must be based on the highest-resolution topographic data. In order to provide tools for landslide hazard mitigation, it will be necessary to conduct basic research on monitoring techniques and on aspects of landslide process mechanics. An integrated research program is recommended in which intensive field studies are used to (1) improve site and laboratory characterization techniques; (2) develop new field monitoring methods; (3) obtain greater understanding of failure and movement mechanisms; and (4) develop and test models to predict fail- ure timing, location, and ultimate mass displacement. Studies of debris flows, bedrock slides, and submarine landslides deserve greatest atten- tion. Innovative remote-sensing technologies are now offering researchers the possibility of rapid and detailed detection and monitoring of land- slides. Additional support to exploit these new technologies and develop practical tools for a broad user community is needed. Improved education and awareness of landslide hazards and miti- gation options, for decision makers, professionals, and the general public, must be primary components of a national landslide hazard mitigation program. Collecting and disseminating information about landslide hazards to federal, state, and local government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, planners, policy makers, and private citizens in a form useful for planning and decision making is critically important to an effective mitigation program. Such education and aware- ness efforts will be most effective if implemented at the outset of the program. If the national landslide hazard mitigation program is to mate- rialize, broad-based acceptance, participation, and support are essential to its success. The committee agrees that substantially increased funding will be necessary to implement a national landslide hazards mitigation pro-
106 PARTNERSHIPS FOR REDUCING LANDSLIDE RISK gram. The committee considers that the figure of $20 million, presented in the USGS proposal as the amount required to support an enlarged Land- slides Hazards Program within USGS, would provide an adequate basis for the initial stages of a national strategy with a 10-year target for achiev- ing substantial loss reduction goals. However, the committee considers that the distribution of funding should progress from an initial emphasis on research, development of guidelines, and startup to the later wide- spread implementation of landslide risk reduction measures through various partnership programs. The committee considers that additional increases to annual funding of $35 million for years 4-6 and $50 million for years 7-10 and beyond will be required to support these later parts of the program. The committee recognizes the reality that national budget- ary considerations will determine the total annual funding provided to implement this strategy and emphasizes that the distribution of total avail- able funding among the program's different components is of paramount importance for an appropriately balanced national program. The committee commends the USGS for undertaking the important initial steps toward a comprehensive national landslide hazards miti- gation strategy. The committee recommends that the USGS in close partnership with other relevant agencies produce the implementation and management plans that will provide the practical basis for an effec- tive national strategy that can be applied at the local level.