As part of its ground truthing of community resilience efforts in communities, the committee considered community work being undertaking by the National Academy of Sciences’ Resilient America Program and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The Resilient America Roundtable launched a community pilot program in 2014 that partnered with local stakeholders in four communities—Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Central Puget Sound region, Washington; Charleston, South Carolina; and Tulsa, Oklahoma—to enhance and build their resilience. In 2015, the National Institute of Standards and Technology worked with the Boulder County Collaborative to develop a Resilient Design Performance Standard.
Colorado experiences a variety of disasters including blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, floods and earthquakes. After the September 2013 floods, the state turned its attention to resilience building and developed the Colorado Resiliency Framework,1 which became the marching orders for reconstruction after the floods. Boulder became a member of the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities initiative in 2014 and released its resilience strategy in 2016. Two of its resilience challenges are: (1) the exacerbation of natural hazards (e.g., flooding, wildfires) from climate change, and (2) the link between ecological and social stresses with hazards and their negative impact on each other. Box 2-4 (Chapter 2) discusses
the implementation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Community Resilience Planning Guide in Boulder County.
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
Cedar Rapids’ devastating flood of 2008, a Presidentially Declared Disaster, was the defining disaster for the city. The Cedar River crested just above 31 feet, 12 feet higher than the previous record, resulting in overtopped levees and major damage to homes and businesses. The floodwaters devastated more than 10 square miles of the city and displaced about 10,000 residents.2 More than $5.4 billion in flood losses were reported, and city buildings outside of the 500-year floodplain (e.g., Linn County Sheriff’s Office and Mercy Medical Center) were seriously damaged. Since the 2008 floods, Cedar Rapids has made significant progress toward flood mitigation and recovery (e.g., by installing a comprehensive flood control system),3 and continues its efforts to become more prepared and build resilience to future floods and other hazards. In 2016, the Cedar River crested at 21.97 feet, the second-highest river crest in the city’s history. The city was well prepared and weathered that flood relatively unscathed.
CENTRAL PUGET SOUND REGION, WASHINGTON
The Central Puget Sound Region includes King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Communities in the region face a variety of hazards including earthquakes, snow, ice, landslides, sea level rise, flooding, windstorms, and wild fires. The 2014 Oso landslide4 destroyed 40 homes, dammed the North Fork Stillaguamish River, and flooded numerous other homes and buildings; 43 residents lost their lives (USGS, 2015). The Hanukkah Eve windstorm in 2006 resulted in 14 deaths, millions of people without electricity for days, and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage (Wilma, 2006). And, the 6.8 magnitude Nisqually Earthquake in 2001 left about 400 people injured, damaged and destroyed buildings and roads, and resulted in billions of dollars in damage. Efforts are under way in the region to create a fully operational Earthquake Early Warning System (a.k.a., ShakeAlert™).5 To reduce flood risk, Pierce County has partnered with a number of agencies and organizations to complete floodplain remediation projects as part of its Floodplains for the Future Program.6 And the Snohomish County’s Sustainable Lands Strategy is a multistakeholder effort of municipal,
state, federal, and tribal partners working to identify solutions that are beneficial for fishing, farming, and flooding.7
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Since the landmark disaster of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Charleston has experienced several notable flood events: historic rainfall in October 2015, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and Hurricane Irma in 2017. In recent years, the city has demonstrated a commitment to flood resilience. For example, in December 2015, the city identified sea level rise as a top priority in its first Sea Level Rise Strategy. Additionally, a volunteer group of individuals representing public, private, and nonprofit organizations created the Charleston Resilience Network.8 The network is working to enhance resilience in the community by sharing information, educating stakeholders, and fostering a unified strategy. The Charleston Resilience Network is also working on resilience projects including Building Community Resilience to Water-Related Hazards in the Charleston, SC Region and Development of Multi-hazard Coastal Resiliency Assessment and Adaptation Indices and Tools for the Charleston, SC Region. The city hired its first chief resilience officer in early 2017.
Tulsa experienced a devastating flood in 1984 that resulted in 14 deaths and $180 million in damage. As a result, the city implemented a major flood control program that included buyouts, comprehensive stormwater management, and a flood control system.9 In 2014, the city became a member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative. The success of the flood control program has allowed the city to now focus on other challenges and priorities. In a state where city budgets are largely based on yearly sales-tax revenues, these revenues can be a primary determinant for how and whether a community is able to take action to build resilience to hazards. In recent years, Tulsa has experienced budget fluctuations in its yearly sales tax revenues, which can jeopardize the city’s ability to provide critical services. Thus, economic resilience is one of the city’s key priorities.
7 For information about the Sustainable Lands Strategy, see https://snohomishcountywa.gov/2194/37813/Sustainable-Lands-Strategy.
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