Federal Funding Available for
Hazard Mitigation Planning
June 2009
In This Issue
Hazard Mitigation Planning
Tech Tips
Yoga for Desk Jockeys
Who is Douglas Herring & Associates?
In an effort to keep our clients informed about recent developments, we wanted to alert you to new requirements for hazard mitigation planning.  You'll also learn about federal funding to assist cities and counties in this planning effort.  Our brief summary explains the basics, in case this isn't already on your radar screen, and provides links to more detailed information.

Feel good at work.  In this issue we continue our new feature, "Yoga for Desk Jockeys," with a new pose to help reduce muscular tension and keep you alert after long hours in your chair. 

Drive, virtually. We also offer a few more tech tips about powerful free tools that help us do our work and can do the same for you. 

As always, let us know if there's anything we can do to help lighten your work load.


Doug Herring, AICP

Hazard Mitigation Planning

Let's start by looking at the opportunities for cities and counties:
  • Achieving economies of scale by incorporating hazard mitigation planning into general plan updates;
  • Becoming eligible for increased federal funding for the agency's hazard mitigation planning efforts; 
  • Developing a standard approach to mitigating hazard impacts related to new development.


The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 required State, local, and Tribal governments to prepare and adopt Hazard Mitigation Plans in order to be eligible for pre-disaster hazard mitigation funding from the federal government.  In the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina (and the associated response failures), floods, perennial wildfires, and the ever-present threat of major earthquakes, California has passed several laws in recent years to improve the status of disaster preparedness throughout the State. 

Assembly Bill 162 (2007) requires cities and counties to address flood hazards not only in the conservation element of the general plan, but also in the land use, housing, and safety elements, effective upon the next revision of the housing element on or after January 1, 2009. 

Incorporation with the general plan.  Among other requirements, the land use element must identify and annually review those areas covered by the general plan that are subject to flooding as identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).  The following link will allow you to read all of the requirements of AB 162:  Assembly Bill 162

Now the part about funding.  Federal funding is available from FEMA for hazard mitigation planning under the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program.  Information on these programs can be accessed at:  Funding Programs.  Assembly Bill 2140 (2006) encourages local governments in California to adopt a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP), prepared in accordance with the Disaster Mitigation Act, as an integrated part of its safety element.  Any local agency that has done so may receive up to 100 percent of the State's share of eligible local costs; any agency that has not adopted a LHMP as part of the safety element may not receive more than 75 percent of total State eligible costs. The text of AB 2140 is available at:  AB 2140

That's not all.  Senate Bill 5 (2007) restricts new development within a flood hazard zone located within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley. This bill requires cities and counties in the region to amend their general plans and zoning ordinances to reflect a flood protection plan to be adopted by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board no later than January 1, 2012.  Read all about it at:  SB 5

Assembly Bill 70 (2007) is intended to improve coordination between State flood control planning and local land use planning.  The idea is to hold a city or county liable for private property damage or personal injury caused by flooding, if such damage occurred as a result the agency's "unreasonably" approving new development (in a previously undeveloped area) that is protected by a State flood control project.  Read the details at:  AB 70.

And finally . . .  A wealth of information on hazard mitigation planning, including grant applications and State guideline's on preparing Local Hazard Mitigation Plans is available from the California Emergency Management Agency at:  CEMA.

Why do we feel this information is critical?  Because we can help you take advantage of our expertise in formulating hazard mitigation developed through our experience with the CEQA process.

Google Earth Image Tech Tips 

More on Google Earth
In a previous issue of DHA's eAlerts we shared some of the ways we use the powerful free tools Google Earth and Google Maps to improve the efficiency of the services we provide our clients, and gave an example of how we used it on the Honda Port of Entry EIR.  (If you didn't get that issue, let us know and we'll send it right over.) 

Now we'd like to highlight some amazing new features available in Version 5.0 of Google Earth.  After you have obtained driving directions to a location, you can virtually travel the entire route, either with a bird's-eye view, or at ground level.  To fly your route, click on the Play Tour button at the lower right corner of the travel directions.

Once you're flying along, you can pause, speed up, or reverse your tour by moving your cursor over the lower left corner of the aerial image and using the controls that will appear.  You can progressively speed up the tour by repeatedly clicking on the Fast Forward button.  You can also save the tour and email it to someone else. 

To view the route from street level, pause the tour and double-click on any of the camera icons lining your route.  From the street view, you can pan around 360 degrees, zoom in, or double-click on camera icons further along your route to keep traveling at street level.  There are many other useful features; explore the program on your own to discover your own favorites.  If you don't already have this incredible tool, you can download it at:  Google Earth.

Sending Large Files
More and more there is a need to send large files electronically, a task which can be significantly constrained by file size limits of attachments on email accounts.  We have been using the excellent free service YouSendIt to send and receive large files (up to 100 MB) to/from our clients.  It's extremely easy to use and you can send multiple files of up to 2 GB each for under $10 a month.  Learn more at:  YouSendIt.

Right Angle Pose Yoga for Desk Jockeys 

by Barbara Kaplan Herring
Right Angle at the Wall -  Take a break and get out of your chair.  Come to a wall and place your hands on the wall shoulder-width apart,  chest height or higher, with straight arms.  Walk your feet back so that your spine is stretching into the center of the room and your feet are parallel beneath your hips.  Breathe.  Relax your head in between your upper arms.  Imagine your spine elongating with each breath.  After 30 seconds to a minute, step forward and release.  Good job!

Barbara Kaplan Herring runs the Harmony Yoga Studio in El Cerrito, California.  She leads yoga trips to exotic locations such as Nepal, Mexico, Burma, Peru, and Hawaii.  Learn more at Harmony Yoga Studio.

Who Is Douglas Herring & Associates?

Douglas Herring & Associates (DHA) works with public agencies, developers, and other businesses in California to expertly obtain the environmental and planning approvals needed to move projects from the conceptual stage to physical, benefit-generating reality in an efficient and cost-effective manner.  Since 1997, DHA has helped dozens of California cities and counties and scores of other businesses and organizations save money while obtaining high-quality planning and environmental analysis services necessary to get their projects expeditiously approved and built.  Learn more on our website:  Douglas Herring & Associates.