LIHU‘E — The county must update the Multi-Hazard Mitigation and Resilience Plan plan every five years to be eligible for federal pre- and post-disaster assistance, and the county is looking for community input on its 2020 draft.
In June, the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency began facilitating the plan update for the county, identifying hazards, risk assessments and exposure rates. Last Thursday and Saturday, community members were asking the community to help identify areas of hazards and minimize impacts.
Cindy Rolli, a senior program manager from Tetra Tech, which is helping to facilitate the county’s plan, hosted the Zoom meetings.
This hazard plan, she said, can be used for building codes, hospital protocol and coordination before storms. The plan can also be integrated across county projects, like where community centers should be placed and where future development can occur.
“It’s not just a plan to be able to use how can we better align our resources to identify projects that can meet multiple objectives,” Rolli said. “You never want to wait until it’s too late.”
Residents can go through each hazard — flood, hurricane, wildfire, climate change/sea-level rise, tsunami, landslide, earthquake and dam inundation — and examine different layers to show the accumulated hazards in specific areas through an interactive, color-coded mapping system.
For example, on the flood tab, residents can see areas that would be affected by chronic coastal flooding, sea-level rise, and 100- and 500-year flood events.
In the hurricane tab, data can be viewed based on a Category 4 hurricane track of southwest to the northeast, simulating a similar trajectory to Hurricane ‘Iniki.
Rolli said this specific path was chosen because the team is using past experiences to inform the future.
“There are multiple different ways a hurricane can pass,” Rolli said. “Have we learned enough from ‘Iniki?”
The plan takes into account how chronic coastal flooding and land loss would take place with sea-level rise based on modeling passive flooding, annual high-wave flooding and coastal erosion of sea-level rise of 3.2 feet of sea-level rise or 1.1 feet of sea-level rise from the Hawai‘i Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report.
The county is continuing to gather public input through Monday, Oct. 5, via a survey at kauai.gov/mitigation. Residents can search their exact locations, submit photos and review hazards in their area at that website.
“We want to ensure that what we’re showing makes sense,” Rolli said.
Data was pulled from various sources, including fire-risk ratings used by the Communities at Risk from Wildfire map produced by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawai’i Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, and Federal Emergency Management Agency flood plains.
Another public meeting, to be held this winter, will present the results of the draft.
Once approved by FEMA, the plan makes the county eligible for grant funding and other non-emergency-disaster assistance per federal law.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.