The public is invited to participate in updating a countywide Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) that will pave the way for pre-disaster mitigation funding.
The document and a link for comments may be found on the county’s Web site at www.co.somerset.nj.us/hazard/draft.htm
To take the online survey or to view the plan update brochure, visit http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/hazard/index.htm
Somerset County is in the process of updating its 2008 All Hazards Mitigation Plan to ensure eligibility for future mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This detailed plan addresses a variety of potential natural hazards that could affect some or all of the county’s residents.
“Our county staff, municipal representatives and community liaisons collaborated to create this plan and now are working on the required five-year update,” said Freeholder Director Peter S. Palmer. “We’re offering our residents the convenience of an online survey and comments section.”
The goal of the plan is to identify projects that can reduce damages from future natural hazards. The plan includes a risk assessment and a hazard-mitigation strategy. The primary hazard in Somerset County is flooding, but other potential hazards that were analyzed included drought, extreme temperatures, severe storms, severe winter storms, earthquakes and wild fires. The study focuses on existing and future buildings, infrastructure and critical facilities that might be impacted.
Communities with an approved HMP may apply for pre-disaster mitigation funding for projects to mitigate risk to both public and private property, such as home elevations and local flood-control measures. Ultimately these projects will reduce vulnerability and enable communities to recover more quickly from disasters.
A number of communities have benefited from HMP participation. Five municipalities – Bedminster, Bernards, Franklin, North Plainfield and Warren – are participating in the Community Rating System, which provides discounts on flood-insurance premiums.
Manville was successful in obtaining a $3.8-million federal grant to acquire 15 flood-prone homes in the borough’s Lost Valley section. Manville also organized the Millstone and Raritan Rivers Flood Control Commission, established a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), obtained a trailer to store CERT materials, and coordinated plans to pick up flood debris and move critical public works equipment from the flood zone prior to flood events.
Bridgewater acquired a backup generator for its emergency shelter; Somerville is under contract to install a backup generator at its police station. Montgomery is installing three warning signs at the flood-prone Griggstown Causeway and is working with FEMA to provide flood protection at a stage-two water treatment plant. Hillsborough has applied for funds to acquire four homes in the 100-year floodplain.
For more information about the HMP, contact Carl Andreassen in the Somerset County Engineering Division at (908) 231-7024 or firstname.lastname@example.org