What is hazard mitigation?
The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 defines hazard mitigation as any substantial action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from hazards. Several pieces of federal legislation, including the, Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 through 5207), as amended by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101), National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4104c), and 44 CFR Part 201-Hazard Mitigation Planning, require hazard mitigation planning to be conducted by the principle emergency management agency for each local jurisdiction.
The 2019 Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) forms the foundation for Caroline County and its long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. As an incentive for state and local governments to develop hazard mitigation plans, the federal government requires mitigation planning as a component of eligibility for hazard mitigation funding. The 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Unified Guidance and Addendum, produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) states that mitigation plans are the foundation for effective hazard mitigation. As such, local jurisdictions must have a FEMA-approved local hazard mitigation plan at the time of obligation of grant funds in order to be eligible for grant funding under the unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs. This requirement reinforces the importance of mitigation planning and emphasizes planning for disasters before they occur.
To view the 2019 Caroline County Hazard Mitigation Plan, click on the link below.
Some areas of Caroline County are subject to periodic flooding, which poses risks to the public health and safety, as well as potential loss of property. Flood-related losses may result from structures that are inappropriately located, inadequately elevated, or otherwise unprotected and vulnerable, which increases flood damage to other lands. While the protection of life and property provided the initial basis for the protection of floodplains, there has been a growing recognition in recent years that limiting disturbances within floodplains can serve a variety of additional public health benefits. Floodplains moderate and store floodwater, absorb wave energies, and reduce erosion and sedimentation. Wetlands found within floodplains help maintain water quality, recharge surface water supplies, protect fisheries, and provide habitat and natural corridors for wildlife.
Caroline County regulations require any new development to have sufficient area outside the floodplain to accommodate all construction, including wells and septic systems. All development located in the 1-percent annual chance flood area is subject to strict flood protection measures. Since 1995, Caroline County has participated in the Community Rating System (CRS) program. The CRS is a voluntary program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and provides discounts for flood insurance policy holders within participating communities. For more information, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
The Department of Emergency Services partners with the Caroline County Department of Planning and Codes to develop floodplain management and mitigation strategies. Here are some additional helpful resources:
- Caroline County Department of Planning and Codes
- 2014-4 Floodplain Management Ordinance
- 2015-1 Floodplain Management Ordinance Accessory Structures
- Caroline County Flood Study
- FEMA Flood Map Service Center
- National Geodetic Survey Data Explorer
- Maryland Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM) Outreach Program
- Maryland Department of Emergency Management Know Your Zone