Stakeholder Workshops and Public Participation During Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Planning
Weston & Sampson Weston & Sampson supported the Town of Wenham’s natural hazard mitigation and climate resilience efforts by preparing a joint Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Plan. We prepared the plan in accordance with FEMA guidelines for hazard mitigation planning and with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs’ requirements for becoming a “Certified MVP Community.” We capitalized on the synergies of the HMP and MVP programs to perform this project efficiently. Both processes are informed by the development of the Core Team, evaluation of the previous Hazard Mitigation Plan, the Community Resilience Building Workshop, and the presentation of the final report at a public listening session.
Weston & Sampson reviewed available information on existing conditions and extreme events, and assisted the town in establishing a municipal planning team to guide the public engagement process and incorporate recommendations from the public into the proposed mitigation and climate resilience strategies. We developed a plan that describes how natural hazards including flooding, winter storms, high winds, fires, geologic hazards, and worsening climate change impacts may threaten the town. The plan also identifies key features at risk from natural hazards and climate change and assesses their vulnerability; including critical infrastructure, vulnerable populations, and natural resources. The plan also identifies, analyzes, and prioritizes a comprehensive range of mitigation actions and projects that best meet the town’s needs for multiple hazard damage reduction.
The project’s extensive public engagement included an all-day facilitated Community Resilience Building (CRB) Workshop for stakeholders that followed guidance from The Nature Conservancy, and an information-sharing listening session for the general public. Completion of this joint Hazard Mitigation and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan and its acceptance by FEMA and the Commonwealth will enable Wenham to be eligible for Massachusetts MVP Action Grants, as a Certified MVP Community, and for FEMA grant funding. These grants can be used to help Wenham to implement priority hazard mitigation and climate resilience strategies.