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Muscogee Nation Begins Update of FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plan
OKMULGEE, Okla. — The Muscogee Nation is in the process of updating its Tribal Hazard Mitigation Plan to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters and to develop long-term strategies for protecting the Nation from future hazard events. FEMA requires Tribal governments to update their HMP as a condition of receiving certain Federal Disaster Recovery and Hazard Mitigation Assistance funds. The Nation has partnered with Meshek & Associates, LLC, a Tulsa based engineering firm specializing in mitigation and resilience planning, to complete the 2021 HMP update. The first meeting, held on April 27, brings together stakeholders from the Nation, and local, state, and Federal government partners.
Tribal hazard mitigation plans are approved for 5-year periods and must be updated to maintain eligibility for certain types of Federal disaster recovery and hazard mitigation funds.
“We want to be prepared and proactive when it comes to providing immediate relief and recovery services on our Reservation if and when natural disasters or emergency events occur,” Principal Chief David Hill said. “This partnership with Meshek will help us meet those goals, and we’re thrilled to get started in this process.”
Based on the completion of this planning process, Muscogee Nation will be eligible for funding, such as FEMA's Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. Last year BRIC offered $500 million in grants to help support states, tribes, territories, and communities as they design and begin new infrastructure projects – projects that will reduce future disaster recovery costs and help save lives. Post-disaster funds would also be available, allowing the Tribe to recover and rebuild after a natural disaster.
The Muscogee Nation hazard mitigation planning includes several essential pieces:
· Identifying and profiling hazards that affect the Nation– from floods such as the 2019 flood along the Arkansas River to winter weather, tornadoes, wildfires, and earthquakes.
· Analyzing the Nation's risk from those hazards
· Developing a strategy to lessen or reduce the impact of the profiled hazards both before and after a disaster.
The process to update the current Hazard Mitigation plan will include several opportunities for public participation, including public meetings, invitations to share stories and information on past disasters, and a public survey to solicit additional input from Tribal citizens. This public input will be included in a draft plan, which will be available for public comment in the spring of 2022.