SOUTHEAST DISASTER RECOVERY PARTNERSHIP
2019 ANNUAL WORKSHOP
The 2019 Workshop took place in Savannah, Georgia on January 23-24, 2019. Both days were packed with panels and interactive sessions. Participants took the opportunity to learn more about one another's work, to engage each other in structured activities to advance our collective knowledge, and to mingle and network over meals. Many participants arrived in town early to take advantage of a full day National Disaster Preparedness Training Center training, Planning for Community Disaster Recovery. Learn more about the individual sessions of the workshop below!
Resilience & Recovery Perspectives from Savannah and the Georgia Coast
Savannah and the Georgia coast are home to unique cultural and environmental assets. However, the coast is also vulnerable to hurricanes, sea level rise, erosion, and even wildfires. In this panel, we heard from a variety of perspectives about disaster recovery and resilience in Savannah and the Georgia coast. Panelists shared their approach to this work, their thoughts on collaboration and partnerships, and perspectives on opportunities and challenges. In the Q&A, panelists discussed untapped resources for building resilience.
Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division
Coastal Georgia, with 14 barrier islands and 360 acres of salt marsh, benefits from a rich natural and cultural history. Recent hurricanes have demonstrated that the costs of recovery and redevelopment are increasing. Director Haymans opened the Workshop with remarks about how Georgia is reducing storm impacts and recovery costs through pre-disaster recovery planning. By 2020, all eleven coastal counties will have local pre-disaster recovery plans in place, making Georgia the first in the nation to achieve this level of preparation. These plans are about more than sandbags and generators – they help Georgians be prepared for the work that happens after the disaster strikes and recedes.
High Tide and Other Chronic Flooding
Chronic flooding is a growing problem for communities across the Southeast. Some coastal cities and towns flood during cyclical high tides, while others have nuisance flooding caused by inadequate stormwater management. With sea level rise and greater precipitation driven by climate change, we will need more creative and holistic strategies to manage this type of flooding. Three experts from federal government, local government, and academia discuss their approaches to coping with chronic flooding.
Senior Environmental Project Coordinator
Broward County faces a multitude of chronic flooding problems. Water from the Everglades flows into the County, while the water table beneath the ground is rising. While chronic flooding worsens, development is booming. On average, 100 people move to the County every day. Jason Liechty shared his department’s work to adopt design and development standards appropriate to future conditions, such as sea level rise. The County is requiring more drainage on site, for example, to respond to future climate conditions, and the 100-year flood maps now reflect sea level rise. Broward County also worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to generate sea wall standards that reflected sea level rise. On a promising note, Jason shared that there has been virtually no opposition to higher standards, including from developers, because of strong scientific backing and lots of outreach work.
Learning from Recent Disasters
One of the challenges of disaster recovery is that disasters do not happen in the same way and in the same place every time. It can feel like every recovery program or initiative is starting from scratch. Bringing together leaders from different backgrounds, panelists whose careers span multiple disaster recoveries shared their perspectives. This session included a breakout discussion for all participants to explore the lessons learned from recent disasters, the lessons that haven’t been learned, and how we can use our knowledge to implement better recoveries.
Research Project Manager
North Carolina Division of Emergency Management
North Carolina Emergency Management is leading an effort to evaluate the Hurricane Matthew recovery with support from the Southeast Disaster Recovery Partnership. Across interviews with state agency staff, the greatest challenges that the state faced in the Hurricane Matthew recovery concerned capacity. Recovery programs had to ramp up quickly, and some agencies became responsible for programs that they had never run before. To address these challenges, additional permanent staff would increase capacity as well as institutional memory about administering recovery programs. In addition, recovery staff had to respond to a constant stream of external requests for information and assistance. A centralized system for handling information requests and tracking information would help reduce the burden associated with responding to external information requests. Look for more insights from this project on our website soon!
Day 1 Interactive Session:
New Friendships and Connections
In this session, we developed an understanding of next steps to build or strengthen relationships between disaster recovery and energy efficiency, conservation, and private insurance.
Reaching Businesses Before and After Disaster
Reaching businesses is one of the Southeast Disaster Recovery Partnership's cross-cutting themes. Businesses are key partners in disaster recovery, from meeting everyday needs like groceries to providing jobs that allow families to rebuild their homes. In this panel, we heard from leaders who are strengthening their relationships with the private sector and serving businesses in new ways.
Emergency Management Planner
Miami-Dade Emergency Management
With support from the Southeast Disaster Recovery Partnership, Miami-Dade is upgrading its disaster recovery plan and leading a survey of businesses about their emergency management and disaster recovery needs. Steve discussed the public-private partnerships that Miami-Dade relies on, including its Emegency Support Function 18 (Business and Industry) and its Economic Recovery Support Functions. There are two types of private sector organizations in these support functions -- large corporations, including major retailers and banks, and networking organizations like chambers of commerce and small business development centers, which are "force multipliers." Miami-Dade even has its own partnership of emergency management and cultural heritage organizations called Alliance for Response. In addition, Miami-Dade just rolled out a business preparedness survey in three languages to learn more about businesses experiences during Hurricane Irma
Day 2 Interactive Session:
Innovation, Barriers, and Underutilized Resources
In this session, we distilled our understanding of the field of disaster recovery and resilience in three areas: innovation, barriers, and underutilzed resources. Using discussion and structured prioritization, participants identified highest priority issues for each topic. Learn more about these issues in the brief that was based on this discussion.
After the release of our white paper For the Long Haul: Public-Private Partnerships for Disaster Recovery, collaborators from NOAA and Sea Grant agencies in the Southeast and the Caribbean worked on in-state projects that strengthened public-private partnerships. In 2018, these partners led our Workshop participants in an initial discussion session. Between the 2018 and 2019 Workshops, several pilot efforts began, and during this panel, we heard about these projects.
Florida Sea Grant
Before Hurricane Irma arrived in the Florida Keys, where were 450,000 spiny lobster traps off the coast. After the hurricane, these traps were far from their original locations. Florida Sea Grant used pilot funds to contribute to a rapid assessment of the location of traps, using spotter pilots and GPS referenced photographs. These flyovers and their associated data facilitated that recovery of significant numbers of traps, which then allowed fishermen to get back to work faster. It is estimated that the flyovers saved $4 million dollars. This project built on existing strong relationships between Sea Grant and the commercial spiny lobster fishery. It also helped build new relationships with the fishermen, Sea Grant, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which also has benefitted from the data.