County reviews updated hazard mitigation plan

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

An updated regional hazard mitigation plan lists multiple goals for Leavenworth County and other local entities. But the local emergency management director said the main goal for the county is to protect citizens and their property.

Leavenworth County Emergency Management Director Chuck Magaha reviewed the updated plan with county commissioners Wednesday. Commissioners likely will vote next week on a resolution to adopt the plan.

The Kansas Homeland Security Region L Hazard Mitigation Plan lists mitigation goals for Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties. Magaha said Leavenworth County was designated as part of the Homeland Security Region L by the state.

Magaha described hazard mitigation as preventive maintenance. He said the process looks at things local officials can do better to prevent past disasters from happening again or at least reduce their impact in the future.

Magaha said county approval of the plan will continue to make Leavenworth County eligible for mitigation funding from the federal government.

He said the regional mitigation plan is updated every five years.

"We review it every year," he said.

Magaha told county commissioners that flooding is the No. 1 hazard for Leavenworth County.

And a number of the county's goals listed in the mitigation plan are designed to address flooding. These include the continued operation and management of jurisdictional National Flood Insurance Program activities.

Goals listed in the plan address other types of hazards such as utility and infrastructure failure, tornadoes and terrorism.

A number of the county's goals also address wildfires.

"That's getting to be more and more of an issue," Magaha told county commissioners.

County goals addressing wildfires include evaluating firefighting water supplies in the county and developing a wildlife prevention and education program.

The 495-page regional mitigation plan was put together in 2019, but approval from local entities has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Magaha said a consulting firm contracted by the state worked on the plan. He said representatives of many local entities, including cities and schools districts, were involved in the process.

"If they felt it was important to them, we put it in the plan," he said.

The plan includes goals from cities and school districts within the county as well as the University of Saint Mary and a water district.

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