NOAA Support Sets the Stage for Disaster Recovery Preparedness Policy

The Takeaway: It’s a good day when years of grants and tech assistance by NOAA and the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program lead to a new climate adaptation policy.

The Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission adopted a new policy to improve disaster recovery preparedness, recommending that agencies and communities work together to develop and strengthen local policies. The commission’s action is a direct response to Guidance for Disaster Recovery Preparedness in Hawaiʻi, a publication made possible by funding from the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program and grants and technical assistance from the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program partnered with the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources and Office of Planning on the guide.

To fund the guide, a NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grant of $845,000 was matched with other grants, bringing total project support to $1.27 million over three years. Funding also supported additional products:

“It is no secret that our shorefront development is highly vulnerable to hurricanes and other events,” says the guide’s project leader Brad Romine, Ph.D., with Hawaiʻi Sea Grant. “Plans and policies need to be in place before disaster strikes so we build back safer and smarter.” Communities considering local policies can consult the guide’s models of a disaster recovery ordinance, framework, and reconstruction ordinance. Potential funding sources are also noted.

The publication’s community exercise tools were piloted by Hawaiʻi Sea Grant at the Pacific Risk Management ʻOhana conference, with feedback from 80 participants, many of whom represented agencies active during real-life disaster response situations. The pilot event was made possible by Office for Coastal Management funding, technical, and administrative support. (2019)

Partners: Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Coastal Zone Management Program and Office of Planning, Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, and Tetra Tech.