MORRISON – A committee has formed, and public comment is being sought on a countywide plan to identify activities and projects needed to reduce damages caused by natural hazards such as floods, snowstorms, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and ice storms.
The Whiteside County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan will be funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a news release from Sgt. Seth Janssen, the county’s Emergency Services and Disaster Agency coordinator.
Whiteside County has had 10 federal disasters declared since 1965, nine involving flooding, the release said.
“Developing this plan will help us be better prepared before storms hit,” Janssen said. “The focus of this plan is to reduce the harm to property and residents. We have an emergency response plan. The mitigation plan is aimed at prevention, so it will complement our response plan."
“The county and each participating municipality that adopts the mitigation plan being developed will become eligible for federal funds,” he said in the release.
The new Whiteside County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee has representatives from each participating municipality, along with technical partners and other stakeholders.
Public meetings will be held to gather and discuss information that will be used to prepare the plan.
All Whiteside County municipalities are invited to participate. Most – Albany, Erie, Fulton, Morrison, Prophetstown, Rock Falls, Sterling, and Tampico – already have indicated they will.
This is a “living plan” that will be updated each year, allowing participants to add projects to the plan.
“Typically, plans are developed and then the public is asked to comment,” Janssen said. “With this hazard mitigation plan, input from the public will be gathered before and during its development. We will also hold a public forum after the plan is drafted, but our focus will be to gather input before the draft is completed.”
The first meeting of the Whiteside County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee begins at 1 p.m. July 17 at Odell Public Library, 307 S. Madison St. in Morrison.
Call Sgt. Seth Janssen, the county's Emergency Services and Disaster Agency coordinator, at 815-772-4044, ext. 209, for more information.
Meeting agendas will be posted at www.whiteside.org online.