A number of tools developed by local, state, and federal agencies are available for use by local communities to better understand the risks they face from natural hazards, and to integrate resiliency into existing plans, codes, and policies. The tools and programs in this section, while not an exhaustive list, will provide valuable information and guidance for those looking to incorporate resiliency into local plans and policies. This section will continue to be updated with new tools, so be sure to check back regularly.

 

Colorado Tools

Planning for Hazards: Land Use Solutions for Colorado: The Planning for Hazards: Land Use Solutions for Colorado guide enables municipalities and counties to address hazards through the integration of resilience and hazard mitigation principles into land use-related plans and codes. The tool provides assistance for local communities to assess their level of risk to 11 different hazards (including drought, flooding, wildfire, soil hazards, and extreme heat), and gives detailed guidance on specific planning tools and model language that can help reduce community risk.

The Planning for Hazards Guide is organized in five sections for helping Colorado Communities become more resilient to the impacts of natural and human-caused hazards:

  • Planning Framework: This section lays the groundwork for why and how planning can help mitigate hazards;
  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment: This section guides users through the process preparing a risk assessment, and has information for how to identify which hazards might impact their community;
  • Planning Tools and Strategies: Specific land use planning tools and strategies are explored in this category, along with information about hazards each tool addresses, guidance on how to use the tool, and examples of how other communities have successfully used the tool for addressing hazards;
  • Models and Commentary: This section of the guide provides sample language that other communities have already used, as well as model language that communities can use and adapt to include in their own plans and codes; and
  • Moving Forward: This final section helps communities implement the tools and strategies outlined in previous sections, providing valuable resources for moving ahead to address risk, choose appropriate tools, and identify potential sources for funding and technical assistance.
 

Hazard Mapping and the FEMA Risk MAP program: Accurate and up-to-date hazard mapping allows communities to make informed decisions about hazard mitigation efforts based on the natural hazards they face - be it from flooding, wildfire, drought, soil erosion, etc. The State has been active in identifying and mapping hazards in Colorado, as well as partnering with FEMA to implement the  Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (MAP) program to identify, assess, communicate, and mitigate flood risks.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board leads State efforts to map floodplain and erosion areas. In addition, the Colorado Geological Survey leads efforts to identify geologic and debris flow hazard zones in Colorado. These ongoing hazard and risk mapping efforts are cataloged in the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program site. Updating information about these hazards will enable areas throughout Colorado likely to be affected by flooding, erosion, and debris flow to incorporate these risks into mitigation efforts and land use decisions that will protect future development, property, and lives, and enhance water quality and river function. 

Example of floodplain mapping efforts conducted by the Colorado Water Conservation Board through the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program.

Example of floodplain mapping efforts conducted by the Colorado Water Conservation Board through the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program.

Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal: In 2012, The Colorado State Forest Service established the Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Project in order to provide consistent data for wildfire mitigation planning in Colorado. As part of this project, CSFS developed the Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (CO-WRAP) to make the data available to both the general public and professional users.

Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (CO-WRAP) is a valuable tool for the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS)  to provide the public and government agencies with critical information to support wildfire mitigation efforts and better understand the risks they face from wildfire-related hazards. Example shown is from Palisade.

Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (CO-WRAP) is a valuable tool for the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS)  to provide the public and government agencies with critical information to support wildfire mitigation efforts and better understand the risks they face from wildfire-related hazards. Example shown is from Palisade.

 

The CO-WRAP tool can be used for a number of activities related to reducing wildfire risk, as identified by the CSFS:

  • Identifying areas that may require additional tactical planning, specifically related to mitigation projects and Community Wildfire Protection Planning;
  • Providing the information necessary to justify resource, budget and funding requests;
  • Allowing agencies to work together to better define priorities and improve emergency response, particularly across jurisdictional boundaries;
  • Increasing communication with local residents and the public to address community priorities and needs;
  • Planning for response and suppression resource needs; and planning and prioritizing hazardous fuel treatment programs.

Resilient Design Performance Standard for Infrastructure and Dependent Facilities: The Boulder County Resilient Design Performance Standard outlines community-wide, all-hazard time-to-recovery performance goals for infrastructure and dependent facilities, and provides a design standard that lays out resilience criteria and associated indicators that rely on and merge together resilience measurement sources from the State, Boulder County communities, and other best available information from the scientific community. This design standard comes with a measurement tool and implementation process for building resilience on a project-by-project basis to make incremental progress towards achieving the time-to-recovery goals.

Rules and Regulations for Regulatory Floodplains: The Colorado Water Conservation Board adopted Rules and Regulations for Regulatory Floodplains in Colorado in 2011. The rules provide uniform standards for regulatory floodplains throughout the state, creating standards for activities that could potentially impact floodplains in Colorado. These rules and regulations help prevent flooding and its impacts, as well as help protect public health, safety, welfare and property by limiting development activities in floodplains. They also help Colorado communities develop and implement sound floodplain management activities, in accordance with FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. Communities are required to adopt the Rules and Regulations locally. The Colorado Water Conservation Board is available to provide technical support.

Community Inclusion Mapping: The the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment created Community Inclusion in Colorado Maps (CICOmaps), which can help communities identify strengths and vulnerabilities within Colorado pertaining to health and social services -- including resources, assets and populations. The community inclusion maps can also be used to support the assessment of needed community programs and resources, and encourage population analysis to ensure outreach materials about health and social services are available in all appropriate languages within each community.

Community inclusion mapping is also useful to identify and prepare for community- unique vulnerabilities, providing communities the opportunity to incorporate vulnerable populations into risk mapping.

Community inclusion mapping is a useful tool for communities to use in determining vulnerable populations; addressing these populations is an important part of increasing resiliency.  This tool is available from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

Community inclusion mapping is a useful tool for communities to use in determining vulnerable populations; addressing these populations is an important part of increasing resiliency.  This tool is available from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

 

Federal Tools

FEMA’s Community Rating System: The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program that encourages communities to undertake floodplain management activities that go beyond the National Flood Insurance Program requirements. Activities are organized under four main categories (Public Information, Mapping and Regulation, Flood Damage Reduction, and Warning and Response), and provide participating communities with discounts on flood insurance premium rates ranging from 5%-45%. Beyond the reduced premiums, participating in the CRS can provide a number of other benefits, including improved public safety, environmental protection, reduced damage to property, free technical assistance for designing and implementing certain activities, and a better informed and prepared public. As of April 2016, there are 47 Colorado communities participating in the CRS. The City of Fort Collins has achieved a Class 2 in the CRS, providing residents in the Special Flood Hazard Area with a 40% discount on flood insurance. To view these communities, visit the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s interactive Community Rating System map.

FEMA’s Plan Integration: Linking Local Planning Efforts: This tool helps communities analyze local plans in order to document existing integration and further integrate hazard mitigation principles into local planning mechanisms and vice versa. Click here to view the guide.

EPA’s Flood Resilience Checklist: The Flood Resilience Checklist can help communities explore how prepared they are to avoid and/or reduce damages from a potential flood by going through a list of strategies that:

  • conserve land and discourage development along river corridors;
  • encourage new development in safer areas;
  • protect people and buildings in vulnerable areas; and
  • implement stormwater management practices throughout the entire watershed.

For communities not employing strategies in these four categories, the checklist, and the Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont report it accompanies, can help identify ways to use policies and tools to implement these strategies to improve resilience to future floods.

HUD’s Economic Resilience Planning Evaluation Tool: The Economic Resilience Planning Tool provides users with a number of best practices to integrate aspects of economic disaster mitigation, preparedness, and recovery into economic development plans.

DHS's Incorporating Resilience into Critical Infrastructure Projects: This guide provides those working on critical infrastructure programs with information and steps to take that can enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure systems. It will help decision makers prioritize projects that advance resilient infrastructure through design and investment choices.

NIST's Community Resilience Planning Guides: The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems provides communities with an approach to improve their resiliency by prioritizing resources and incorporating resiliency into zoning, codes, policies, and economic development activities, in order to manage risks from hazards to buildings and infrastructure. NIST’s Economic Decision Guide accompanies the Community Resilience Planning Guide to help communities evaluate decisions for resiliency-focused capital investment projects.