The County of Sonoma has been awarded $60,000 in Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for an in-depth study of the flood threat near Villa Grande along the Russian River. The funds will be matched by $20,000 in Fifth District flood mitigation funding to provide solutions for the area, which is affected by seasonal flooding and a lack of drainage infrastructure.
Grants provide critical pre-and post-disaster funding for essential programs in the County of Sonoma. Several of the grants awarded since 2017 have been instrumental in achieving the County’s long and short-term goals for regional resilience.
“By planning for the worst, we can rise above the adversity that faces us,” says Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. “In seeking out crucial funding to support forward-looking projects that make our community safer, we’re taking the necessary proactive steps to stay Sonoma Strong.”
The Department of Emergency Management is working with advocacy organizations in Sonoma County to support the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in disasters through the Radio Disaster Alert Devices Program funded through a post-Tubbs and Nuns fires grant for $44,000. The program is set to distribute 200 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios equipped with bed-shaker and strobe alarm devices to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in Sonoma County. These devices, when activated in the case of an evacuation order issued through the NOAA system, emit a warning tone and message.
DEM will be working with a local deaf advocacy group to distribute the radios throughout the deaf community, providing an additional layer of notification focused on our vulnerable populations.
The Department of Transportation and Public Works submitted grant applications to provide infrastructure that will ensure essential operations can continue during power outages. By leveraging more than $540,000 in federal grant money from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the County is in the process of installing two generators in key locations. Within the next few months, a generator will be installed at the Santa Rosa Maintenance Yard, which will allow for continued use of communication and logistics systems that are essential for the coordination of resources and supplies to respond to service requests from the public, emergency and law enforcement personnel. The road yard is the main office for dispatching and storing equipment and materials and serves as the Department of Transportation and Public Works Operations Center in times of emergency and disaster.
Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport is also slated to have a generator installed. Previously, power outages affecting the airport caused air traffic controllers to have to manually direct aircraft, led to long lines at security, meant no lights in the terminal, and other issues. The airport’s generator is slated to come online in 2022.
Sonoma County, the cities of Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Cotati, the Town of Windsor, the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District, Sonoma County Fire Districts, and both the Gold Ridge and Sonoma Resource Conservation Districts are collaborating on an update to the 2016 Sonoma County Local Hazard Mitigation Plan with a Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. This is a countywide effort to identify risks and ways to minimize damage by natural and manmade disasters. The plan will be a comprehensive resource document that serves many purposes such as enhancing public awareness, creating a decision tool for management, promoting compliance with state and federal program requirements, enhancing local policies for hazard mitigation capability, and providing inter-jurisdictional coordination.
A vital part of the revision process is receiving public input regarding the threats facing our region and potential actions to reduce the impact of those hazards. During the first week of December, the County will be launching a robust public outreach campaign, starting with a public survey to gain the communities’ input to help guide the process and identify concerns and solutions, allowing staff to incorporate feedback into the planning process and the plan itself.
More information, as well as a calendar of public engagement opportunities, when they are scheduled, will be available on the Permit Sonoma Hazard Mitigation Plan webpages.
Individual questions or comments regarding this project and engagement process are encouraged and should be directed to Lisa Hulette, Permit Sonoma Grant Manager at Lisa.Hulette@sonoma-county.org
The process of identifying grant opportunities and viable programs or projects is unceasing in Sonoma County as the staff continues to seek out funding to support the short and long-term goals for strengthening the community.