Level Up Audio Project

May 27, 2020

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX produced the Level Up Audio Project to share stories, case studies, and best practices to inspire hazard mitigation action and strengthen our community of hazard mitigation and climate adaptation professionals. As a resource to state and local governments on climate adaptation and resilience, the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) partnered with FEMA Region IX to make the audio series available. 

The Level Up Audio Project features five 10- to 15-minute conversations with individuals from around the Region who are making hazard mitigation planning and action a priority in different communities. Tune in to hear how:

  • An immigrants’ rights organization in California made sure all members of the community were able to rebuild following the Thomas Fire;
  • The City of Santa Cruz integrated climate adaptation and hazard mitigation planning processes to ensure more coordinated implementation;
  • The City of Tehama stacked various funding sources to elevate homes and protect the community from floods; and more.

All Level Up episodes are available below, and can also be streamed via podcast distributors like Blubrry, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher. If you have topics to suggest for future episodes or would like to get involved, please contact fema-r9-mitigation-planning@fema.dhs.gov or GCC Senior Associate Annie Bennett (bennett@georgetown.edu).

Episode 1: Resilience and Environmental Justice

Hazard mitigation efforts often focus on property and infrastructure, but every community’s most important resource is its people. Lucas Zucker, the policy and communications director for the California-based organization Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, or CAUSE, talks about ways communities can support low-income and immigrant populations before, during, and after hazard eventsThemes: Climate change; disadvantaged communities, equity, and social resilience; mitigation planning

Episode 1 Transcript

 

Episode 2: Integrated Resilience Planning

Most communities develop numerous planning documents to guide growth and development. These plans are often created and adopted in standalone processes, leading to fragmented implementation. Tiffany Wise West, the Sustainability and Climate Action Manager for the City of Santa Cruz, California, managed to avoid that trap and developed a Climate Adaptation Plan in conjunction with the city’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. In this episode, she discusses the benefits and challenges of the plan integration process. Themes: climate change; disadvantaged communities, equity, and social resilience; flooding; mitigation planning; urban; wildfire

Episode 2 Transcript

 

Episode 3: Funding Strategies for Community Resilience

When you ask emergency managers and city planners what they need to make their community more resilient to disaster, most have the same answer: money. Federal and state grants can help finance projects, but the requirements can be labor intensive and often require a financial match from the community. Carolyn Steffan from the City of Tehama in California stitched together funding from multiple sources—federal and state—to protect residents from flooding by elevating 39 homes in her city. Themes: disadvantaged communities, equity, and social resilience; flooding; mitigation planning; rural

Episode 3 Transcript

 

Episode 4: Flood Mitigation and Streambed Permitting

Streambeds are vital ecosystems that can both serve and threaten the communities they run through. Because of the sensitivity of the ecosystems and the potential for increased flooding, stream work requires permits. Securing permits can be time consuming and costly. In this episode, Roland Sanford from the Solano County Water Agency in California shares how his agency works with local landowners to provide microgrants for flood mitigation work and technical assistance to aid in the process to secure permits. Themes: disadvantaged communities, equity, and social resilience; ecosystems and natural resilience; flooding; rural

Episode 4 Transcript

 

Episode 5: Wildfire Risk and Community Outreach

In Butte County, California, much of the natural fuel that allows wildfires to spread is found on private property. Communities must approve, and landowners need to agree, to remove brush from these lands and reduce wildfire risk. This is not unusual—many types of mitigation work involve private property. In this episode, Calli-Jane DeAnda from the Butte County Fire Safe Council speaks about her experience with community outreach and protecting communities and infrastructure from wildfire. Themes: ecosystems and natural resilience; rural; wildfire

Episode 5 Transcript