The Whatcom County Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan (NHMP) is a countywide plan managed by Whatcom County Sheriff Office’s Division of Emergency Management. The plan must be updated every 5 years and approved by FEMA to remain eligible for federal funding for hazard mitigation projects.
The purpose of the NHMP is to identify the types of natural hazards that impact a jurisdiction, assess each jurisdiction’s vulnerability to those hazards, and to formulate mitigation strategies that will lessen the severity of natural disasters by protecting human life and property.
The NHMP encompasses multiple jurisdictions in Whatcom County including the City of Bellingham. Other jurisdictions represented in the plan include Whatcom County, the other six incorporated cities within the county, a fire district, a school district, a flood control district, a water and sewer district, and the Port of Bellingham.
The last planning update process took place in 2015, with approval of the plan by FEMA in 2016. Our next plan update is due to FEMA in June 2021. The 2016 NHMP is available to be viewed online in its entirety on Whatcom County’s website.
The City of Bellingham’s portion of the plan includes specific mitigation measures for a variety of potential hazards including earthquakes, flooding, tsunami, severe winter weather and windstorms. While the plan provides a listing of potential mitigation measures that might be implemented, it does not require implementation of the measures. It is simply a listing of strategies that could be implemented if funding and time to achieve a mitigation measure are available. Many of the strategies are being implemented in our regular course of business, such as building safety inspections.
We are currently soliciting public feedback on the 2016 plan for incorporation into the 2021 plan update. If you would like to provide comment on the plan, please do so via the public comment form available on Whatcom County’s website.
Updates to Bellingham’s portion of the plan including updated maps will be posted on this webpage as they are available.