A Comprehensive Resilience Plan and Strategy
Following a devastating flood in September 2013 that impacted 24 counties, and record wildfires in 2010, 2012 and 2013 that destroyed nearly 1,250 homes, the State of Colorado recognized the need for a comprehensive resilience plan and strategy to address natural and man-made hazards.
The challenge was to holistically address the needs of each disparate community. From agriculturally based economies on the eastern plains and tourism-based economies in the mountains, to sprawling urban populations in Denver and small riverine communities like Lyons, Colorado is a diverse state. In the past decade, underlying stresses have magnified the impact of disasters and impeded recovery. Stresses include a lack of economic diversification, lack of social cohesion and a shortage of available affordable housing for a low-to-moderate income workforce.
A Robust Public Engagement Process
To address the problem on a macro-scale, WSP USA worked collaboratively with the Colorado Resiliency and Recovery Office to create the Colorado Resiliency Framework, which now guides State actions and acts as a model to advance resilience planning in communities across the state. Using an open public process and multidisciplinary approach to planning, as well as a coalition of 27 federal, state, local and NGO agencies, we identified and filled data gaps to create a working draft within three months. Our robust public engagement process — involving consultation with 59 groups and thousands of residents across a variety of platforms—allowed us to widely share the draft content and solicit feedback to accurately identify and respond to risks and vulnerabilities.