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UWRF Receives Federal Disaster Planning Grant

AUG. 10, 2007--UW-River Falls has become the first campus in Wisconsin to receive a FEMA pre-disaster mitigation planning grant.

The award of $26,035 is to help the university plan for natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes or fires. The process will take about a year to complete.

Chancellor Don Betz noted, "This grant uniquely positions UWRF among colleges and universities in Wisconsin in the effort to identify, and ultimately fund, the actions and projects needed to minimize the losses resulting from hazards that may impact our campuses.

"We take special pride in providing a safe environment for our students, staff and visitors. This grant will help us to anticipate problems and take steps to reduce their risk," he said.

The grant's goal will be to create a comprehensive and regularly updated plan that will identify and prioritize specific actions and projects that UWRF can undertake to reduce the effects of hazards.

UWRF will hire a consultant to work with a local planning team comprised of the campus Emergency Response Team, faculty, staff and students. They will work with local agencies to inventory all potential hazards and to seek solutions.

The consulting firm will map each emergency feature on an overall campus base map, which will include FEMA floodplain data and other natural features to assist in determining risks. In addition, both existing and future land use data will be mapped to analyze long-term development patterns and buildings.

A significant portion of the local planning team's and consulting firm's role will be to determine the feasibility of potential mitigation measures for each hazard and to prioritize selected projects.

For the past 15 years UWRF has maintained an emergency team of key administrative departments to respond to emergencies, collaborating with regional first-responder agencies and disaster services.

Coordinating the grant will be Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor, who chairs the campus response team.

After approval of the plan, through the Wisconsin Emergency Management agency, the campus could qualify for up to $2.25 million in federal mitigation funding to address natural disaster issues.

These could include voluntary acquisition of real property; relocation, elevation or retrofitting of public or private structures; construction of safe rooms; hydrologic and hydraulic studies and analyses, engineering studies, and drainage studies for the purpose of project design and feasibility; protective measures for gas and electric utilities; water and sanitary sewer systems, roads and bridges; storm water management projects; or flood control projects designed to protect critical facilities.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:25 Central Daylight Time


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