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Local Hazard Mitigation Plan

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Flood Earthquake Fire

The City of Santa Cruz is nearing completion of its Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Five Year Update (2017-2022). The Plan will soon be submitted to the California Office of Emergency Services for an initial review and then to FEMA for final approval.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for pre-disaster mitigation is dependent on the adoption of a FEMA approved Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (Plan). The Economic Development Department assumed the responsibility for drafting the City’s first Plan. A copy of the Plan is available for public review on this website as well as at the Central Branch Library.

The City has experienced a number of natural hazards. Every aspect of the City including its economic prosperity, social and cultural diversity, scenic beauty and historical character could be dramatically altered by an earthquake, flood, tsunami or fire. Flooding, earthquakes, drought and cliff retreat have all occurred in Santa Cruz within the last 30 years. Until 1989, flooding on the San Lorenzo River caused the most severe damage in the City. On October 17, 1989 the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck the area and changed that history. It destroyed over 50% of the downtown commercial core and displaced over 205 businesses, 5,000 employees and hundreds of residents.

While no one can predict or protect the City against every possible hazard, potential impacts can be anticipated and steps taken to avoid or reduce the harm they may cause. This Plan is part of an ongoing process to evaluate the risks that hazards pose to Santa Cruz and will set the framework for the community to pursue in order to reduce these risks.

FEMA has defined very specific requirements for local hazard mitigation plans and this Plan follows those requirements. Goals, objectives and supporting actions identified as part of the mitigation strategy were formulated in collaboration with the City departments responsible for their implementation. These goals and supporting actions are not new but have been taken from various plans adopted by the City Council, including the General Plan Safety Element, the Capital Improvement Program, the 2005 Urban Water Management Plan, the Integrated Water Plan, the Emergency Management Plan and several fire safety plans.

Submit comments or questions: 

City of Santa Cruz
Attn: LHMP Update
Fire Department
230 Walnut Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Links & Resources

City of Santa Cruz: 

City of Santa Cruz General Plan Update 
County of Santa Cruz General Plan
San Lorenzo River Urban River Plan

University of California at Santa Cruz/Cabrillo College:

UCSC Long Range Development Plan
Cabrillo College Master Plan

Other Useful Links: - Federal Emergency Management Agency - California Governor's Office of Emergency Services - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration - United States Geological Survey

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