On behalf of the entire BOLDplanning team, congratulations to the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency, GA, along with the cities of Allenhurst, Flemington, Gum Branch, Hinesville (the county seat), Midway, Riceboro, and Walthourville, on gaining FEMA approval of their recently updated Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (MJHMP). 

HMPs, as expressed by FEMA, are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. Additionally, the National Institute of Building Sciences now estimates that every dollar invested in mitigation saves six dollars in prevented damages (up from four dollars in previous years). And, given the fact the U.S. saw a record number of billion-dollar disasters (22 in fact, totaling $96 million in damage) in 2020, that number may climb even higher. 

For the last few months, Tennessee-based BOLDplanning, Liberty County, and its participating jurisdictions have worked together to identify natural hazards, add/update mitigation projects, and communicate with plan stakeholders. The result, FEMA approval of the HMP, confirms compliance with the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390) and ensures the County’s eligibility for Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants (pre-and post-disaster) for the next five years. These include the Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program and the Building Resilience Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant Program, to name a few. 

Funds from these programs are commonly used by state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to support all kinds of mitigation projects. Among them are structural retrofits, the building of safe rooms, culverts, and retaining walls, the installation of warning sirens, and even mitigation education and awareness programs. 

For Liberty County, specifically, these projects include but are not limited to promoting EOC improvements, review of existing floodplain regulations in Allenhurst and Riceboro, outreach promoting acquisition and elevation of flood prone structures in Flemington, fire safety outreach in Gum Branch, drainage culvert improvements in Hinesville, underground electrical utilities ordinances in Midway, and department personnel wildfire mitigation training in Walthourville.  

With a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan now in place, Liberty County and its participating jurisdictions are in a much better position to safeguard residents, businesses, schools, and critical infrastructure for years to come. 

“Congratulations again to Liberty County, the cities of Allenhurst, Flemington, Gum Branch, Hinesville, Midway, Riceboro, and Walthourville, on this accomplishment,” said BOLDplanning representative, James Woulfe, CBCP. “It was an honor and a pleasure to assist the County with its mitigation efforts, and we wish all plan participants the very best as they move forward with their mitigation projects.” 

Special thanks to Larry Logan, Emergency Manager – Retired, with the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency, Robert “Bob” Dodd, new appointed Emergency Manager with Liberty County Emergency Management Agency, Tiffany Hopkins, Administrative Assistant with Liberty County Emergency Management Agency, and Thomas “Trip” Duke, EMA Coordinator with the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency, for bringing this project to completion. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Liberty County, GA, it is located approximately 38 miles southwest of Savannah; 200 miles southeast of Atlanta; and 120 miles northwest of Jacksonville, Florida, encompassing 603+/- square miles.  The County comprises 489.80 square miles, and in 2010 had an estimated population of 61,497. 

Project partner, BOLDplanning, is located in historic Franklin, TN, a suburb of Nashville. The company pro