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Press Release

The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) is seeking input from the public on the draft of the Enhanced Mitigation Mission Area Operations Plan. NDDES welcomes comments regarding hazards and threats confronting our state, along with strategies for mitigating impacts. 


NDDES worked with the State Hazard Mitigation Team comprised of 80 public and private organizations to conduct a risk assessment and to determine actions necessary to lessen the impacts of hazards and threats. The State of North Dakota achieved enhanced status for its mitigation plan in 2019, which grants the state an additional 5% funding following a federal disaster declaration.


North Dakota was the first state in FEMA Region VIII to achieve enhanced status in 2019 and is one of only 14 states in the nation with enhanced status. In 2018, NDDES became one of a few states with authority to manage hazard mitigation grants and to approve local mitigation plans under FEMA’s Program Administered by State (PAS). 


“The team at NDDES does incredible work to improve the lives of our citizens and lessen the impact of disasters on communities,” says Director of Homeland Security, Darin Hanson. “We're proud to share these mitigation plans with the public to continue seeking their input to ensure we're meeting their needs."  


A National Institute of Building Sciences report on the benefit-cost ratio of hazard mitigation found that hazard mitigation through federal grant programs saves $6 for each $1 spent (National Institute of Building Science, 2018). Pew Charitable Trusts refined this number on state-by-state basis to $6.54 for every $1 spent on mitigation in North Dakota. (Pew Charitable Trusts, 2019).


Fitting with the state’s shared purpose of ‘Empower People, Improve Lives, and Inspire Success,’ North Dakota has long been committed to a strong mitigation investment strategy. It is estimated that North Dakota has prevented more than $1.9 billion in disaster damages and more than $24 billion in disaster recovery assistance since 1993 (NDDES, 2023). 


Following the five-year lifespan, the Enhanced Mitigation Mission Area Operations Plan was due to be updated in 2024. This update reflects the continuous evolution to the monitoring and response to changing threats and hazards in the State of North Dakota. 


For the first time, the 2024 plan incorporates North Dakota’s extreme climate variability current trends and potential changes through the end of this century. North Dakota weather and climate are extreme and extremely variable. Spanning identified natural hazards, North Dakota has the most extreme weather and climate in the nation. 


“For the next few years and decades, extreme variability will force flexibility in mitigation approaches so that our people and agencies can handle abrupt changes from hot to cold, wet to dry, flood to drought and back to flood,” said Greg Gust, NDDES Meteorologist. “For North Dakota, long-term climate change is a subtle process with average temperatures expected to continue a slow rise, and with average precipitation likely to increase but likely to remain quite variable as well.”


NDDES has posted the draft Enhanced Mitigation Mission Area Operations Plan on its website, des.nd.gov, for review by the public through December 31, 2023. 






Comments can be sent to Hope Brighton, NDDES Mitigation Planner, at hopebrighton@nd.gov

Climate questions and comments can be sent to Gregory Gust, NDDES Meteorologist, at ggust@nd.gov

Media inquiries can be sent to Alison Vetter, NDDES Strategic Communications Chief, at alvetter.nd.gov


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