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Office of Resilience Publishes State’s First Strategic Statewide Resilience and Risk Reduction Plan

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Thu, 06/29/2023

Office of Resilience Publishes State’s First Strategic Statewide Resilience and Risk Reduction Plan

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Office of Resilience (SCOR) has released the state’s first Strategic Statewide Resilience and Risk Reduction Plan, as directed by the South Carolina Disaster Relief and Resilience Act.

The plan is intended to serve as a framework to guide state investment in flood mitigation projects and the adoption of programs and policies to protect the people and property of South Carolina from damage and destruction of extreme weather events.

“This is a great day for South Carolina,” said Chief Resilience Officer Ben Duncan. “South Carolinians are familiar with the devastating effects of hurricanes, flooding, and other extreme weather. Our office has been on the ground rebuilding and repairing homes and walking through the recovery process with our citizens. Now we have a plan that will help our communities address these risks proactively.”

The South Carolina Office of Resilience began as the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO), a temporary agency established to carry out housing recovery following the 2015 floods, Hurricane Matthew 2016, and Hurricane Florence in 2018. Governor McMaster established the Floodwater Commission following Hurricane Florence, which recommended the creation of a resilience office in its 2020 report. The General Assembly passed the South Carolina Disaster Relief and Resilience Act later that year, incorporating the SCDRO to the newly created Office of Resilience.

SCOR collaborated with more than 100 groups and individuals over the two-year planning process including national, state, regional and local agencies, nonprofits, cultural and environmental advocacy groups, colleges and universities, and others. The result of this process is a data-driven evaluation of the state’s current and future vulnerability to flooding and other hazards and a set of actionable recommendations to begin addressing those risks.

“This system-wide approach to developing a clear picture of the challenges we face will help us put this plan into action in the next phase of the process,” said Resilience Planning Director Alex Butler.

Following the release of the plan, SCOR intends to immediately begin engaging local communities at the watershed level to develop localized projects and policies to address flooding issues around the state.

SCOR was awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to begin the watershed-based planning process in the Salkehatchie River Basin. Beginning later this year, SCOR will work with the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and S.C. Beach Advocates to develop the S.C. Resilient Coastal Communities Collaborative Program. The program will result in a watershed-based resilience plan for the Salkehatchie River Basin and a framework for implementing watershed-based resilience planning statewide. w The program will engage communities across the Salkehatchie River Basin, which includes Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties as well as 34 municipalities. SCOR will coordinate with these communities to identify local risk and vulnerability, develop actionable flood mitigation and resilience solutions, and build community capacity. By pairing the principles and data in the Statewide with local needs assessments, this process will allow for the implementation of projects that meet local needs and consider the impact of potential projects on the larger watershed. The process will enable communities across the watershed to access funding by developing a pipeline of prioritized projects throughout the watershed that do not cause adverse upstream or downstream effects.