Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Emergency Management
A tornado touches down

Natural Hazard Mitigation Planning

Dane County is subject to natural hazards that threaten life and health and cause extensive property damage. Dane County has received Federal disaster declarations on 15 occasions since 1976. That equates to a frequency of a natural disaster declaration nearly every three years. In addition, almost every year, there are significant weather events that cause major damages for which Federal disaster assistance is not granted.

Most people who live or work in Dane County have been affected by natural hazards in one way or another. Dane County and its residents are vulnerable to a variety of hazards including extreme temperatures, severe winter weather, tornadoes, and floods. Natural hazards in Dane County have caused injury and loss of life, severe property damage, interruption of the delivery of vital goods and services, disruption of local economies, and harm to the natural environment.

A home owner deals with the aftermath of a flood

Plan Update - 2017

In response to these concerns, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi has directed the Department of Emergency Management to update the County’s plan to minimize future losses resulting from natural hazards. A planning team has been meeting for more than a year, gathering information and summarizing the concerns of local officials and citizens throughout the County.

In this update cycle, the plan addresses the threat of natural hazards in light of the region’s changing climate. The plan examines climate trends and determine their projected impacts on natural hazards such as flooding and extreme heat. The inclusion of climate change factors will ensure Dane County takes appropriate steps to protect its citizens’ personal and economic safety, now and for future generations.

This plan is the second update of Dane County’s Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan. The first version of the plan was adopted in May of 2005, with an update adopted in May of 2010.

The Plan was adopted by the Dane County Board of Supervisors in September of 2017, and is recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the County’s official plan. This enables the County to apply for grants to implement projects and programs identified in the Plan.

Updated Hazard Mitigation Strategy

The plan outlines a strategy with specific programs and policies that can be implemented by Dane County and local units of government within Dane County to reduce the impact of natural hazards on people, structures, and the natural environment. A wide range of hazard mitigation projects are being considered, from small individual actions to large scale community projects.

Floodplain and storm water management map
Hurricane clips on roof trusses
A community storm shelter
Shady trees in an urban neighborhood

The plan was prepared as a multi-jurisdictional plan. All 61 local units of government in the County were invited to participate in the planning process. The decision whether or not to participate in this process was a local decision, based on local community needs. Thirty-seven local governments have opted to participate in this effort.

Each of these municipalities has completed a local hazard assessment and has identified mitigation projects to be performed locally.