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Overview

In order to remain healthy, vibrant, safe and economically competitive, America’s counties must be able to anticipate and adapt to all types of change.  Through the Resilient Counties initiative, NACo works with counties and their stakeholders to bolster their ability to thrive amid changing physical, environmental, social and economic conditions.

Hurricanes, wildfires, economic collapse, and other disasters can be natural or man-made, acute or long-term, foreseeable or unpredictable.  Preparation for and recovery from such events requires both long-term planning and immediate action.  

NACo works to strengthen county resiliency by building leadership capacity to identify and manage risk, and allow counties to become more flexible and responsive.  Through the use of sustainable practices and infrastructure, counties will be better prepared to address these issues in a manner that can minimize the impact on local residents and businesses, while helping counties save money.

 

​Through the initiative, NACo:

  • Develops strategies to foster economic growth and competitiveness, 
  • Educates counties on techniques for implementing resiliency and sustainability strategies,
  • Provides tools for counties to educate their communities on resiliency initiatives, 
  • Identifies ways to leverage changing conditions and take advantage of new technologies and innovation, and 
  • Facilitates an open exchange with the private sector

 

 Initiative Activities and Resources

 
Initiative Activities

Within this initiative, NACo is sponsoring trainings, peer networking and resource development to support county leaders and other public- and private-s​ector partners seeking to build county resilience. These include:


Initiative Resources

Below please find presentations delivered at the December 2013 Resilient Counties forum. Click on each speaker’s name to view the presentation.​  View the full forum program here.

Lessons from County Leaders: Partnering to Confront Change

​A panel of county leaders discussed how their communities responded to significant local disasters and the steps they are taking to mitigate potential future disasters, with a particular focus on local and regional partnerships to maintain and improve county operations during times of crisis.

Leveraging Technology Tools to Prepare for Threats

New technologies, innovative mapping tools, mobile applications, social media and other tech resources can revolutionize how counties prepare for and recover from crisis situations. A panel of experts highlighted innovative tools available to counties.

  • Lori Cary-Kothera, Operations Manager  – Science and Geospatial Solutions Division, NOAA Coastal Services Center
  • Jason Hutchens, Solution Sales Engagement Manager – Public Safety (Central Region), Motorola Solutions
  • Rob Welton​, National Business Manager – Enterprise Security, Siemens.  
  • Moderator: Lauren Alexander Augustine, Director – Office of Special Projects on Risk, Resilience, and Extreme Events, National Academy of Sciences

Local Philanthropic, Business and Economic Development Engagement in Recovery Efforts​

The philanthropic community, local business leaders and economic development professionals can play a key role in fostering county resilience. Experienced community leaders described how their organizations have partnered with public- and private-sector leaders in recovery efforts.  View the presentations​.

  • Les Garner, President and CEO, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
  • Karla Twedt-Ball, Vice President for Programs, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation 
  • Robin Barnes, Executive Vice President and COO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.
  • Lon Olejniczak, Senior Vice President, TransAmerica 
  • Cindy Dietz, Director of Corporate Communications, Rockwell Collins
  • Moderator: Gerald McSwiggan, Director of Issue Networks, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Business Civic Leadership Center
Partnership Exercise: Use the chart to map out your network of local partners in various sectors.

“Pervasive Readiness: Pipedream or Possible?” (chapter co-authored by Jason Hutchens, found in McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook: Strategic Guidance for a Coordinated Approach to Effective Security and Emergency Management, Second Edition). Outlines significant lessons learned, best practices, and feasible approaches towards achieving a sustainable state of pervasive readiness.

"A Safe and Integrated City" (article by Rob Welton, Siemens): This paper explores ways that city leaders can work towards the goal of a safe, integrated city and options for financing safety and security technologies for their city.
 

 Publications

 
 

 Podcasts

 

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 Webinars

 

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RSS_Sketch.png County Solutions and Innovation Blog Spotlight:
Resilient Counties
Nye County: Revitalizing Brownfields in Rural NevadaNew

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​Before and after of a Nye County brownfields redevelopment site.  Source: Nye County

As part of NACo’s commitment to enhancing economic prospects in America’s rural counties, we are releasing a series of blog posts that highlight economic development in rural places.  These blog posts, adapted from case studies featured in the recent NACo publication, Cultivating a Competitive Advantage: How Rural Counties are Growing Economies with Local Assets and Regional Partners, share innovative best practices exemplified by rural counties.

Nye County, Nev., is the third-largest county by land area in the U.S., but is home to fewer than 43,000 residents.  Approximately 98 percent of the county is public lands, including the Nevada Test Site for nuclear testing and the...

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3 days ago

Severe Weather Adaptation County Case Studies

Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow.
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Changes in weather patterns affect the country in a variety of ways, and the second NACo Coastal Resiliency County Case Studies publication focuses on three coastal counties’ adaptation strategies to the issues that many counties experience.  

Monmouth County, N.J., which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, created a county-lead assistance program to aid communities within the county with applications for the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System(CRS).  This program decreases communities’ insurance costs, improves flood mitigation and has lead to an increase of participation in CRS from 15 percent to 50 percent...

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4 days ago

Hood River County: Marketing Local Goods and Economic Strengths

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As part of NACo’s commitment to enhancing economic prospects in America’s rural counties, NACo is releasing a series of blog posts that highlight economic development in rural places.  These blog posts, adapted from case studies featured in the recent NACo publication, Cultivating a Competitive Advantage: How Rural Counties are Growing Economies with Local Assets and Regional Partners, share innovative best practices exemplified by rural counties.

With a population of 22,675, Hood River County, Ore. has successfully capitalized on its agricultural traditions and unique identity to encourage economic growth.  There are two local assets that are especially important for marketing the Hood River brand: the Fruit Loop and the Port of Hood River.  The Fruit Loopis a ...

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6 days ago

New NACo Issue Brief: Improving Lifelines: Protecting Critical Infrastructure for Resilient Counties

Written by Rob Pressly, NACo Program Manager.

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Flooding can damage county roads, hindering emergency response crews’ ability to assist those in need, and disrupting normal business operations.

There are a myriad of high-impact disruptions that counties across the country face each and every day.  Ranging from natural disasters to structural failures to economic downturns, these events can impact natural environments and cause damage to homes or businesses.  Not only do extreme events like hurricanes, floods, tornados and fires threaten the financial health of counties all across the country, they threaten critical infrastructure known as lifelines, which are necessary for counties to function and provide vital services to the public. It is imperative for counties to unders...

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2 weeks ago

New NACo Report: Cultivating a Competitive Advantage in Rural Counties

Written by Jen Horton, Program Manager.
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NACo recently released a new report highlighting how rural counties are pursuing asset-based economic development initiatives that create jobs and build wealth while preserving rural landscapes, cultural and heritage.   

The report— Cultivating a Competitive Advantage: How Rural Counties are Growing Economies with Local Assets and Regional Partners—is released as NACo’s Rural Action Caucus (RAC) kicks off its annual meeting in Yellowstone County, Mont., on November 6.

Rural places have traditionally provided the food, natural resources and energy needed to fuel our country, while also supporting tourism, cultural resources and growing knowledge industries.  However, rural counties—whether facing challenges related to shifting economic trends, population decline, lack of access to metropolitan areas or losses in traditiona...

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3 weeks ago