Resilience Efforts at the State Level
At least 13 states—Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia—have established state resilience offices or similar state-led programs. Other states, including Florida, Rhode Island and Virginia, have chief resilience officers tasked with implementing resilience efforts. Still other states, such as Maine, Nevada and Washington, have created commissions or working groups tasked with evaluating adaptation strategies and recommending resilience planning activities. Additionally, some cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Honolulu and New York City, have resilience offices or programs.
Universities can also play a role in state resilience planning efforts. For example, the University of Iowa’s Iowa Flood Center, which is supported by the Legislature, coordinates projects to help Iowans better prepare for flooding. In Vermont, the Center for Global Resilience and Security at Norwich University houses the Resilient Vermont program, which is aimed at helping communities prepare for and recover from climate challenges and natural disasters. In Virginia, Old Dominion University, the College of William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have established the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency to support state agencies and local governments with scientific and technical resources.
States have taken a variety of approaches in enacting legislation to establish and support state resilience offices or officers. Examples of enacted bills include:
- Colorado HB 1394 (2018)—Establishes the Colorado Resiliency Office to create and maintain the Resiliency and Community Recovery Program; tasks the office with developing a plan to improve coordination among state agencies and local jurisdictions to support community and economic recovery efforts and to address risk reduction.
- Colorado HB 1292 (2019)—Reauthorizes the state Resiliency Office and appropriates funding through the general fund.
- Maryland SB 457 (2020)—Authorizes local jurisdictions to create resilience authorities with the goal of supporting infrastructure projects.
- Nevada SB 35 (2019)—Creates the Nevada Resilience Advisory Committee and requires it to annually develop state resilience goals and make recommendations for statewide mitigation, response and recovery efforts.
- Oregon HB 2270 (2015)—Creates the office of the state resilience officer in the governor’s office and directs the officer to implement and coordinate seismic safety and resilience goal setting.
- South Carolina SB 259 (2019)—Establishes the state Office of Resilience to develop and implement a statewide resilience plan and coordinate resilience efforts.
- Virginia HB 1313 (2020)—Directs the governor to appoint a chief resilience officer to coordinate resilience and adaptation initiatives, including monitoring areas at risk of recurrent flooding and identifying funding opportunities for resilience initiatives at the state and local levels.
- Washington SB 5106 (2019)—Creates a work group to make recommendations on natural disaster mitigation and resilience activities, and requires the group to submit a report to the Legislature.
- West Virginia HB 2935 (2017)—Creates the state Resiliency Office in the Department of Commerce to coordinate economic and community resilience planning and implementation efforts, including flood protection programs.
- West Virginia SB 586 (2020)—Outlines the authority and duties of the state Resiliency Office and resiliency officer and appropriates money to the Disaster Recovery Trust Fund.
- West Virginia SB 389 (2021)—Clarifies that the state Resiliency Office is responsible for planning emergency and disaster response, recovery and resilience; clarifies that the state resiliency officer is a member of the Resiliency Office board of directors.