Linn County and the City of Cedar Rapids have released the final report for the Community Resilience Project: Improving Disaster Recover Capabilities facilitated and authored by Collective Clarity. The Community Resilience Project was conceived by Linn County and Cedar Rapids leaders in an effort to capture critical learning from the August 10, 2020 derecho and grow the capabilities of Linn County communities and organizations to collaborate effectively during the recovery phase of a disaster. This project was a countywide effort that included collaboration with surrounding jurisdictions and service providers, stakeholder interviews, a literature review, facilitated assessments, focused work groups, and a final review of observations and recommendations between December 2020 and October 2021.
The report notes that one of the most significant barriers to effective pre-planning and recovery strategies is the limited bandwidth of staff across jurisdictions and institutions and the need to address the tensions and limitations inherent in multiple accountabilities.
“The 2020 Derecho was a complex, multi-jurisdictional event, exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic, that highlighted the need for new capabilities and more robust communication and information sharing. Strong networked partnerships extending beyond response into recovery were also identified as a need. Events tested and stretched capabilities not previously required at this scope and intensity,” the report states.
Resiliency Report Recommendations
The resiliency report includes the following recommendations:
- Create a non-partisan position for planning and coordination to help all entities overcome limited bandwidth in disaster recovery
- Leverage shared resources and opportunities through pre-disaster recovery planning
- Better utilize existing assets by integrating plans, data, toolkits, business community, and subject matter experts
- Lessen the impacts of disaster on the recovery agencies by having a shared recovery “roadmap” with agreed upon roles and tasks
- Create a planning practice that defines roles, responsibilities, and processes prior to disaster events, including joint planning and training
- Build and strengthen connections/partnerships
- Enhance communication and information sharing
“This report was groundbreaking in many ways, particularly surrounding the meaningful commitments made by major stakeholders including Linn County and the City of Cedar Rapids among others, in an effort to prioritize resilience and disaster recovery in our community,” said Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker. “The process to compile the report was far-reaching and inclusive and highlights our commitment to broad community engagement. I am proud of the end product and look forward to seeing the realization of these recommendations which will strengthen our community through resilience and sustainability efforts.”
To mark the two-year anniversary of the August 2020 derecho, Linn County and the City of Cedar Rapids are planning a Community Conversation where leaders will discuss community resiliency and how they are working to improve disaster recovery capabilities. Details of this event will be announced once they are finalized.
View the complete resiliency report.