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Landslide Risk Legislation Will Fund USGS Research

image of map Landslide Risk Funding for USGS
Landslide Risk Funding Approved for USGS

A new national program will increase 3D mapping of landslide risk to anticipate disasters like the deadly Oso mudslide that struck nearly seven years ago. The bill awaits the President’s signature.

From an article in the Herald By Julia-Grace Sanders.

Legislation passed by Congress Dec. 16 dramatically increases the use of a laser-surveying technology known as Lidar to map, identify and track potential landslide areas. Lidar stands for Light Detection and Ranging.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, whose district includes Oso, and Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell introduced the bill.

“Employing our best science and mapping technologies will help communities across our state save lives, safeguard property, and improve our emergency planning and response,” Cantwell said in a statement.

Passage of the bill marks a shift in the U.S. government’s consideration of landslides as a secondary risk to earthquakes, floods and volcano eruptions.

Currently, “Landslides are sort of dealt with as an after-effect of other natural disasters,” said Nick Martin, a spokesperson for DelBene.

Now, the U.S. Geological Survey will treat landslides as a primary natural disaster.

The new bill gives the survey funding to form a program specifically for landslides, with its own dedicated staff.

They’ll get $40 million annually for a 3D mapping program, but that money is spread throughout the whole nation.

As it is, state governments, local communities and tribes are responsible for initiating any mapping. The new federal program will centralize that data collection.

For the complete article on new landslide risk program CLICK HERE.

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1 Comment

  • Please help me to understand the logic here. For many years if not a decade, the USGS and local geotechnical firms were aware of the potential landslide risk posed by the 2014 Oso event and did nothing for the people living downslope. How does a LIDAR map help reduce the risk to people living downslope? Are people living in high-risk areas supposed to feel safe now that a LIDAR map is been created? It is amazing that a plan has not been made as to what to do with the maps. Should an inventory of potentially unstable slopes be rated by the threat they pose to people and then have the most dangerous slopes monitored for movement using near real-time monitoring technologies? Be proactive instead of reactive.

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