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Date: May 18, 2004

Shenandoah PDC wins national award for disaster preparedness

(Richmond, VA) - The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) received the James Lee Witt Local Award for Excellence from the Association of State Floodplain Managers at its national conference. Bonnie Riedesel and Rebecca Joyce are accepting the award May 20, 2004, in Biloxi, Miss., for the Shenandoah Valley Project Impact-Flood Mitigation Project.

The Witt award, named for a former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, honors outstanding programs and activities at the front lines of floodplain management. Local and regional governments, such as PDCs, are eligible for the award.
The PDC sponsored almost 100 mitigation projects in eight localities to keep people and their homes safer in potential flood situations. Almost $9 million in grant funds was used to flood-proof, elevate, relocate or acquire homes.
Additional outreach efforts to special populations such as the disabled, elderly and non-English-speaking communities resulted in a successful evacuation adjacent to a flood-prone river in Waynesboro, Va., on the eve of Hurricane Isabel last September.

Virginia's Department of Conservation and Recreation floodplain management staff nominated the PDC; letters of support from local government officials, engineering firms and the state Department of Emergency Management accompanied the nomination.
"This was an opportunity to recognize an organization that has improved floodplain program delivery for all of us," said DCR Director Joseph H. Maroon. "The Central Shenandoah PDC has provided exceptional leadership to the region with its progressive floodplain management."

The nomination described how, after several recent disasters struck that region of the state, the team's preparedness to protect its historic, scenic region was obvious to state officials dispatched to the area.

"The CSPDC has been the flood mitigation standard bearer in the Commonwealth of Virginia for the past 10 years," said State Coordinator of Emergency Management Michael Cline. "We rely on their experience and professional expertise to move forward with hazard mitigation planning and implementation throughout the commonwealth."
CSPDC is the state's largest in area and it counts among its partners 42 entities - local governments, businesses and non-profit organizations - that work with Project Impact to make the Shenandoah Valley "disaster resistant."

Awards are a key activity at the conference, recognizing national excellence in flood hazard management in 10 categories at state, local and individual levels. More than 800 government and private professionals attended the conference.


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