Documenting and Regulating Geologic Hazards: A Primer for City and County Government

Following the Oso landslide in Washington State in early 2014, city and county governments throughout the state of Washington and beyond were faced with new concerns: Did they have adequate knowledge of the geologic hazards in their area, and were their existing land use regulations sufficient to address potential risks to development?  Almost all experienced a period of self-examination, with some concluding they were adequately covered on both fronts, and others being faced with this dilemma for the first time. Few had resources to initiate or improve the documentation of hazards in their area, making moot any question of updating existing regulations.

Our goal with this project is to craft a concise guide on how to deal with geologic hazards of all types in the regulatory environment, beginning with the definition and documentation of known hazards and ending with tips for regulating geologic hazards. This guide will be of value to city and county governments nationwide (and even internationally) and it will assist geologists and non-geologists alike in addressing hazards that could include collapsing coal mines, active landslides, seismic hazard zones, expansive soils, and others.

“Living in Italy, a country prone to geological disasters, I have deep consciousness of the importance of Geology for the interest and safeguard of citizens. And of how we would greatly benefit from the presence of a strong association like Geology in the Public Interest, that we don’t have…”
Dr. Bernardo Cesare, Department of Geosciences, University of Padova, Italy