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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities - Michael Hancox EPISODE 90
Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
00:00:00 00:26:28

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery


It’s “Just” Rain: Weather Events Impacting Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:41 Laura explains the impacts of extreme weather on smaller rural communities.

05:48 Laura talks about some of the resources available to help small communities recover from a weather event.

08:49 Laura describes what a disaster declaration is.

10:30 Is the average number of federal disaster declarations increasing?

14:36 Laura shares some strategies that communities can use when a disaster hits.

19:35 How should weather events be integrated into planning?

22:46 How can communities learn about what they should do to be prepared?


Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.  

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way. 

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s a lot of philosophical discussion about climate change and climate adaptation, and when I go to conferences, I see a lot of people talking about Katrina and Sandy. It is very disappointing to me because I work in disaster recovery, and I see the events that are happening: we’re averaging a federal declaration about one a week. And when I poll most audiences and ask people, how often do you think we are having a disaster, they say, like, one a year, maybe two a year.”

“We’ve done a good job in this country of building dams. However, when you have a place that’s seeing a lot of rain, everyone’s upstream of someone, and I think we failed to recognize that.”

“I show up super late, usually very late in the process, where there’s already millions of dollars of missed opportunity of how these small communities could have not just been made to be safer but they could pivot into how this folds into their economic development strategies, how are they attracting new businesses, how do they build new houses or get a new factory to move to town.”

“The risks that we know of, we’re comfortable planning for. It’s the risk that you don’t know about that will bite you.”


Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC 

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018