About MRCI

The Montana Department of Commerce (Commerce) led the Montana Ready Communities Initiative (MRCI) with expertise from staff in the Community Development Division (CDD) and a cross-sector of knowledge from other state agencies, a project to support community resilience in the face of natural, human-caused and economic challenges. The goal was to collaborate with a wide range of partners to leverage resources and deliver positive results that create an adaptable and vibrant future for all Montanans.

Resilience  is the ability of individuals, communities and systems to adapt and thrive in the face of adverse events and challenges. Resilience planning is critical to creating an adaptable and vibrant future for all Montanans.

Commerce carried out MRCI through public listening sessions, data collection, and collaboration with state and federal partners to develop a Montana Resiliency Framework. The Framework provides helpful tools to assist communities as they work to ensure that long-term planning, projects and priorities address challenges and build resiliency so that communities are best positioned to thrive in all conditions. 

By incorporating community resilience into existing hazard mitigation plans, economic development plans and other long-term planning documents, communities can integrate environmental, social, and economic sectors to proactively and holistically improve their communities. While the Framework considers Montana’s unique assets, resources, and communities, examples of other state framework documents can also provide insights into the development of resilient communities.  Colorado’s Resiliency Framework and Vermont’s Roadmap to Resilience are two other helpful examples.

Adoption of resilience plans and actions can contribute to a community’s success. According to a 2017 study by the National Institute of Building Sciences, a $1 investment in mitigation grants or improvements to building codes can save a community $4-$6 in disaster losses. Factoring in additional data such as tourism, cultural resources, and physical well-being can increase the return-on-investment when resilience is combined with mitigation. 

Regional Summits

The Montana Department of Commerce is leading the Montana Ready Communities Initiative, a project to support community resiliency in the face of natural, man-made or economic challenges. Commerce worked across all state agencies to create a Resiliency Framework that was informed and guided by public input and comment. During Summer 2018, Commerce hosted 18 regional summits at the locations outline on the map below. The summit locations were chosen to reflect the wide, cultural, geographical and climatic diversity of Montana. The summits helped us proactively gather information to be used to help prepare our communities for a variety of adverse events. This approach helps ensure that the State of Montana plans for long-term resilience and aligns projects and priorities across state agencies. Our goal is to collaborate with a wide range of partners to leverage resources and deliver positive results that create an adaptable and vibrant future for all Montanans.

In total, Commerce’s summits reached over 300 local stakeholders from communities across the State. These summits consisted of 2-3 hours of guided discussion between community leaders and the public. This process identified local resilience solutions and brainstormed potential paths to overcoming local challenges. This information was used to develop Montana’s Resiliency Framework. The Framework is a statewide strategy that creates long-term planning for various projects, while building resilience for adverse events such as floods or wildfires.

An example of a presentation given during the summit: Helena