The Montana Department of Commerce (Commerce) is leading 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. 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.
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 will carry out MRCI through public listening sessions, data collection, and state and federal partners that will be used to develop a Montana Resiliency Framework. The Framework will be an integrated and interdisciplinary strategy to ensure that long-term planning, projects, and priorities proactively address challenges and vulnerabilities while building community resilience. The Framework will integrate lessons learned, be inclusive to all segments of the population, consider diverse economies, biodiversity and population to promote durable community services and systems that can function and allow communities 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 will consider Montana’s unique assets, resources, and communities, examples of other state framework documents can provide an insight into the development of Montana’s Framework. Colorado’s Resiliency Framework and Vermont’s Roadmap to Resilience are both helpful examples of this type of approach.
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.
MRCI is continually looking for input from the public to guide the development of Montana’s Resilience Framework. If you have any information relevant to resilience in the state, please contact CDD at 841-2770 or by email at DOCCDD@mt.gov.