Risk Communication Training: Los Angeles District Conducts Workshops

Risk Communication Training in Action

The Participation Company recently had the honor to be involved in workshop facilitation and share their risk communication training with the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their local agencies responsible for levee operations and maintenance.

As excerpted from the NHWC newsletter:

risk communication training

As part of the transformation to a risk-informed organization, to ensure communities are safer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) relies on its Levee Sponsors (local agencies that are responsible for levee operations and maintenance) to communicate the risks associated with levees to those who could be affected. After the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received levee safety risk communication training last year, it decided local sponsors could benefit from similar training.

During the summer and fall of 2017, Los Angeles District USACE Levee Safety staff interviewed all 20 of its levee sponsors and then conducted three regional training workshops for them. The Los Angeles District received support through the USACE Collaboration and Public Participation Center of Expertise. The U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution and The Participation Company provided contract support, workshop facilitation, and risk communication expertise. The Los Angeles District has more than 120 levee systems in its portfolio, with nearly 2.5 million people living behind them. The District has operation and maintenance responsibility for approximately 20 percent of these levees, but the vast majority are operated and maintained by the local sponsors. A series of three workshops across the region was offered to all 20 levee sponsors to (1) increase awareness of the USACE Levee Safety Program’s new expectations of sponsors regarding risk communication; (2) provide some foundational skills training in risk communication; and (3) help sponsors begin their effort through providing examples and activities to start developing their own communication plans. Prior to designing these workshops, all sponsors were interviewed to assess their relationship with USACE and their concerns about communicating levee risk. What SPL heard provided significant input into the workshop design.

Overall Los Angeles District was pleased with the workshops. Within a couple weeks of the Arizona workshop, the Town Manager of Clifton, Arizona released a video with on point flood risk messaging. [Available at https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=gxVxTk0okfQ&feature=youtu.be] Also, the Customer Service Program Manager from San Diego shared that the workshop affirmed that his approaches to outreach were on the right track, and left the workshop motivated to build on his successes and add discussion on levees.

If you would like to know more about a few of their major concerns and how SPL addressed them, please find the full NHWC newsletter here:

The_NHWC_Transmission–April_2018