Tulsa Honored for Disaster Mitigation Efforts
ARCHIVED PRESS RELEASE: Published 12-8-2011
Tulsa and its citizens were honored today by the Natural Hazard
Mitigation Association for the work the city and its citizens have
done in preventing floods and dealing with disasters.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett and City Council Chair G.T. Bynum accepted
the award on behalf of the city at the beginning of Thursday's City
Council meeting following a reception honoring community leaders,
city employees and others who contributed to flood prevention and
disaster mitigation efforts in recent decades.
"As Tulsa's Mayor I am honored to accept this award on behalf of
the citzens and all of the community leaders, city employees and
others who have worked so hard to protect Tulsans from future
floods and disasters," Bartlett said. "What we have
achieved in terms of reducing flood damage serves as a model for
many other cities."
Built in a river valley and with many streams within its
boundaries, Tulsa has a long history of floods and, by the 1980s,
was declared a flood disaster area nine times within 15 years -
more than any other community in the nation.
After the city's most devastating flood , which killed 14
Tulsans and damaged or destroyed nearly 7,000 structures, struck
Tulsa on Memorial Day in 1984, Tulsa's government and community
leaders and citizens responded by launching a city-wide commitment
to reduce recurring flood damage.
Since that time the City has spent hundreds of millions of
dollars channelizing streams, building a large network of
floodwater retention ponds - most of which serve double-duty as
parks, athletic facilities and recreation areas. The City, with the
help of federal grants, purchased homes in flood-prone areas and
instituted tough but fair policies to control development in
potential flooding areas.
Since the City adopted comprehensive drainage regulations, we
have no record of flooding in any structure built in accord with
Because the federal government gave Tulsa's program its highest
ranking in terms of disaster mitigation efforts, Tulsans enjoy the
lowest flood insurance rates in the country. The citizens are
reaping the benefits of the flood-prevention and other disaster
Tulsa's progress has been called an example of what can happen
when a community fully commits to solving urban problems.
In the early 1990s, FEMA ranked Tulsa first in the nation for
its floodplain management program, allowing Tulsans to enjoy the
nation's lowest flood insurance rates. The program was also honored
with FEMA's 1992 Outstanding Public Service Award; and the
Association of State Floodplain Managers has twice given Tulsa its
Local Award for Excellence.
Leaders consider the Tulsa program still in progress. They know
that much remains to be done, and that there is an inevitable next
flood ahead. The program continues to evolve.
Additional information about Tulsa's flood history and its
efforts to mitigate that threat can be found on the City's website
at the following location: