GETSI Teaching Materials >Planning for Failure: Landslide Analysis > Unit 4: Analyze and Prescribe a Risk Assessment and Hazard Mitigation Plan
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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested materials developed by GETSI. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Unit 4: Analyze and Prescribe a Risk Assessment and Hazard Mitigation Plan

Stephen Hughes (University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez)
Bobby Karimi (Wilkes University)


Summary

How can community stakeholders use the landslide susceptibility model to inform planning and infrastructure decisions? Students will create a landslide risk analysis report and assessment plan for a specific region, considering a suite of environmental, social, and political factors. This unit is a culmination of student experiences from prior units within this module, and requires interdisciplinary considerations and holistic approaches in the design process of this report. Specifically, this unit will require reflection on landslide detection protocols (Unit 1), factor categories that correlate to the distributive pattern of landslides in a region (Unit 2), and the development of a susceptibility map (Unit 3) in conjunction with considerations of Earth processes, infrastructure, and sociopolitical factors (policy, budgets, cultural preservation) associated with hazard mitigation. This unit uses ArcMap software.

This unit, along with some exam questions, serves as the Summative Assessment for the module.

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Learning Goals

Unit 4 Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Examine, evaluate, and interpret new mass wasting sites using skills/knowledge from Units 1, 2, and 3.
  • Compare, categorize, and explain various site specific factors for each site.
  • Develop and plan hazard mitigation strategies for sites using skills/knowledge from Units 1, 2, and 3.

Unit 4 Teaching Objectives

  • Cognitive: Encourage critical thought on the selection of input factors for and valuation of a final susceptibility map/model.
  • Behavioral: Preparation of a formal report for regional and three chosen sites will serve to build the student's capacity to comprehensively and effectively communicate their knowledge to decision- and policy-makers.
  • Affective: Encourage metacognitive thought by assessing risk and formulating a mitigation plan and then being asked to reflect upon their own local community.

Context for Use

This upper-level content is appropriate for junior- or senior-level courses in geohazards, GIS, remote sensing, and other geoscience courses where there may be an interest in developing skills in computational experimentation, prediction, risk assessment, and hazard mitigation. This unit assumes that students have had physical geology and some upper-level exposure to mass movements types including exploration of slope failure mechanisms, or that students have completed Unit 1, Unit 2, and Unit 3. No prior knowledge of risk assessment or hazard mitigation is required, but students should rely on readings/examples from FEMA and local documents (see additional resources). A brief introductory presentation discusses the critical parts of a hazard mitigation plan and risk assessment. This unit is designed to be executed in groups (4-5 people) and is a final unit for the overall module. It is necessary to complete Unit 1, Unit 2, and Unit 3 prior to this unit.

Description and Teaching Materials

Estimated time: Classroom (45 min - 1 hour) and External (2 weeks).

In Unit 1, students were introduced to methods of identifying landslides from digital imagery and other remotely sensed data. In Unit 2 and Unit 3, students gained hands-on experience in developing and validating models of susceptibility for regions based on landslide inventories and landslide-related factors. Together, the first three units of this module introduce methods of risk assessment. In this unit, students will amalgamate their prior experience and work in risk assessment and develop a hazard mitigation plan

To aid in the report preparation, students can focus on Parts C-F of Section I and all of Sections 2 and 3, in addition to Appendices B and C, of the USGS Landslide Handbook (Acrobat (PDF) 39.5MB Oct15 19) at the discretion of the instructor. Particularly useful reading includes the FEMA Local Mitigation Planning Handbook.

It is recommended that students work collaboratively in teams of 4-5 to complete Unit 4.

Introduction

To introduce students to concepts of hazard mitigation, a short PowerPoint lecture with discussion prompts and project considerations is provided. A strong suggestion is to have students read and discuss (in small groups) the different task sections in the FEMA Local Mitigation Planning Handbook after briefly introducing each task, followed by a short collective discussion about how each task may relate/translate to their own hazard mitigation plan.

Preparing a Hazard Mitigation Plan

To prepare a hazard mitigation plan, student groups should select a region (Arizona or Puerto Rico). It is recommended that students continue forward for the region they evaluated for Unit 3. The assignment for this section serves as the summative assessment for both the unit and overall module.

As they carry out their assignment, students should think about the following as part of an additional metacognitive process:

  1. How has your understanding of existing landslide hazard maps changed after working through the units of this module?
  2. Would you consider yourself an expert in landslide hazard mapping and prediction?
  3. How has your understanding of the role of susceptibility mapping of any hazard changed?

Students will choose to formulate their plan using either group A or group B below depending on their groups chosen region.

A. Puerto Rico Sites:

  1. PONCE PR-9 (18.032043, -66.636127)
  2. BARRANQUITAS PR-143 (18.176531, -66.337803)
  3. MAMEYES (18.024682, -66.618523)

B. Arizona Sites:

  1. BLACK CANYON CITY (34.095097, -112.133034)
  2. MARCUS (33.679230, -111.799326)
  3. AGUA FRIA NATIONAL MONUMENT (34.119677, -112.147299)

Unit 4 Hazard Mitigation Plan Student Exercise (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 203kB Oct9 18) - this document outlines the hazard mitigation plan final summative assignment for students. The outline can also serve as a rubric for instructor evaluation and summative assessment of the assignment and module as a whole, or teachers may choose to use the Unit 4 writing rubric (see assessment below).

Unit 4 Datasets

Students should use prior data from Units 1-3.

Georeferenced imagery for each site listed above can be accessed in PR_Sites.zip (Zip Archive 531.2MB Jan11 19) or AZ_sites.zip (Zip Archive 70.5MB Jan11 19).

Teaching Notes and Tips

  • This unit uses ArcMap software. See Unit 1 for related links.
  • Since students are working in groups for a writing assignment, it is recommended that they use Google Docs, or some other shared word document platform.
  • Instructors may choose to lengthen the project to a term project by adding components to the hazard mitigation plan, such as identifying current resources, estimating costs/damages, etc. Additionally, the teacher may choose to shorten the project by only focusing on risk assessment or purely on hazard mitigation planning (without risk assessment).

Assessment

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment for this unit is recommended in the form of regular check-ins of groups with the teacher. The teacher can assess student progress and help guide where/when students need it. Students may use these check-ins to ask questions or run ideas by their instructor.

Summative Assessment

Since the bulk of the risk assessment is completed in prior units, the summative assessment focuses on the content and writing skills displayed in the final hazard mitigation plan submitted by student groups. Instructors may choose to use the writing and content rubric provided below, or develop their own using the detailed outline provided to students.

Unit 4 Hazard Mitigation Plan Rubric (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 20kB Oct8 18) - this is a writing and content development rubric for the hazard mitigation plan. It is recommended that teachers provide a copy to the students, or at least walk them through the grading criteria in advance of preparing their documents.

Additional module-relevant exam questions are also provided as part of the Summative Assessment. Teachers may choose questions relevant to only certain units.

References and Resources

Additional Resources for Instructors:

Here are additional resources that students and teachers will find helpful. Students are encouraged to read through both the resources as they write their hazard mitigation plan.


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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested materials developed by GETSI. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »