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NC lawmakers include money in budget for landslide mapping

For the first time in seven years, the North Carolina budget includes money for landslide mapping. Lawmakers are allocating $3.6 million out of the state's disaster relief reserve. (Photo credit: Macon County Emergency Services)

For the first time in seven years, the North Carolina budget includes money for landslide mapping. Lawmakers are allocating $3.6 million out of the state's disaster relief reserve.

Western North Carolina has seen the devastating impacts of recent slides, including three fatalities in Polk County.

While some mapping exists, landslide and emergency management leaders said more maps with more precise information can help them better prepare and save lives.

“That would help us understand better about what communities we can place other resources for emergency response,” Haywood County Emergency Management director Greg Shuping said.

"Perhaps, this will provide them with the funding that they need in order to have the mapping as a tool that they can use,” said Jennifer Bauer, who runs Appalachian Landslide Consultants.

Her company maps hazard spots. She said more detailed information about landslides in more counties will be beneficial. She knows about the three recent mudslide fatalities in Polk County.

"I think that Polk County might be a good place to start, or any of those right along the steep, Blue Ridge escarpment. I know that it's information that the emergency managers could have used when making decisions,” she said.

Shuping said he intends to immediately look into funding opportunities and see if Haywood County may qualify for the money.

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