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AEG OR Chapter April 19, 2022
Lucky Lab Beer Hall
Portland, OR
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AEG OR Chapter April 19, 2022
Responding to Landslide Emergencies:  Communicating with Stakeholders and the Feedback Loop of Preparation, Response, Analysis and Lessons Learned  

PURCHASE OF TICKETS USING BROWN PAPER TICKETS: Ticket sales stops by Noon on Tuesday April 19th

(At the door payments in Cash or Checks only.)
5:30 Social Hour and Dinner*
7:00  Presentation

*Please contact the Board if you have any specific dietary restrictions.


Speaker: Rick Wooten, Distinguished Richard H. Jahns Lecturer 2021-22

An important component of the North Carolina Geological Surveys (NCGS) geohazards program is to respond to requests for technical assistance on landslide events from emergency managers and the public. Since 1990 the NCGS has responded to over 160 landslide events involving ~350 landslides in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, including those that resulted in the loss of life, injuries, destroyed or severely damaged homes, and threatened regional infrastructure. Most of these landslides coincided with periods of heavy rainfall from tropical cyclones, low pressure systems (e.g., atmospheric rivers), and warm weather convective storms, especially when these storm events occurred during periods of extended above normal rainfall.  
A primary response objective is to provide stakeholders with timely, unbiased scientific information to help protect public safety and property, and thereby reduce losses from landslides.  A key response function is to help increase situational awareness for emergency responders during rescue and recovery operations.  Post-landslide response efforts include assisting emergency managers with damage assessments, contingency planning if unstable slopes remain a threat, and providing documentation to support funding for recovery and mitigation efforts.  Emergency landslide situations involve communicating with first responders, the public and media to convey information about the nature of landslides and recovery efforts, and in some cases giving expert witness testimony.
Our investigations revealed that damaged homes and other critical facilities in many instances unknowingly had been built in areas vulnerable to landslides.  Slope modifications by human activity were contributing factors in many cases, including fill failures that mobilized into destructive debris flows.  Correlations between rainfall and debris flow occurrences indicate that debris flows originating on slopes modified by human activity can be triggered by rain events with lower rates and durations than those needed to trigger debris flows on unmodified slopes.  These findings show that smart development can help reduce landslide losses and improve communities resilience after landslide events.
Field computers, lidar digital elevation models and orthophotography used in conjunction with a landslide geodatabase have improved pre-response preparation, data collection and analysis, and delivery of geospatial data to stakeholders.  The advent of uncrewed aerial systems ((UAS) technology has enhanced landslide response and mapping capabilities.  Ricks talk will highlight case examples, lessons learned, and challenges in responding to landslide events as a state agency.


Lucky Lab Beer Hall (View)
1945 NW Quimby
Portland, OR 97209
United States



Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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