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7.5.10: Regional Organizations

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    The Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC) is a partnership of emergency managers and state geoscience organizations working on earthquake hazard mitigation, earthquake preparedness, emergency response, and recovery. It includes all the five western states, British Columbia, Yukon, and Pacific island territories. Federal agencies that are part of WSSPC include the Department of Transportation, FEMA, NOAA, and USGS.


    WSSPC is very much involved in training and technology transfer—in getting the message out to the public. It holds an annual conference, collects publications on earthquake matters produced by its member organizations, and helps find money to work on earthquake research. Its web site is


    Another working group in the Pacific Northwest, including northern California, is the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW), focused on mitigation against a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. CREW includes representatives from FEMA; state emergency services agencies; the scientific community represented by USGS, universities, and state geological surveys; and private industry. Its executive director, Heidi Kandathil (, Bob Freitag, is housed at the University of Washington. The involvement of the private sector might be the most important hallmark of CREW. In addition to the expected concerns about loss of life and property, industries in the shadow of the Cascadia Subduction Zone are concerned about the loss of market share in the event of a catastrophic earthquake. An example of the loss of market share is provided by the Port of Kobe, Japan, which became inoperable after the 1995 Kobe Earthquake. As a result, other ports in Japan took over the business that had previously gone to Kobe, and the Port of Kobe has yet to regain its pre-earthquake level of business. CREW has a video directed toward businesses in the Northwest. Another group is the Redwood Coast Earthquake Study Group, concentrating on earthquake hazards on the northern California coast.


    The Oregon Natural Hazards Workgroup (ONHW) is part of the Community Service Center at the University of Oregon in Eugene, which provides planning, policy, and technical assistance to communities throughout Oregon. Under the leadership of its founding director, André LeDuc, ONHW helps communities develop disaster mitigation programs at both the state and local levels. This includes training and helping communities find additional funding and technical resources to prepare themselves better for disasters, including earthquakes. The role of the ONHW is to link the skills, expertise, and innovation of higher education with the risk-reduction needs of communities and the state, thereby providing service to Oregon and learning opportunities for students. ONHW assisted Clackamas County in preparing its FEMA Disaster Mitigation Plan, the first in the country to be completed under a new law enacted in 2000. ONHW can be contacted at, and their website is LeDuc is now executive director of Enterprise Risk Services.


    A nonprofit corporation called Consortium of Organizations for Strong-Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS) has been formed to encourage improvement in strong-motion measurements and applications, especially in urbanized areas, and to promote the wide dissemination of strong-motion instrument records after an earthquake. The organization is an outgrowth of discussions among the California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program of the California Geological Survey, the USGS, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Corps of Engineers. COSMOS has its headquarters at the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center of the University of California, Berkeley, located at Richmond. PEER is an NSF-funded research center for earthquake engineering focusing on West Coast problems.


    This list of organizations changes over time and the interested reader should start with the descriptions above and identify the present organizations.

    7.5.10: Regional Organizations is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Robert S. Yeats via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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