Estimating landslide losses - preliminary results of a seven-State pilot project

Open-File Report 2006-1032




Introduction: In 2001, the U.S. Geological Survey Landslide Hazards Program provided funding for seven State geological surveys to report on the status of landslide investigation strategies in each of their States, and to suggest improved ways to approach the tracking of landslides, their effects, losses associated with the landslides, and hazard mitigation strategies. Each State was to provide a draft report suggesting innovative ways to track landslides, and to participate in subsequent workshops. A workshop was convened in June 2003 in Lincoln, Neb., to discuss the results and future strategies on how best to incorporate the seven pilot projects into one methodology that all of the 50 States could adopt. The seven individual reports produced by the State surveys are published here to put forth a forum for discussion of the varying methods of tracking landslides. The goal is to eventually adopt a single, universally applied methodology to track landslides that will provide a consistent framework for collecting data on landslide damage and economic impact. Participating States include: California (James Davis, Jack McMillan); Kentucky (Jim Cobb, John Kiefer, John Rockaway); Nebraska (Mark Kuzila, Duane Eversoll); Ohio (Thomas Berg, Jon Rockaway), Oregon (John Beaulieu, Yumei Wang, Renee Summers, Jon Hofmeister); Pennsylvania (Jay Parrish, Helen Delano); Utah (Richard Allis, Francis Ashland). The USGS personnel involved in the planning and meeting facilitation are Paula Gori, Peter Lyttle, and John Pallister. The general USGS strategy to address landslide loss reduction was developed with input from State geological surveys, the engineering-geology consulting community, and academic investigators. The strategy was reviewed by the National Research Council, 2004), is summarized in USGS Circular 1244 (Spiker and Gori, 2003) and is endorsed by the AASG. This pilot study, conducted by seven State geological surveys, examines the feasibility of collecting accurate and reliable information on economic losses associated with landslides. Each State survey examined the availability, distribution, and inherent uncertainties of economic loss data in their study areas. Their results provide the basis for identifying the most fruitful methods of collecting landslide loss data nationally, using methods that are consistent and provide common goals. These results can enhance and establish the future directions of scientific investigation priorities by convincingly documenting landslide risks and consequences that are universal throughout the 50 States. This report is organized as follows: A general summary of the pilot project history, goals, and preliminary conclusions from the Lincoln, Neb. workshop are presented first. Internet links are then provided for each State report, which appear on the internet in PDF format and which have been placed at the end of this open-file report. A reference section follows the reports, and, lastly, an Appendix of categories of landslide loss and sources of loss information is included for the reader's information. Please note: The Oregon Geological Survey has also submitted a preliminary report on indirect loss estimation methodology, which is also linked with the others. Each State report is unique and presented in the form in which it was submitted, having been independently peer reviewed by each respective State survey. As such, no universal 'style' or format has been adopted as there have been no decisions on which inventory methods will be recommended to the 50 states, as of this writing. The reports are presented here as information for decision makers, and for the record; although several reports provide recommendations on inventory methods that could be adopted nationwide, currently no decisions have been made on adopting a uniform methodology for the States.

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Estimating landslide losses - preliminary results of a seven-State pilot project
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Open-File Report
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Online only, Version 1.0
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11 p.
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