- © 2016 Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists
Scientific literature is replete with papers describing advances in applying new technologies to the study of landslides and advances in our understanding of factors affecting landslide occurrence, distribution, and movement. Far fewer papers look at how this knowledge is implemented to achieve landslide risk reduction. State and local governments exercise the greatest control on how landslide risk reduction is accomplished. Data generated from a questionnaire to state geological surveys, review of their agency Web sites, and two case studies demonstrate that progress has been made during the last 20 years in implementing actionable policy changes and programs to achieve a reduction is landslide risk in the United States. Progress is evident from the pivotal role played by state and local government in the areas of: (1) developing guidelines and training, (2) increasing public awareness and education, (3) implementing loss reduction measures, and (4) conducting emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The number of states requiring registration for practicing geologists has nearly doubled during the last 20 years. This increase was accompanied by a shift from individual state tests as part of determining competency to a uniform national test. During this period, state geological surveys established Web sites as a primary means for promoting public awareness and education about landslide hazards. Measures reducing the impact of landslides have included providing information specific to residents and landowners, as well as supporting land-use planning efforts by local governments. Many state geological surveys are involved with emergency management of landslide hazards.