Building Resilient Delta Communities

July 25, 2017

As Delta residents know all too well, summer brings the threat of tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding to the Mississippi River Delta region and Alabama Black Belt. As our communities cast a watchful eye, DRA stands ready to provide the support needed to hasten recovery efforts after any natural or economic disaster that may strike the region. This effort includes training our region’s leaders, residents and businesses so that they are prepared when an economic or natural disaster strikes.

By building resilient communities, we can minimize any disaster’s disruption of daily life and ensure Delta economies can rebound quickly. Effective local leadership is crucial to disaster resilience and economic recovery activities in Delta communities.

One of DRA’s priorities is to support resiliency efforts across the region. Our economic development and community planning efforts include partnering with local officials, Emergency Management organizations, and national organizations that provide invaluable support to communities when they need it most.

DRA is committed to working with local community and economic development leaders to increase their ability to anticipate risk, limit impact, and bounce back rapidly from unexpected events that create turbulent change. Resilient communities minimize any disaster's disruption to everyday life and local economies. 

Beyond planning and working with community leaders on response efforts, DRA most recently has invested to help with tornado recovery efforts in Perryville, MO; Marshall and Graves counties in KY; and Crossville, IL, among others.

DRA launched its Leading Economically Competitive and Resilient Communities (ECRC) program in 2015 in partnership with the International Economic Development Council and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The program began with six pilot workshops in five states, educating more than 150 community leaders.

Working together, DRA and its national partners have expanded the program and conducted two-day intensive boot-camp courses that help prepare local elected officials, community leaders, and economic development practitioners so they can respond rapidly when disasters occur. In 2016, DRA provided ECRC training to 386 leaders across the Delta Region.

In 2017, we have held more than a dozen workshops across the region, and there are still opportunities to participate in training sessions in your community. In August, DRA will provide two sessions in Arkansas (Pine Bluff and Searcy); one session in Illinois (Marion); and one session in Missouri (Cape Girardeau). When our 2017 training schedule ends, DRA will have reached all eight of the states we support.

You can find details and information on how to register here.

Like our other programs and initiatives, ECRC training programs include participation and support from multiple partners on the regional and national levels. ECRC training directly supports DRA’s goal to increase community capacity, which means providing local elected officials and other community leaders with proactive strategies, tools, and resources that they can implement in their hometowns.

DRA knows that the Delta region will succeed with strong and informed local leadership that is prepared for economic emergencies and natural disasters. Prepared elected officials are uniquely positioned to coordinate public resources and agencies in their communities. These efforts support job creation, act as an effective bridge between the public and private sectors, and help businesses recover in the event of an economic or natural disaster. 

DRA remains committed to providing every Delta community with the support it needs to withstand a natural disaster and to build strategies that encourage economic development growth.

For questions regarding ECRC registration and programming, please contact Alex Holland at or (202) 434-4847.


Chris Masingill