Welcome to the Flood Zone! A resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, educational opportunities, and

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A resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, educational opportunities, and local events.


Flood Facts

Maine has:
5,779 lakes and ponds
5,299 miles of coastline
Over 8,000 miles of floodplains

Flooding in Maine is largely the result of coastal storms, heavy spring rains, runoff, and ice jams. It is estimated that up to 75% of homes and business in floodplains in Maine are NOT covered by flood insurance.

Data from the Maine Floodplain Management Program Brochure, April 2007

Jim Tri For a Cure

Jim and Liam McCoy handing out lemonade at The Maine Real Estate Network's tent at the Tri-For-A-Cure fundraising event.

Message from Jim

With our minds set on a destination, we often forget that the journey is of greater value. Goals and expectations achieved are special, but the road traveled presents much more knowledge, wisdom, self-confidence, kindness, and humility than any destination reached. In fact, any destination obtained is just a step along the overall journey. Most are consumed with our estimated time of arrival and forget that each moment which passes without value is gone forever. An equal or larger blunder is the lost respect and understanding of the past.

As a land surveyor, a strong understanding of the past and history of community, county, and state is of immense value. As we are required to journey back in time in our research efforts, we often identify the namesakes of the many local streets, buildings, neighborhoods, etc. To do this well, a moderate amount of historian is in each land surveyor’s blood. As with the pertinent operative deeds in land surveying defining intent of land transfers, history does much of the same for a community or region.

Most will agree with Portland's many top ten rankings in various polls, which includes the #1 slot in a 2009 Forbes magazine article, “America's Most Livable Cities”, but is it because of our future or our past? For me, past history is the foundation making Portland extremely desirable.

Did you know that James Deering was one of the first Portland merchants to travel to the Neck from his Falmouth farm (now USM-Portland and vicinity)? The City of Deering was originally a portion of Westbrook, and later merged into Portland. They were all originally part of ancient Falmouth. The Presumpscot Mills were accessible due to the construction of a road in 1735 from Stroudwater Village to Saccarappa (Westbrook) to carry large mast pines to the Fore River and floated to Clark's Point.

Deering Map1

Falmouth (formally Casco) breaks off into Westbrook, Portland, and Cape Elizabeth between 1718 - 1814

Commercial Street was first built on piers in the 1850's until fill was pushed into the harbor to accommodate the growing railroad and warehousing waterfronts. Portland Harbor was a nationally recognized shipping port. Middle Street was the middle street between Fore Street and the Back Road (also formerly called the country road, Queen Street, and now Congress Street) before Commerical Street was created. Exchange Street was formerly called Fish Street, while Franklin Street was formerly called Fiddle Street. In 1739, a tract of land bounded by Fore, Middle, and Exchange Streets, and extending twelve rods (198’) west of Exchange Street, containing four acres, was sold for 480 pounds ($633). Wow!

Deering Map2

Deering breaks from Westbrook and then becomes part of Portland; South Portland breaks from Cape Elizabeth, between 1871 and 1899.

Many times fire has caused substantial damage to all or portions of Portland’s peninsula. For example, during the 1676 and 1690 attacks by the Indians, the October 16, 1775 attack by the British, and of course, the July 4, 1866 conflagration fire that was started down on a wharf by a child playing with firecrackers. The damage consumed 68 blocks and 1500 buildings. In 1908, another fire damaged Portland City Hall, destroying probate records from 1760-1908. These lost records can have a huge impact on our records research.

Take time to learn the history of the community where you work or call home. You will be astonished by its history. Enjoy the free journey through time with each passage through town. Though I probably fall far short of being considered a historian, I am fine with the title of “enthusiast” and am extremely thankful for those who secured the past for our viewing pleasure. Thank you Maine Historical Society, Portland Landmarks, and true historians such as Moses Greenleaf - Survey of the State of Maine (1829), Joseph Williamson - The History of the State of Maine (1832), and William Willis - The History of Portland (1833). This article is based on information from these books.

Not to worry, we will all get to our destinations soon enough and it is the journey that becomes more special with the gained knowledge of the many families, businesses, and events before us. Make your journey special by attaching it to the past. It will make for a special ride.

Photos from the book, Deering: A Social and Architecture History, by William David Barry and Patricia McGraw Anderson. Published by Greater Portland Landmarks, Inc. 2010.


Surveyor, Mark Carpenter, recording GPS coordinates for each reset headstone.

Featured Project

Much progress has been made on the Headstone Rehabilitation Project at the Maine Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, since its commencement in 2011.

The Objective

Due to the natural settling of soil, the headstones have settled or are sinking below the surface of the ground. In a generous effort to preserve the integrity of these memorial sites, we are field locating around 6,500 headstones prior to their temporary removal. After the removal of each headstone, compaction of the soil will be performed and then each stone will be placed in its original location, with minor adjustments made to create perfect alignment of each row and column. In order to ensure accuracy, we are surveying with quality GPS equipment to create coordinates for each grave marker, taking photos, and recording the name and death dates of each.


Ben Nadeau, Jim's son, getting first-hand experience with data collection using GPS equipment.

Because of the comprehensive manner in which data is collected during this process, we are also helping to develop a highly accurate database for the cemetery. This is a very unique survey project, but we are enthusiastic about the challenge and proud to honor Maine's veterans by helping to preserve their final resting place.


This project is made possible by the collaboration among the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs, the State of Maine Dept. of Defense - Veterans & Emergency Management, Walsh Engineering Associates, Inc., Farley & Sons Landscaping, and Nadeau Land Surveys.


Flood Funny


What is a floodway?

A floodway is the channel of a river or stream and the overbank areas that must remain open to carry the deeper, faster moving water during a flood.
Visit the National Flood Insurance Program official website for more information.

Chance of Being Flooded by a 100-year Flood
1 Year = 1%
10 Years = 10%
20 Years = 18%
30 Years = 26%

Note: There is a 26% chance that a 100-year flood will occur during a 30-year mortgage period, compared to a 5% chance of fire.


Enroll in Jim's Class!

"Understanding Land Surveying and Flood Zones" is being offered again at Husson University, South Portland

If you missed Jim's class in August, there will be another session on Tuesday, September 18th! Register now with The Real Estate Learning Group.

This course is currently being offered for free, thanks to sponsorship from Preferred Title & Closing and Cumberland County Mortgage. It is worth 3 continuing education credit hours for Realtors. Learn about the highlights and differences of boundary surveys and mortgage loan inspections, and gain beneficial knowledge about flood insurance, flood zones, flood maps, and how to plot a house on a flood map.

Join us, September 18th, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, at Husson University.


Oct. 4th: The Maine Municipal Association's Annual Convention

Jim will be speaking during two sessions, at 8:45-10:00 AM and 1:30-3:00 PM, about Mortgage Loan Inspections vs. Boundary Surveys, and Understanding Flood Zones, respectively.

Both sessions are approved for 2.00 Land Use Contact Hours - CEO recertification credits.

Our team will be present at our exhibition booth during the convention on both Oct. 3rd and Oct. 4th. Stop by and say hello!

Information on attending the event can be found on MMA's website.

Oct. 10th: Maine Association of Mortgage Professionals
October Breakfast Meeting

Beyond the Boundary Banner

In the News

Beyond the Boundary: Working with the Lending Industry

The American Surveyor, Vol. 9, No.7, by James Nadeau
Our second article has been published in The American Surveyor magazine!
Read it online!

Survey Says: Fewer Affordable Homes

CNN Money, by Les Christie, August 14, 2012
Even with mortgage rates falling, it's not enough to offset price increases and stagnant wages.


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Do you have a question about land surveying, flood zone issues, or real estate?

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