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Welcome to the Flood Zone is a nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and educational opportunities. This newsletter has been proudly featured by the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the National Society of Professional Surveyors, and the Maine and New Hampshire Floodplain Management Programs. Please feel free to share with your friends and colleagues!

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In this Issue of Welcome to the Flood Zone:

Message from Jim
Thank You!
In the News: "Austin, Texas Will Change Code to Expand 100-Year Floodplain" and "Mitigation Matters: Policy Solutions to Reduce Local Flood Risk"
Resources: "Map Changes and Flood Insurance - What Property Owners Need to Know"
Real Estate Corner: "So Your House Is in a Flood Zone—Will Selling it Be a Nightmare?" and "Improving Flood Risk Disclosure"
NFIP Guidance: "Risk Rating 2.0 Implementation Has Been Deferred To October 1, 2021"

Banner Image: A father and daughter kayak down Magnolia Avenue in Norfolk, Virginia, in 2009 after a severe nor’easter. The city has revamped its zoning regulations to encourage investment in areas less prone to flooding. Image by Hyunsoo Leo Kim, The Virginian-Pilot, and featured in "Norfolk's Revised Zoning Ordinance Aims to Improve Flood Resilience".


Message from Jim

It’s December and the holiday season is upon us! As we celebrate or observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, New Year or other happy festive gatherings, let's all remain very thankful for the family and friends in our lives. Nadeau Land Surveys would like to wish everyone a very healthy and happy ending of 2019, and into the future! Happy Holidays to all!


Thank you!

We would like to thank the Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District for inviting us to present on the topic of flood risk and resiliency this week at the 2019 Maine Stormwater Conference. It was a great experience and nice to see so many motivated stakeholders ready to tackle important issues and work toward a more sustainable future.


In the News

Austin, Texas Will Change Code to Expand 100-Year Floodplain

By Mary Huber, Austin American-Statesman, November 15, 2019, featured in Government Technology Emergency Mangement

Among the changes is a provision that will re-designate the city's 500-year floodplain as the new 100-year floodplain, meaning that any structures built in those areas are at greater flood risk and will be subject to additional building regulations.

Read more!


The black-eyed Susans and other greenery alongside a curb in a Milwaukee neighborhood help absorb excess water.

Mitigation Matters: Policy Solutions to Reduce Local Flood Risk

Pew Charitable Trusts, November 19, 2019

Since 2000, floods have cost the United States more than $845 billion in damage to homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure. The expense of adapting to more frequent and severe storms is projected to rise over the next several decades, placing a premium on the need to take action now to reduce the impacts of future floods.

“Mitigation Matters,” new research from The Pew Charitable Trusts, identifies 13 states or cities that have adopted policies resulting in effective flood mitigation. To learn more, read the overview, which includes lessons from these jurisdictions, or go directly to briefs below about each city or state. The policies are organized into three categories: 1) using existing funds for mitigation by redirecting revenue and spending, 2) creating revenue sources, and 3) establishing smarter regulations.

Read more!



map changes

Map Changes and Flood Insurance - What Property Owners Need to Know

Flood hazards change over time. How water flows and drains can change by new land use and community development or by natural forces such as changing weather, terrain changes, or wildfires. To better reflect the current flood risk conditions, FEMA uses the latest technology to update and issue new flood maps nationwide to aid communities, property owners, and other stakeholders in taking steps to address flood risks.

This is a great resource for navigating the many options available to property owners if a map change is scheduled to occur. It covers the impacts on insurance rates, options to reduce premiums while staying proactive against flood risk.

Click here to download the FEMA Fact Sheet.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

So Your House Is in a Flood Zone—Will Selling it Be a Nightmare?

By Valerie Kalfrin, Homelight, August 29, 2019

How hard is it to sell a house in a flood zone? Depending on which type of flood zone you’re in, you may face some challenges ahead to attract the right buyer willing to take on the extra risk and expenses associated with your home’s location. Deep breaths, though.

Whether you bought your house when it was already in a flood zone or your house recently got classified as high-risk, find out how to navigate key steps like pricing, disclosures, and conversations about flood insurance. With the right approach you’ll put yourself in the strongest position to sell despite your location.

Read more!

Improving Flood Risk Disclosure

By Wharton University of Pennsylvania, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, January 2019

The Challenge: For markets to work efficiently, participants need full information. Without it, prices will be distorted and participants could make suboptimal decisions. This may be the current state of the United States housing market with respect to flood risk.

It is federal law that federally backed or regulated lenders require flood insurance on property loans in “Special Flood Hazard Areas.” This term refers to the 100-year floodplain, as mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Lenders are required to disclose to borrowers when properties are located in this area. Some states also mandate that sellers disclose this information earlier in the home sale process. Multiple previous studies have documented a price discount for homes in Special Flood Hazard Areas.

This information, though, is insufficient. It falsely suggests that flood risk is binary, it fails to discuss potential damages, it does not communicate changing risk across the landscape, it does not provide the information early enough in the home buying process, and it does not do so freely on the platforms that people are using to explore potential homes and neighborhoods.

This digital dialogue addresses the following question: How can flood risk disclosure be improved?

Read more!


NFIP Guidance

Risk Rating 2.0 Implementation Has Been Deferred To October 1, 2021, November 7, 2019

While the agency initially announced that new rates for all single-family homes would go into effect nationwide on October 1, 2020, some additional time is required to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the proposed rating structure so as to protect policyholders and minimize any unintentional negative effects of the transition. Therefore, FEMA decided to defer the implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 by one year to October 1, 2021.

Additionally, this extension also allows for all National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies – including, single-family homes, multi-unit and commercial properties – to changeover to the new rating system at one time instead of a phased approach, as originally proposed.

Over the course of the next year, FEMA will continue to actively engage with Congress and other key stakeholders to ensure transparency and visibility as we work to transform the NFIP.

Learn more!

NFIP Reauthorized Until December 20, 2019

Another short-term extension will keep the National Flood Insurance Program afloat until later this month.

Learn more!


December Flood Funny

Back in 2013, the Environmental Agency in the UK encouraged homeowners to build snowmen to slow the process of flooding during a thaw. While viewed as a bizarre directive and likely ineffective flood mitigation effort on a large scale, there is some truth to the fact that compacted snow melts slower. So we say, hey, why not?! It couldn't hurt to have some winter fun with the added bonus of it possibly slowing runoff.

"Can Building Snowmen Really Help Prevent Flooding?", By Jon Welch, BBC News Online, January 24, 2013

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