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

NLS New Logo

Welcome to the Flood Zone!

A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and educational opportunities. If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe link in the footer of this message.

Jim Headshot

Message from Jim

Having several licenses allows me to be uniquely positioned between professions. One area of concern which remains a constant is real estate licensees providing guidance to homeowners or potential clients as to the location of boundary lines and corners. As a Professional Land Surveyor, homeowners often inform our organization regarding the location of a boundary corner because their Realtor told them it was the corner when they bought the place. As a real estate licensee and Realtor having performed all required educational licensing and continuing education requirements for many years, land surveying is a topic barely discussed. As continuing education providers to real estate consultants, we have created a course which details the various differences between a formal boundary survey and a mortgage loan inspection. Since feedback through evaluation has been positive, an understanding of the required effort to accurately identify boundary lines has been gained by our students, and hopefully, fewer licensees are providing boundary line opinions.

Evaluating elements of a boundary survey such as operative deeds, original called for evidence, junior/senior rights, simultaneous or sequential conveyances, riparian and littoral rights, lines of occupation, acquiescence, prescriptive rights, and equitable boundaries combined with a title opinion from an attorney often defines the extent of fee title. Sometimes this effort is not enough and a boundary dispute occurs. Toss in other factors such as conveyances from the original deed, typographical errors, moved boundary markers, relocated rights of way, or real estate law, and the process of performing an insured and defensible boundary survey can be quite extensive. It is never as easy as finding a marker and saying it is the boundary corner. That is why mortgage loan inspections should never be used by a homeowner or community for permitting or approvals.

Recently the National Society of Land Surveyors reached out to the National Association of Realtors urging them to add the following language to Article 13 of its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Document: “REALTORS shall not engage in activities that constitute the unauthorized practice of Land Surveying and shall recommend that counsel of a professional land surveyor be obtained when the interest of any party to the transaction requires it.” This is a national concern and the strategy of this letter is simple. Even as a Professional Land Surveyor, I will never tell my real estate client that a marker is the corner without the proper survey effort. Caution should always be exercised when determining boundary lines.

Click here to view the letter.



FEMA's 2015 Elevation Certificate is Now in Fillable Format!

Available on FEMA's website, the newest version of the Elevation Certificate is now up to date with the proposed modifications, including being a fillable PDF. Adobe Acrobat Pro or Acrobat Reader are needed to use the form. Other file viewing software such as Foxit Reader will not work.

A note from experience: If you download the form using Acrobat Reader, make sure to save your file before beginning to fill out the form. If you enter text in the "reader" format, there may be an issue with some fields not repopulating when you save it under a different name.


Flood Q & A:

Q: I'm applying for a Letter of Map Amendment for a property located near the coast in Zone A. There is a Stillwater Elevation of 10.5' for the flooding source in a Flood Insurance Study performed for this area, but the current Flood Insurance Rate Map lists the Base Flood Elevation as 11'. Which one should I reference in my application?

A: For Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Conditional Letter of Amendment (CLOMA) determinations, where effective flood hazard areas are the result of coastal flood hazard analysis, FEMA will only use whole foot Base Flood Elevations. This standard went into effect on 7/31/2015.

Note the location of the Coastal A Zone in the diagram below, as well as the differences between the Base Flood Elevation (blue dotted line) and the 100-year stillwater elevation (red dotted line). The BFE is higher because it takes wave effects into account, and when used as the basis for regulation, will enforce structures to be built to a higher, safer standard.

flood zones limwa

Getting mapped into a more hazardous flood zone does not have to be a deal breaker. Contact your town office, floodplain administrator, insurance agent, or local flood consultant, and ask questions. Find out what your options are.


Coastal Analysis and Mapping

Want to learn more about coastal flood zone mapping and how BFEs and stillwater elevations are determined? Click here to view FEMA Region II's Coastal Analysis and Mapping overview. Even if you do not fully understand the more technical concepts, it is pretty easy to see why accurately mapping coastal areas for insurance and regulation purposes has been a slow process in so many regions. There is a lot involved in modeling storm surge, wave runup, erosion, and all the other factors that contribute to the NFIP's flood hazard mapping projects. It is understandable to be frustrated with the process, especially when your property is in an area where flood zones are changing with the maps. Reduce the anxiety by learning all that you can about this process. Click here to read about Undergoing a Map Change.

dc basementwater

How Flood Damages Are Valued

The value of flood damage covered under the Dwelling Form is based on either Replacement Cost Value or Actual Cash Value.

Replacement Cost Value (RCV)
RCV is the cost, without depreciation, to replace the part of the building that is damaged. To be eligible, three conditions must be met: 1) The building must be a single-family dwelling; 2) The building must be your principal residence at the time of loss (meaning you live there at least 80% of the year); and 3) Your building coverage is at least 80% of the full replacement cost of the building, or is the maximum available for the property under the NFIP.

Actual Cash Value (ACV)
ACV is the Replacement Cost Value at the time of loss, less the value of its physical depreciation. Some building items such as appliances and carpeting are always adjusted on an ACV basis. For example, wall-to-wall carpeting could lose from 10-14% of its value each year, depending on the quality. This depreciation would be factored into the adjustment. Personal property is always valued at ACV.

For more information, view the NFIP Summary of Coverage document FEMA F-679, November 2012.


History Corner

This summer marks the 200th anniversary of "The Year Without a Summer"

The year 1816 is known as the "Year Without a Summer" due to the extreme temperature anomaly that caused average global temperatures to decrease to a point that much of New England, Atlantic Canada, and parts of Western Europe were seeing snow and hard frost as late as August. Temperatures would fluctuate from above normal summer temperatures in the 90s, back down to near freezing within hours. The impact on crops was so great, this time also became known as the "Poverty Year". The cause has since been accepted as the result of a volcanic blast in Indonesia, which filled the upper atmosphere with ash and debris, lowering the solar intensity of summer in those parts of the northern hemisphere.

Click here to learn more!

2016-07-11 14.18.17

Photos taken by Tom Blake, PLS, CFM

Cool Historical Find!

Upon doing field reconnaissance on a project site recently, we ran across one of the six known monuments in Cumberland County, Maine set to keep track of "The King's Highway," which extended from Boston to Machias. The highway was originally laid out as a military road in 1761. Benjamin Franklin was Postmaster General from 1753 - 1774, and many of the stone markers along the King's Highway were set by his order.

2016-07-11 14.17.58

From Maine Memory Network: "Some accounts say that Benjamin Franklin drove along the King's Highway with his invention, the odometer, attached to a wheel of the wagon, and that Franklin placed a wooden marker every mile. Other wagons were said to follow him replacing his wooden markers with the carved stone markers, some of which survive today. "


July Flood Funny

flood cartoon

Contact Us!

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

Frequently Asked Questions
Email: info@nadeaulandsurveys.com or call (207) 878-7870

Have you missed any issues of our newsletter?

Make sure you add info@nadeaulandsurveys.com to your Contact List.

Visit our Newsletter Archive

Need more information?

Useful Links

Looking for Beyond the Boundary, the Educational Component of Nadeau Land Surveys?

Visit Beyond the Boundary's Webpage

email facebook linkedin twitter youtube