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

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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.

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Message from Jim

Several years ago, I presented a message pertaining to the public’s perception of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Though the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act seems to have helped settle emotions, moving forward with the many program changes that continue to occur requires continued education. Anyone not keeping pace with the changes will fall behind. The program is not perfect, but it makes much sense with proper education.

This process starts by identifying reliable resources. Websites or publications prepared by FEMA, the NFIP (FloodSmart), the Association of State Floodplain Managers, and your state floodplain management program are all reliable sources to self-educate. Did you know that 76% of people favor local news as the preferred information source regarding general flood risk and 36% actually expect to hear about flood risk from local media? This is according to a 2012 Public Survey Findings on Flood Risk (FEMA 2013). These statistics may be reflective of public confusion with the program, since mass media and blog-driven sources can be biased or lacking in sufficient research or credible source.

If you desire to really dig deeper into methodology and concepts, I recommend publications created by the National Research Council of the National Academies. These are scholarly publications which have the highest level of credibility since they are put through a rigorous system of review from other experts. I also recommend the Flood Insurance Manual as a valuable read to improve program understanding. Many answers rest quietly within this publication. As land surveyors, this manual has been beneficial in allowing us to provide guidance and recommendation, not just data, to our clients.

Remember, the NFIP provides federally-backed, insured coverage for improvements to be used as loan collateral. In other words, the program allows many Americans to “realize the dream” by protecting this investment. A buyer performs a building inspection to evaluate risk. Deservingly, the lender is also evaluating risk since a large majority of the capital is theirs. Preparing for our challenges with proper education will always prove beneficial. John Dewey, American philosopher, psychologist, Georgist, and educational reformer says it best: “Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”


Seats Still Available for NEW Continuing Education Course!

"Flood Zone Mapping & Risk: A Guide for Real Estate Professionals"

This 3-hour course is completely dedicated to floodplain management concepts, and includes real life examples, interactive demonstrations, and unique insight from a Certified Floodplain Manager who is also a Professional Land Surveyor and Realtor. For those interested, this course will be followed by an informal discussion on upcoming changes to flood insurance rates.

Continuing Education Credits
3 Clock Hours for Maine Real Estate Licensees
3 Credit Hours for Code Enforcement Officers

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (Optional discussion 11:30-12:00)
Location: Husson University, 340 County Road, Westbrook, ME
Instructor: Jim Nadeau
Sponsor: Beyond the Boundary

This course is open to any consultant who would like to learn more about the following topics:

The National Flood Insurance Program: History, purpose, public perception, and correlation of the mapping, insurance & regulation components
NFIP Terminology and Concepts: “If the loan collateral is in the SFHA, and an EC shows the LAG is higher than the BFE, you may be eligible for a LOMA.” Learn what this and other common flood lingo means - Hint: No mandatory flood insurance requirement!
Flood Insurance Rate Maps & Flood Zones: Special Flood Hazard Areas, paper vs. digital format, understanding preliminary data, disputing flood zone determinations, elevation certificates, and the FEMA submittal process
Navigating FEMA’s Map Service Center: Learn the process of determining if a property is in a flood zone
Flood Insurance, Hazard Disclosure, and Real Estate Value: Impact of the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 & Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 on real estate .

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Click on the photo to learn more about Beyond the Boundary, the Educational Component of Nadeau Land Surveys

Other Upcoming Events

Lincoln County Board of REALTORS

"Flood Zone Mapping & Risk: A Guide for Real Estate Professionals" is also being offered at the Lincoln County Board of REALTORS Membership Meeting on February 24th, 2016. If you are a member of this board and would like to attend, please click the above link to contact Board Staff.


4-Day NFIP Training on the Community Rating System

May 2-5, 2016, UNE Biddeford Campus

The Maine Floodplain Management Program is pleased to sponsor a course for the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. This is the same class conducted at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, MD.

Targeted at local and tribal government officials, regional planning officials, NFIP state staff, FEMA regional office staff, and others interested in learning about the CRS, this course describes activities eligible for credit under the 2013 CRS Coordinator’s Manual, how a community applies, and how a community modifies an application to improve its classification. The CRS Program underwent significant changes in 2013 and the updated CRS manual will be taught in this course.

For more information and to register for this course, click here.



Understanding the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA)

The following information was provided to us by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, Floodplain Management Program:

Background on the LiMWA
This document provides guidance to coastal municipalities on the optional changes needed to local floodplain zoning regulations or ordinances in order to incorporate the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA) zone found on revised coastal Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) panels. The LiMWA zone depicts the Coastal AE Zone with wave heights between 1.5 feet and 3.0 feet where VE Zone floodplain construction standards can be enforced at the discretion of the community. (See Figure 1 below.)


Currently in Maine, DFIRMs for coastal areas depict two types of flood zones: VE Zones where flood waters include wave heights of 3.0 feet or greater, and AE Zones where the wave height is less than 3.0 feet. VE Zones are also called Coastal High Hazard Areas, where traditionally high velocity wave action causes structural damage to building foundations and other building elements. It has long been recognized that waves less than 3.0 feet in height in the Coastal AE Zone can also cause major damage to shoreline structures. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has conducted laboratory tests and field investigations following hurricanes and storm events which confirm that severe damage is inflicted to structures located in Coastal AE Zones by waves as small as 1.5 feet in height. Typical AE Zone construction techniques (enclosed foundation with flood vents) are subject to damage when exposed to waves in this height range.

Previously, the Coastal AE Zone areas subject to wave heights between 1.5 feet and 3.0 feet were not differentiated from other AE Zones on DFIRMs. On December 3, 2008, FEMA issued Procedure Memorandum 50 which provided guidance on the identification and mapping of the landward limit of waves 1.5 feet in height, referred to as the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA), and determined that all new coastal studies will depict this boundary line on the DFIRMs. Beginning in 2015, if there are LiMWA boundary lines for your community, they will appear on coastal DFIRM panels in Maine. (See Figure 2 below)


The DACF/Floodplain Management Program has developed model LiMWA language that is optional and can be included in the local floodplain management ordinance if the community chooses to regulate construction in the LiMWA area to VE Zone building standards. At this time, FEMA does not impose floodplain management requirements or special insurance ratings based on the LiMWA delineations. The LiMWA is provided by FEMA for informational purposes only. Because the 1.5 feet breaking wave can potentially cause foundation failure, FEMA and the MFMP are encouraging coastal communities to consider adopting VE Zone building standards for new construction and substantial improvements within the LiMWA zone.

Please note: If your community has adopted the state building code, then you must enforce the LiMWA line as this requirement is in the IBC/IRC. The DACF/Floodplain Management Program will be working with you on amendments to your floodplain management ordinance.

Communities that are undergoing flood map updates that will become final in 2016 will receive customized model ordinances from the Maine Floodplain Management Program. If a community has any LiMWA lines on their FEMA map and has adopted the state building code, they will find language for Coastal AE Zones has been added for them. If they have any questions about the map update or the ordinance, they should contact the Maine Floodplain Management Program.

Click here to view FEMA Fact Sheet on LiMWAs.


Happy Presidents' Day!

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.
(History.com, 2015)


Land Surveying Tip of the Month

Apparent monumentation: make no assumptions!

No matter your level of experience as a real estate or land use consultant, when walking a site with a client, be careful about assuming the accuracy of the locations of monumentation and other markers you may find, such as wooden stakes, stones, iron pipes, steel rebar, flagging, etc.

These markers could be marking any number of things: an old easement, a right of way, the neighbor's corner, a proposed conveyance, or even where a dog was leashed! Even if they did mark a property corner at some point, there is no way to verify they were placed correctly or haven't been moved without doing more in-depth research.

sewer backup storm insurance image

The NFIP will pay for losses from land subsidence under certain circumstances. Subsidence of land along a lake shore or similar body of water that results from the erosion or undermining of the shoreline caused by waves or currents of water exceeding cyclical levels that result in a flood is covered. All other land subsidence is excluded.

Flood Insurance Q&A

Are losses from land subsidence, sewer backup, or seepage of water covered?

Unless there is a general condition of flooding in the area and the flood is the proximate cause of sewer or drain backup, sump pump discharge or overflow, or seepage of water, the NFIP does not insure for direct physical loss caused directly or indirectly by any of the following:
* Backups through sewers or drains;
* Discharges or overflows from a sump, a sump pump, or related equipment; or
* Seepage or leaks on or through the covered property.

(Answers to Questions About the NFIP, 2011)


February Flood Funny

el nino cartoon

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