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:

Maine NFIP Corner: "FEMA Issues Final Map Date for the Lower Penobscot River Watershed" and "Floodplain Management Education"
Real Estate Corner: "Dream Homes and Disasters: Is the Government Ready to Confront Climate Risk?" and "NAR: HUD Flood Insurance Rule Change a ‘Victory for Consumer Choice’"
In the News: "Flooding Is Nearly a Daily Occurrence Throughout the U.S." and "Federal Climate Forecasts Could Help Prepare for Extreme Rain. But it's Years Away"
Resources: "Risk Rating 2.0 – Equity in Action: What is Built and Covered" and "An Agent's Guide to Selling Flood Insurance"
Climate Corner: "Rising Sea Levels Mean Rising Groundwater, and that Spells Trouble for Coastal Septic Systems"

Banner Image: A Valentine's Day flood in the Coachella Valley in Palm Springs, Southern California, February 14, 2019. Image by Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun.


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

FEMA Issues Final Map Date for the Lower Penobscot River Watershed

On January 19th, FEMA issued a Letter of Final Determination (LFD) for updated flood maps in the Lower Penobscot River Watershed. The LFD sets the effective map date for July 19, 2023. During this 6 month period, there will be one or two outreach meetings within the project area. The Program is in the process of following up FEMA’s notice with a letter notifying all NFIP participating communities in the watershed that they must update the local floodplain management ordinance to bring it up to date with federal and state requirements, including a reference to the effective map date. The ordinance update must take place prior to July 19th. All communities that do not update the ordinance prior to this date will be subject to suspension from the NFIP on July 20th. During this 6 month period, we will be working closely with the communities to ensure that all remain in good standing with the NFIP. Our office will be providing customized model ordinances, adoption instructions and update sheets showing changes in the model ordinance since the last ordinance was adopted.

The following communities are subject to this notification: Bangor, Bradley, Brewer, Carmel, Clifton, Corinth, Dixmont, Eddington, Etna, Exeter, Glenburn, Hampden, Hermon, Holden, Kenduskeag, Levant, Milford, Newburgh, Old Town, Orono, Orrington, Plymouth, Stetson, and Veazie.

Please note that the Penobscot Nation does not participate in the NFIP, however, as part of this study, a Levee Analysis and Mapping Procedures (LAMP) was conducted for the levee on Indian Island and the associated outreach has been conducted with the Penobscot Nation through FEMA directly.


Floodplain Management Education

FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, MD has openings for the basic floodplain management class, E273: Managing Floodplain Development Through the NFIP for May 1-4 and August 28-31, 2023.

Click here for more information.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Dream Homes and Disasters: Is the Government Ready to Confront Climate Risk?

By: Zack Colman, Politico, November 25, 2022

Now, in the wake of disasters including the deadly Kentucky floods and Hurricane Ian, official Washington is openly wrestling with what to do about the hundreds of thousands of people who are living in areas that climate change is making too risky to inhabit.

It’s a question with implications far beyond those whose homes are endangered. If large numbers of communities are rendered undesirable because of their climate, local and regional real estate markets could tank. Expensive public infrastructure like water treatment systems and roads could be abandoned or become obsolete as people relocate. Heavy taxpayer spending is likely. Yet many experts say that proactively steering people away from places climate change is making nonviable will seem a bargain compared with the costs of rebuilding in the shadow of past and future disasters, floods and droughts.

Click here to read the full article.

NAR: HUD Flood Insurance Rule Change a ‘Victory for Consumer Choice’

By: Melissa Dittmann Tracey, National Association of Realtors, November 29, 2022

More homeowners in flood zones will soon have expanded options for flood insurance, potentially lowering costs dramatically. Starting Dec. 21, those with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration can get flood policies through private insurers. Previously, FHA home buyers—who are required to have flood insurance if their property is in a FEMA-designated flood area—had to obtain insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Click here to read the full article.


In the News

Flooding Is Nearly a Daily Occurrence Throughout the U.S.

By: Forbes Tompkins & Brian Watts, The Pew Charitable Trusts, December 15, 2022

Since 2000, at least one flood occurred in the U.S. on nearly 300 days per year, on average. The NOAA database also shows that all 50 states and the District of Columbia were affected by flooding in 2021. This ever-present risk underscores the need for comprehensive resilience planning that can help safeguard communities and the critical infrastructure they depend on daily, such as roadways, schools, and hospitals.

Click here to read the full article.


Image of recent flooding in the town of Planada, in the California Central Valley, where roads and infrastructure are unable to handle heavier rain storms. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Federal Climate Forecasts Could Help Prepare for Extreme Rain. But it's Years Away

By: Lauren Sommer, NPR, January 13, 2023

A new federal law could ensure that the country's roads and infrastructure are better able to withstand increasingly destructive storms.

The problem: the help won't be ready in time for the billions of dollars in infrastructure spending currently underway.

Click here to read the full article.




FEMA’s rating methodology Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action delivers rates that more accurately reflect flood risk.

Risk Rating 2.0 – Equity in Action: What is Built and Covered

This video discusses what is built and covered by reviewing a Building’s Replacement Cost Value, amounts of coverage available, as well as deductible choices. For more information on a building’s rating variables, see the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual.

Click here to watch the 10:03 video on YouTube.


An Agent's Guide to Selling Flood Insurance

FEMA and its NFIP have created this guide for both new and experienced agents. It will assist you with both understanding and communicating flood risk. It also provides valuable information about the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) and its coverage.

While this publication is designed for insurance agents, the information is helpful for any stakeholder wanting to learn more about the insurance component of the program. It covers types of flood sources, rate calculations, policy options, common misconceptions, and key talking points.

Click here to view a PDF of the 20-page guide.


Image from "How Do Septic Systems Pollute Coastal Watersheds" by Mara Dias, April 28, 2021. Click on the photo to open the article on the Surfrider Foundation website.

Climate Corner

Rising Sea Levels Mean Rising Groundwater, and that Spells Trouble for Coastal Septic Systems

Communities along the coast often have individual, on-site wastewater treatment systems, also called septic systems. In North Carolina alone, there are about one million homes with septic systems that are either on a coastline or are located in watersheds that drain into the ocean.

To operate effectively, coastal septic systems rely on unsaturated soils to filter wastewater and direct flow away from homes. But in some communities, the shallow groundwater table is rising, leaving homeowners in a precarious position.

Click here to read the full article.

Geological Society of America. "Rising sea levels mean rising groundwater, and that spells trouble for coastal septic systems." ScienceDaily, 11 October 2022.


February Flood Funny


Image by Jeff Parker, staff cartoonist of "Florida Today". Tropical Storm Fay made landfall in Florida August 19, 2008. (Weather.gov)

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