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
Maine NFIP Corner: A message from Sue Baker, the State NFIP Coordinator
In the News: "Pew-Led Network Helps States Plan for Rising Costs and Impacts of Flooding" and "'s March 2021 Preparedness Calendar Focuses on Spring and Flood Safety"
Resources: "Connect with the NFIP on LinkedIn!", "Know Your Role: Engineers, Surveyors, and Architects" and "National Flood Insurance Program’s Reinsurance Program"
Climate Corner: "Climate Change Has Caused Billions of Dollars in Flood Damages, According to Stanford Researchers"
NFIP Terminology: Addition
Real Estate Corner: "Home Sales Need Better Disclosure of Flood Risk, Experts Say"

Banner Image: A section of Highway 1 collapsed into the Pacific Ocean near Big Sur, California on Jan. 31, 2021, as a result of heavy downpours and mudslides. Credit: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images. Image from "A Surge From an Atmospheric River Drove California’s Latest Climate Extremes"


Message from Jim

The Great American Rail-Trail, a 3,700 mile bike trail which will traverse 12 states from Washington D.C. to Seattle, Washington, is now 53% complete. The trail is a wonderful statement of how to transform existing paths and former railroad beds into a climate-friendly travel option, which will benefit an estimated 50 million people living within 50 miles of the nationwide route. And as an added bonus - most railroad beds were elevated to mitigate flood risk!

When completed, 80% of the trail will be entirely separated from vehicular traffic, and will serve as a catalyst of economic development for many local and state economies. Kudos to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy! Founded in 1986, when just a handful of rail-trails dotted the landscape, the conservancy now has more than 24,000 miles of rail-trails crisscrossing the countryside with another 8,000 miles of rail-trails ready to be built.

Creating climate-friendly solutions for exercise and recreation, while providing opportunities for economic growth across the entire country - what a perfect way to think sustainably about the future!

Click here to learn more about the Great American Rail-Trail.


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

Maine Coastal Property Owner’s Guide to Erosion, Flooding, and other Hazards

The Maine Geological Survey has released the 2nd edition of the "Maine Coastal Property Owner’s Guide to Erosion, Flooding, and Other Hazards".

This edition provides new information to help educate coastal property owners on identifying features of the Maine coastline, their related hazards such as flooding and erosion, and based on the level of those hazards and property owner's interests, the potential mitigation and adaptation strategies to deal with those hazards.

Click here to download the new Property Owner's Guide.


In the News

Pew-Led Network Helps States Plan for Rising Costs and Impacts of Flooding

By Laura Lightbody and Sarah Edwards, The Pew Charitable Trusts, December 14, 2020

The Pew Charitable Trusts launched the State Resilience Planning Group (SRPG), a forum for officials from numerous states to collaborate on innovative practices and lessons learned as they develop and implement comprehensive resilience plans.

Since 2019, more than 10 states have tasked officials, through executive or legislative action, with coordinating across agencies and localities to identify strategies to better prepare communities for climate-related hazards.

This article shares the SRPG's focus on three cross-cutting areas: measuring resilience; identifying sources of funding and financing; and developing residential buyout strategies.

Click here to learn more.

ready's March 2021 Preparedness Calendar Focuses on Spring and Flood Safety

The Ready 2021 Preparedness Calendar is a planning tool that marks preparedness activities and provides customizable resources to help promote preparedness throughout the year. Adapt the materials to hazards that can impact your local area.

Click here to learn more about Spring and Flood Safety.



Connect with the NFIP on LinkedIn!

The NFIP's LinkedIn page is used to help advise, advocate, connect and grow the business of flood insurance by: (1) Being the premier resource for flood insurance educational information for current and prospective agents; (2) Joining conversations focused on improving the business of flood insurance; (3) Strengthening existing Industry partnerships and connecting with non-traditional partners such as non-profits serving vulnerable communities; and (4) Providing marketing resources to build trust with your clients and increase sales.

Click here to begin following the NFIP on LinkedIn.


The National Flood Hazard Layer is a computer database that contains FEMA’s flood hazard map data.

Know Your Role: Engineers, Surveyors, and Architects

Engineers, surveyors, and architects play an important role in updating flood hazard maps and providing data. This FEMA resource helps with understanding the Risk MAP program, the Letter Of Map Change (LOMC) process, and FEMA requirements and expectations for project submittals.

Click here to learn more.


National Flood Insurance Program’s Reinsurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Reinsurance Program helps FEMA manage the future exposure of the NFIP through the transfer of risk to private reinsurance companies and capital market investors. The NFIP Reinsurance Program promotes private sector participation in flood-risk management. By securing reinsurance at a fair and reasonable cost, FEMA has an additional method to fund payment of flood claims after catastrophic flood events.

Click here to learn more about reinsurance and how it works.

Read the FEMA press release announcing the 2021 reinsurance placement.


Climate Corner

Climate Change Has Caused Billions of Dollars in Flood Damages, According to Stanford Researchers

By Danielle Torrent Tucker, Stanford News, January 11, 2021

In a new study, Stanford researchers report that intensifying precipitation contributed one-third of the financial costs of flooding in the United States over the past three decades, totaling almost $75 billion of the estimated $199 billion in flood damages from 1988 to 2017.

The research, published Jan. 11 in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences", helps to resolve a long-standing debate about the role of climate change in the rising costs of flooding and provides new insight into the financial costs of global warming overall.

Click here to read the article.


NFIP Terminology: Addition

An addition is an improvement that increases the square footage of a structure. These include lateral additions added to the side or rear of a structure, vertical additions added on top of a structure and enclosures added underneath a structure. NFIP regulations for new construction apply to an addition that is considered to be a substantial improvement to a structure. Some states and communities require that all additions, regardless of their size, meet those requirements.

For more information on the Substantial Improvement rules, check out Unit 8 of FEMA's Floodplain Management Requirements.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Home Sales Need Better Disclosure of Flood Risk, Experts Say

By Thomas Frank, E&E News, February 2, 2021

A Federal Emergency Management Agency advisory panel says in a new report that prospective buyers cannot “make a fully informed decision” about whether to buy a property in states that do not require sellers to disclose flood history. The disclosure can help buyers determine whether a property has been previously damaged by flooding, is at risk of future flood damage and whether new owners should buy flood insurance.

“Though the real estate industry requires disclosure of anything that could affect a buyer’s decision to purchase ... seller disclosure as it pertains to flood risk is not adequate,” FEMA’s Technical Mapping Advisory Council said in its latest annual report. “This often results in a ’buyers beware’ scenario.”

Click here to read the full article.


March Flood Funny


Image by Alexandre Magnin

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