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: A message from Sue Baker, the State NFIP Coordinator, "Eight Maine Communities Selected for Local Climate Change Planning Projects"
In the News: "Tulsa's Jazz-Style Evolution on Flood Control Shows Importance of Collaboration: Study"
Resources: "FEMA's Flood Risk Products"
NFIP Terminology: "Floodproofing Certificate"
Climate Corner: "'Managed Retreat' from Climate Disasters Can Reinvent Cities So They're Better for Everyone - and Avoid More Flooding, Heat and Fires"
Real Estate Corner: "The Climate Real Estate Bubble: Is the U.S. on the Verge of Another Financial Crisis?"

Banner Image: An American flag hangs above floodwaters in the Midwest (U.S. National Archives, 1993)


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

Eight Maine Communities Selected for Local Climate Change Planning Projects

Maine.gov, June 1, 2021

Eight Maine communities have been selected to participate in pilot projects for local climate resilience planning, to help them prepare for effects of climate change and develop climate planning models for towns and cities in Maine.

“With increasing storm events, droughts, and rising sea levels, Maine’s climate action plan calls for empowering communities to help them become more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Hannah Pingree, Director, Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, and co-chair, Maine Climate Council. “The partnerships behind this pilot project will help inform the state as it seeks to increase both funding and technical assistance to support crucial resilience planning for Maine’s cities and towns.”

Click here to learn more!


In the News

Tulsa's Jazz-Style Evolution on Flood Control Shows Importance of Collaboration: Study

By: University of Kansas, EurekAlert!, June 21, 2021

Tulsa may not be the first town one thinks of when talking about jazz, and flood management may not be the first vocation one compares to the musical genre. But the success Tulsa displayed in going from one of the nation's most flood-prone cities to a nationally recognized model of long-term risk reduction in just two decades is analogous to the evolution of one of the most American styles of music, a University of Kansas professor points out in a new study.

Tulsa, the second-largest city in Oklahoma, suffered several devastating floods in the 1970s and 1980s, then became a national model for flood mitigation by the 1990s. What hasn't been studied closely is how a group of engineers, planners, government officials, journalists, attorneys and citizens came together as a network of champions that adapted and evolved over a period of decades.

Click here to read the full article.




The above image is an example of a "Changes Since Last FIRM Flood Risk Product". Since many years may pass before a FIRM is updated and republished with a new effective date, tools like this can help people understand what changes have occurred since the last one was published.

FEMA's Flood Risk Products

Most communities are familiar with using Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), or flood maps, to guide sound floodplain management decisions. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also created Flood Risk Products to be used alongside regulatory products like FIRMs.

Flood Risk Products are nonregulatory, ready-made sources of additional information that go beyond the basic flood hazard information on the FIRM and provide more extensive and more user-friendly information. Flood Risk Products can help communities make better and more effective mitigation decisions. Flood Risk Products include the Flood Risk Database, Flood Risk Map, and Flood Risk Report.

FEMA’s Flood Risk Products have a wide variety of uses for a diverse group of stakeholders, including individual property owners, insurance agents, lenders, real estate agents, elected officials, community staff, and engineering or technical staff. Flood Risk Products can be used to:

• Improve risk communication and outreach to the public
• Visualize flood risk
• Increase understanding of why flood zones have changed.

Click here to learn more about FEMA's Flood Risk Products.

floodproofing cert

NFIP Terminology: Floodproofing Certificate

Under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the floodproofing of non-residential buildings may be permitted as an alternative to elevating to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) (NFIP 2015).

Completed by an engineer or architect, a Floodproofing Certificate shows that the methods of construction are in accordance with accepted practices for meeting the floodproofing requirements in the community's floodplain management ordinance. This documentation is required for both floodplain management requirements and insurance rating purposes

For insurance rating purposes, a building's floodproofed design elevation must be at least one foot above the BFE to receive full rating credit for the floodproofing. If the building is floodproofed only to the BFE, the flood insurance rates will be considerably higher. (FEMA, 2020)


Climate Corner

'Managed Retreat' from Climate Disasters Can Reinvent Cities So They're Better for Everyone - and Avoid More Flooding, Heat and Fires

By: A.R. Siders and Katharine Mach, The Conversation, June 21, 2021

June’s record-breaking heat wave left more than 40 million Americans sweltering in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Some places reached 120 F, and energy grids were struggling to keep people cool. More than half the Western U.S. is now in extreme or exceptional drought, wildfires are already menacing homes, and hurricane season is off to another busy start.

This is what climate change looks like, and communities need to be prepared.

Sometimes small adaptations can help reduce the heat or minimize the damage. But when the risks get too high, one strategy that has to be considered is managed retreat – the purposeful movement of people, buildings and other infrastructure away from highly hazardous places.

Managed retreat is controversial, particularly in the United States, but it isn’t just about moving – it’s about adapting to change and building communities that are safer, addressing long-overlooked needs and incorporating new technologies and thoughtful design for living and working in today’s world.

Click here to read the full article.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

The Climate Real Estate Bubble: Is the U.S. on the Verge of Another Financial Crisis?

By: Justin Worland, TIME, April 19, 2021

...Zimmerman couldn’t fathom rebuilding when she knew the home would flood again, and selling it to a flipper felt wrong, because eventually it would just end up in the hands of another unsuspecting buyer enticed by a newly refurbished home. So she began the long process of trying to unload the property in a manner that she considered ethical. She unsuccessfully pursued a government program that buys out homes prone to flooding, and even explored razing the home herself, but abandoned that idea when she realized she would have to settle the mortgage, take out a loan to tear down the house and still pay taxes for the vacant lot. Defeated, she let it go into foreclosure.

It was all in vain: today, the home, owned by Fannie Mae, is listed for sale. The walls—on which Zimmerman had painted warnings like mold in walls—have been painted over, and a local broker’s listing offers no mention of a flooding problem.

Click here to read the full article.


July Flood Funny

comic waders1

Image by Nate Xopher, Environmental Monitor

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