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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 Region 1 Pending vs Effective NFHL Tool for Lower Penobscot Watershed", "FEMA Region I – Flood Map Updates Guide", and "How much do you know about the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS)"
Real Estate Corner: "Buying Out Threatened Oceanfront Homes is Not a Crazy Idea"
In the News: "Flood Insurance Rates Will Soar in Some Areas, FEMA Says" and "Landlords Will Soon Have to Inform Tenants About Flood Risks"
Resources: "Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources", "Vertical Datum – Earth’s Elevation Reference Frame" and "What is a Living Shoreline?"
Climate Corner: "Study Finds Record-breaking Rates of Sea-level Rise Along the U.S. Southeast and Gulf Coasts"

Banner Image: Flooding at LeClaire Park in Davenport, Iowa. From the National Weather Service 2023 Spring Flood Outlook.


Message from Jim

Shouting out a big “Thank You!” to the Rhode Island Society of Land Surveyors for allowing me the opportunity to present next Thursday, June 15th, our new and improved Value Based Fees: How to Charge What You're Worth + Professional Documents Discussion, and Changing the Role of a Land Surveyor in the NFIP. We presented these topics to the Vermont Society of Land Surveyors last fall and are again excited to engage in conversation with other land surveyors.


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

FEMA Region 1 Pending vs Effective NFHL Tool for Lower Penobscot Watershed

FEMA Region I has created a swipe tool that can be used to show the current flood hazard area compared to the pending new map. Currently this information is available for the Lower Penobscot River watershed only. The new flood maps in this area will go effective on July 19, 2023. The digitized effective maps should not be used for flood hazard determinations or permitting as there are data limitations. It can be used for a cursory look at how the map may be changing in a particular area.

Click here to access the swipe tool.


FEMA Region I – Flood Map Updates Guide

The regional office has also created a story map that illustrates the map update process under the FEMA RiskMap program. This is a great resource for community officials, real estate professionals, and residents.

Click here to view the FEMA Region 1 - Flood Map Updates Guide. (2-22-2023)

How much do you know about the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS)?

The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) is a flood standard that aims to build a more resilient future. As stated in Section 1 of Executive Order 13690, “It is the policy of the United States to improve the resilience of communities and federal assets against the impacts of flooding. These impacts are anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats. Losses caused by flooding affect the environment, our economic prosperity, and public health and safety, each of which affects our national security.”

It requires agencies to prepare for and protect federally funded buildings and projects from flood risks and to mitigate potential future flood risks. In a nutshell, this means that projects in the flood hazard area that are funded by federal money must meet a higher standard than that shown in the local floodplain management ordinance.

For more information on the FFRMS, please visit FEMA's Federal Flood Risk Management Standard webpage.


Debris from a collapsed unoccupied house on Ocean Drive in Rodanthe in May 2022. Photo: National Park Service

Real Estate Corner

Buying Out Threatened Oceanfront Homes is Not a Crazy Idea

By: Rob Young, CoastalReview.org, May 15, 2023

The oceanfront shoreline of Rodanthe has one of the highest erosion rates on the U.S. East Coast (recently upwards of 20 feet per year). Many homes that were initially constructed well back from the beach are now at risk of constant flooding and imminent collapse. A typical response to this erosion in Dare County (and most coastal communities) would be the implementation of a beach nourishment project. It is unclear whether this is practical for Rodanthe, as the geologic setting is problematic.

Click here to read the full article.


In the News

Flood Insurance Rates Will Soar in Some Areas, FEMA Says

By: Thomas Frank, E&E News, May 10, 2023

Homeowners in the nation’s most flood-prone areas are facing huge price increases for flood insurance that could cause hundreds of thousands of people to cancel their policies and risk financial ruin if their home is flooded.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the United States’ largest flood insurance program, recently published projections showing that its premiums are on track to jump by thousands of dollars a year in some areas.

Click here to read the full article.


Residential buildings along the East River in Harlem sit in a flood zone. Image by: Hiram Alejandro Durán/THE CITY

Landlords Will Soon Have to Inform Tenants About Flood Risks

By: Samantha Maldonado, The City, May 30 2023

Starting June 21, rental leases across New York State must include information on whether a property is in a floodplain or has experienced damage due to flooding in the past, along with the typical details about subletting, lead-based paint and security deposits.

The requirement stems from a bill Gov. Kathy Hochul signed last year that aims to provide renters with more transparency before they sign a lease.

The disclosure law could be of particular significance in New York City, where about two-thirds of households rent and developers continue to build housing in floodplains.

Click here to read the full article.




Learn what types of wind and water hazards could happen where you live. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Impacts from wind and water can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and significant impacts can occur regardless of the storm’s strength. Know if you live in an area prone to flooding, if you live in an evacuation zone, and identify any structural weaknesses in your home. Click on the photo to learn more (NOAA, 2023)

Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources

Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena. On average, 12 tropical storms, 6 of which become hurricanes, form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year.

Click here to learn more from the National Weather Service.

Also check out:

NOAA Predicts a Near-normal 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Reminds Citizens To Prepare As Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins


Variations in wind, currents, and topography of the sea bed means that the sea is not level, and may be higher in some areas than in others. Taking this into account, the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) is based on an adjustment of leveling observations from across the country.

Vertical Datum – Earth’s Elevation Reference Frame

By: GISGeography, May 29, 2022

When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assesses the possibility of a 100-year flood and states that floodwaters will rise 25 feet, what exactly is “25 feet” referenced to?

We need a consistent starting point to compare flood and ground elevations. Enter the vertical datum.

Surveyors, geodesists, and insurers use the vertical datum as a surface of zero elevation to which heights can be referred.

Click here to learn more!

living shoreline

A living shoreline project at the Trinity Center in Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina. Credit: North Carolina Coastal Federation. (NOAA Fisheries, 2022)

What is a Living Shoreline?

A living shoreline is a protected, stabilized coastal edge made of natural materials such as plants, sand, or rock. Unlike a concrete seawall or other hard structure, which impede the growth of plants and animals, living shorelines grow over time.

Natural infrastructure solutions like living shorelines provide wildlife habitat, as well as natural resilience to communities near the waterfront. Living shorelines are sometimes referred to as nature-based, green, or soft shorelines. They are an innovative and cost-effective technique for coastal management.

Click here to learn more from NOAA Fisheries.


Climate Corner

Study Finds Record-breaking Rates of Sea-level Rise Along the U.S. Southeast and Gulf Coasts

By: Tulane University, Phys.org, April 10, 2023

Sea levels along the U.S. Southeast and Gulf coasts have been rapidly accelerating, reaching record-breaking rates over the past 12 years, according to a new study led by scientists at Tulane University.

Click here to read the full article.


June Flood Funny


Image by Dave Granlund

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