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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Jim Headshot

Message from Jim

Did you know that Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” may contain the first recorded association between April 1st and foolishness? The more common theories pertaining to this day of trickery has attachment to the transition from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar instituted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, moving New Year's Day to January 1st. Those who were reluctant to change and continued to use the old calendar system had jokes played on them. This logic is supported by Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus which celebrated New Year's Day on or around April 1st because it closely followed the vernal equinox.

Though other theories exist pertaining to the origin of April Fool’s Day, the NFIP changes being implemented on April 1, 2016 should not be considered a prank or a joke, as the program continues to slowly implement needed changes to strengthen the program for the future. Becoming familiar with these changes is extremely important. Click here to review the NFIP's summary of April 1st, 2016 changes.

jester

As we transition into these changes, it is worth noting the importance of Elevation Certificates. Benefits of this document are: determining eligibility for removal from the SFHA, proper rating by the insurance agent, regulation compliance, proper evaluation of risk and mitigation strategies, protecting asset value, enhancing life safety, and understanding program options for reducing insurance premiums.

Being a jester of sorts, I enjoy being adept at clownish activities, but did you know that jesters were also competent in using their wit as a tool to help diffuse tense situations at the royal court? Using education and a proactive attitude would perhaps be a jester’s best strategy to aid in reducing or eliminating stress of the program. Flood risk is not going away, and gaining comfort as we move forward is strongly recommended.

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Continuing Education Class - Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

"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, March 15, 2016, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (Optional follow-up discussion on upcoming insurance rate changes 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 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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MFMP

4-Day NFIP Training on the Community Rating System

Registrations still accepted until the end of this week!

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.

Thank You

We would like to take a moment to thank the Maine Board of REALTORS for inviting us to present "Flood Zone Mapping & Risk" to the Lincoln Board on February 24th, and also, thank you to Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution for inviting us to present to your organization on February 18th!

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Project Culvert Invert Windham

Tom Blake, PLS, CFM, of Nadeau Land Surveys, using GPS to measure the elevation of a culvert for a project in Windham, Maine.

Resources:

Letter of Map Revisions

Published with permission from author, Robert Gerber, P.E., C.G., P.G.

When FEMA adopts a new flood map, new properties may enter a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) for the first time. If there is a question about whether the map elevations do not reflect actual ground elevations, the first move is to retain a surveyor to prepare an Elevation Certificate. If the ground is higher than FEMA thought it was, a building may be able to be taken out of the flood zone with a relatively simple Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). If not, the other possible regulatory procedure to challenge the zone is to file an application for a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR). These are filed with FEMA’s national LOMC Clearing House.

There are several ways to challenge a Preliminary or Effective map. The three most common ways are: 1) find a mistake in FEMA’s calculations; 2) develop more detailed ground or bathymetric data to use in modeling; and/or 3) use a more sophisticated modeling approach. When there are no mistakes and gathering more topographic data does not work, a new modeling approach may work. This can be expensive and time consuming. The final application that relies on new modeling must be certified by a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) and be based on FEMA-approved models and FEMA’s approved Guidelines and Specifications. If a levee, riprap wall, or other structural measure is required to prevent flood waters from reaching a building of concern, the structure must be certified by a P.E.

Realize that obtaining a LOMR is not easy. Here is a realistic process and timeline: 1) up to 3 months to prepare a complex application; 2) obtain municipal approval to file the application; 3) publish legal notices in newspapers and send notices to abutters; 4) FEMA may take up to 2 months to review the application; 5) FEMA issues its first Request for more Information (RFI) and gives the applicant 30 days to respond; 6) FEMA may take another 60 days to review the submittal and then may issue another RFI; 7) applicant submits response to second RFI in 30 days; 8) FEMA issues a Letter of Resolution within 60 days after the last RFI is responded to; 9) all parties have 30 days to comment on the Letter of Resolution; 10) FEMA publishes legal notices advertising a final 90-day appeal period; 11) if no significant appeals are raised, FEMA issues the Letter of Final Determination (LFD) and the change becomes Effective.

Do the math: allow a year to get a LOMR, assuming it is even possible to do so. Besides the fees you pay to surveyors and engineers to prepare and defend the LOMR application, when fill or structures are involved, FEMA may charge significant review fees. The cost of a LOMR is much more than the cost of a LOMA. LOMRs are issued with respect to a specific parcel; however, a municipality may file a LOMR covering many properties. If the municipal LOMR covers a large area, the process may be called a Physical Map Revision (PMR) and take even longer to process.

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In the News

Builders Confront Climate Change

By Brenda Richardson, The Chicago Tribune, February 17, 2016
"A movement in the home-building industry to adapt to risks of climate change is gaining momentum, promising new houses that are tougher and more able to bounce back from extreme weather events...A 2014 climate change survey by Munich Reinsurance America, a major provider of property and casualty reinsurance, found that 63 percent of Americans plan to fortify or have already fortified their homes to protect themselves from severe weather events. Forty-seven percent would consider moving away from hazard-prone areas, and a similar portion have purchased or plan to buy an additional insurance policy, such as flood or earthquake insurance."
Read more!

weights

On the left are Gurley Liquid Capacity Measures. W. & L.E. Gurley of Troy, NY produced Engineering Instruments and Standard Weights and Measures. On the right is the Portable Balance in its original wooden case. It was designed for sealers to travel store to store to inspect the weights of each merchant's product.

On this day...in 1799

The first federal weights and measures law was signed by President John Adams

Digital History's annotation of then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams' "Report Upon Weights and Measures", 1821:

"[Adams] recognized the strengths of the metric system, but recommended against it. Adams argued in behalf of the English system of weights and measures, in part because it had been perfected by hundreds of years of practical experience and partly because it used units of measurement based on the human body. An inch, Adams noted, was about the length of a knuckle; a yard represented the length of an extended arm; and a mile represented the distance the ground remained visible before it passed over the horizon (which is why a mile was sometimes called an "eye"). All that government should do, in Adams's view, was to ensure the accuracy and uniformity of customary measurements."

The artifacts in the above image are currently showcased in the History Barn, curated by our own Tom Blake for the New Gloucester Historical Society.

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Food For Thought

insurance vs disaster

("Benefits of Flood Insurance vs Disaster Assistance", FEMA, 2012)

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March Flood Funny

climate-change-cartoon

Cartoon by Dave Granlund. From "Climate Change Checkup"

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