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!

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe link in the footer of this message.


In this Issue of Welcome to the Flood Zone:

Message from Jim
Maine NFIP Corner: "Study: Maine is a Leader in New England When it Comes to Preparing for Climate Change"
Real Estate Corner: "Florida Lawmakers Force Homeowners to Buy Flood Insurance"
In the News: "Puerto Rico's Shoreline Changes after Hurricane Maria Heighten Coastal Flooding Risk for Residents", "America Underwater: Extreme Floods Expose the Flaws in FEMA’s Risk Maps" and "American Rivers’ Report Analyzes Demand for Floodplain Easements"
Resources: "Permit for Floodplain Development" and "FEMA Flood Risk Communication Toolkit for Community Officials"

Banner Image: Winter storm flooding in Nantucket, January 2022. Image by Griffin Fox.


Message from Jim

Several years ago, my staff and I discussed what it would be like if flood insurance was required for all properties regardless of whether or not they were in a Special Flood Hazard Area (Zone A or V), similar to taxation based on value, but with an appropriate adjustment made for flood risk. Recently, the State of Florida legislature approved a bill requiring all policyholders of their state-run largest insurer, Citizens Property Insurance, to have flood insurance regardless of being in a flood zone. And in March 2021, FEMA published that, "More than 40% of NFIP claims in the last five years come from outside the high-risk area" (FEMA, 2021). What purpose does having insurance requirements based on the flood maps serve, if inevitably, 50% of insurance claims could be outside of the flood zone? The time is upon us to strongly consider expanding flood insurance requirements that strengthen the NFIP and offer greater protection to property owners. Of course, we can probably predict some of the challenges this will create.

Many proponents of limiting flood disclosure within a real estate transaction will likely also have difficulty with required flood insurance for all, regardless of location, due to the perceived impacts on sale value. But it is time to recognize that the concept of "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware) has long run its course. Buyers are at a large disadvantage without proper disclosure. One possible solution could be to include a flood insurance premium as part of the PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) mortgage payment to appropriately adjust value. Another option could be to combine flood and homeowners insurance together to streamline damage assessment. Either way, the seller and both agents may continue to benefit from a higher sale value, but until buyers are no longer overpaying for a property with adequate flood risk, that flood risk will never be appropriately evaluated.

Thankfully, Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action, the new insurance rating methodology which leverages industry best practices and cutting-edge technology, does offer an opportunity for improved evaluation since more risk variables are being considered in premium calculations. In time, property owners will better understand that flood risk is not simply being in or out. A changing climate, continued coastal development, and loss of coastal wetlands, among other factors, increases the potential for claims outside of the flood zone. Taxpayers will either pay now in the form of insurance, or pay later in the form of damage recovery. How we address flood risk must adapt to the hazards we face.

To quote Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

“Myths and Facts about Flood Insurance”,, March 26, 2021


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

Study: Maine is a Leader in New England When it Comes to Preparing for Climate Change

By: Lisa Prevost, Energy News Network, December 5, 2022

Maine is making the fastest strides among New England states in preparing for climate change, according to a new analysis.

The report is the work of two fellows at the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute who took on a project proposed by the Union of Concerned Scientists. That organization wanted to evaluate the region’s climate progress using its own framework for measuring what it calls the “resilience gap,” or the extent to which communities remain unprepared for climate-change-driven conditions.

At the state level, the report noted that even though Maine only began to prioritize action on climate change after the election of Gov. Janet Mills in 2019, it has since demonstrated “a serious commitment … backed by political will at the state level and a progressive vision for climate resilience at the community and state level.” The state is ahead of schedule in reaching its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, according to a recent state report.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to view a PDF of the "New England State Climate Action Assessment Using the UCS Resilience Gap Framework - Final Report" from the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Florida Lawmakers Force Homeowners to Buy Flood Insurance

By: Thomas Frank, E&E News, December 15, 2022

Hundreds of thousands of Florida property owners face requirements to buy flood insurance under a precedent-setting bill approved Wednesday by the state Legislature. It’s the first mandate of its kind in the country.

The requirement applies to properties across the state, regardless of whether they are in high-risk flood zones and will cost some homeowners thousands of dollars a year.

The bill was approved two months after Hurricane Ian caused catastrophic damage in parts of Florida where almost no one has flood coverage (Climatewire, Oct. 1). Supporters say the requirement could protect people whose homes are damaged by storms from financial ruin because flood coverage is generally not included in standard homeowners’ insurance policies.

Click here to read the full article.


In the News


Debris and destroyed homes line the beach at La Boca, in north-central Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria shrunk the beach from a wide, flat expanse of sand to a narrow one, making the waterfront homes vulnerable to storms. Then, another storm battered the homes and wore away their foundations. Photo Credit: Irina Zhorov/The World, 9/19/2018

Puerto Rico's Shoreline Changes after Hurricane Maria Heighten Coastal Flooding Risk for Residents

By: Nicole Acevedo, NBC News, December 12, 2022

An estimated 99 kilometers (62 miles) of Puerto Rico's shoreline has moved inland as of July 2018, according to a recent report by the Coastal Research and Planning Institute of Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria, a strong Category 4 hurricane, made landfall on Sept. 20, 2017, devastating the U.S. territory.

Click here to read the article.

America Underwater: Extreme Floods Expose the Flaws in FEMA’s Risk Maps

By: Samuel Oakford, John Muyskens, Sarah Cahlan and Joyce Sohyun Lee, The Washington Post, December 6, 2022

This multimedia publication shares stories from many who have been impacted by severe flooding in areas not designated as high risk according to FEMA's flood maps. It is clear there are shortcomings when it comes to mapping current conditions, especially in the face of climate change. If ever there was a case for understanding your risk regardless of whether you're in a Special Flood Hazard Area or not, this is it.

Click here to view the article.


Image from ASFPM, 2022

American Rivers’ Report Analyzes Demand for Floodplain Easements

By: News Editor, ASFPM, December 13, 2022

Significant new investments are needed in the Upper Mississippi River Basin to reduce agricultural damages from flooding, according to The Multiple Benefits of Floodplain Easements (a new report from American Rivers.) In the five Upper Mississippi River Basin states — Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin — flooding is the most frequent and widespread cause of crop damage. Over the past decade, flood-related agricultural damages in the five Upper Mississippi River Basin states have exceeded $8 billion, while flood prevention funding over that same time was only $267 million.

The report calls for expanding the use of the USDA floodplain easement program to not only reduce long-term flood damages, but also address other environmental and economic issues in the region.

Click here to read the full article.



Permit for Floodplain Development

A permit is required before construction or development begins within any Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

If FEMA has not defined the SFHA within a community, the community shall require permits for all proposed construction or other development in the community including the placement of manufactured homes, so that it may determine whether such construction or other development is proposed within flood-prone areas. Permits are required to ensure that proposed development projects meet the requirements of the NFIP and the community's floodplain management ordinance.


A community must also review all proposed developments to assure that all necessary permits have been received from those governmental agencies from which approval is required by federal or state law.

Click here to view a PDF of Unit 5 from the NFIP Floodplain Management Requirements manual, (FEMA-480).

For our Maine communities, check out "Floodplain Ordinances & Permit Forms" from the Maine Floodplain Management Program website.


This Flood Risk Communication Toolkit is designed to help community officials talk with the public about flood risk.

FEMA Flood Risk Communication Toolkit for Community Officials

The Start Guide introduces the Toolkit’s components, which were developed to help community officials begin and maintain an open channel for flood risk communication. The Toolkit includes templates and guides for designing an overarching communication plan, effective public meetings, and a social media strategy for addressing flood risk as well as story maps and videos to visually communicate the objectives of updating the community’s flood risk data and maps. You can deploy it during a flood map update or when your community uses flood risk data to plan mitigation efforts to protect residents and investments.

Click here to download a PDF of the 6-page toolkit Start Guide

Click here to access the toolkit's resources on FEMA's website.


January Land Surveying Funny

survey funny
Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company