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NFIP Flood Insurance Study Updates
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is continuing its program to update the nation's Flood Insurance Studies (FIS) and floodplain maps. Most FIS are at least twenty years old and do not reflect changes in a community's land use. Additionally, more and better precipitation or stream flow data may be available to refine the estimated flood flow discharges, and improvements in engineering technology can improve the accuracy and reliability of flood flow discharges.
There are presently two FEMA programs in place to update studies and maps, Map Modernization and RiskMap:
The first program is called Map Modernization (commonly referred to as Map Mod). This program initiated the standard practice of preparing FIS in a county-wide format. Previously, FIS were prepared for individual communities, and the flood hazard area boundaries often did not align at common boundaries if the flood studies were performed by different firms at different times. The countywide format ensures that flood hazard area boundaries match at corporate limits, and at borders with adjacent counties.
Another feature of Map Mod is the practice of preparing floodplain maps (officially known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps or FIRMs) in digital format (digital FIRMs or DFIRMs) so they can be viewed and downloaded from FEMA's website. Previously, paper copies of floodplain maps had to be purchased by mail order. FIRMs are also prepared over an aerial photo backdrop, often showing individual homes, making it much easier to interpret the location of structures (such as homes and businesses) relative to the flood hazard area boundary.
The Map Mod program began in the early 2000s and is nearing completion.
FEMA's newest floodplain mapping program is called Risk MAP, which stands for Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning. The RiskMAP program includes all the features and benefits of Map Mod, and adds several useful map products for non-regulatory purposes.
The additional maps include flood hazard maps for more likely flood events (such as the 10-percent annual chance flood, or "10-year flood") and inundation maps showing the maximum flood water depth during the 1-percent annual chance ("100-year") flood event.
These and other RiskMAP products are useful tools for Emergency Managers and are informative resources on the hazards of flood inundation for a community's residents and business owners.
Two other significant new benefits of the RiskMap program are the focus on Public Outreach and on flood hazard mitigation planning. From the beginning of a project, community leaders, residents, and business owners are encouraged to begin thinking of ways to minimize the risk of flooding, and FEMA will provide assistance in applying for grant funding for feasible mitigation projects.
Status of Michigan Countywide Studies
Click to see a map summarizing the status of FIS and DFIRM updates for Michigan counties. The status report includes both Map Mod and RiskMAP programs.
Counties described as "Effective" have a revised FIS and revised FIRMs now in effect (or will be become effective soon). The effective date of the revised study and maps is shown. Counties described as "Preliminary" have had a preliminary version of the updated study and maps sent to them for review and comment. The effective date of the study and maps varies, but is typically 12 to 24 months after the preliminary date. Counties described as "In progress" have not yet been issued preliminary products. Counties described as "Not Planned" are not included in the Map Mod or RiskMAP programs at this time. The status report will be updated periodically as warranted.
The DFIRMs and FISs for counties with preliminary and effective maps are available for viewing and purchase at FEMA's Map Service Center (https://msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FemaWelcomeView?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1).
The DEQ is actively participating with FEMA in these efforts through the Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Program. The DEQ is playing an integral role in the mapping program by performing studies, reviewing studies prepared by others, and overseeing the mapping effort in Michigan. You can read more about the status of FEMA's FIS update efforts at http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-flood-hazard-mapping.
FEMA distributes final FIS and FIRMs six months before the effective date. Once the communities within the county have received their final documents, each will need to consider formal adoption of the new maps to maintain their status as a participating community, or to become eligible to participate in the NFIP. The DEQ has developed model documents for communities to use for the adoption process. These documents and further discussion can be viewed and accessed on the NFIP Map Modernization Map Adoption page.
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