Floodplain Management is loosely defined to include all actions that states and communities can take to reduce flood damage to both new and existing buildings and infrastructures. ADECA's OWR Floodplain Management Unit works closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local communities to build relationships to strengthen their mitigation plans and take action to better protect their residents and to reduce flood risk in communities through flood studies and flood mapping.
To enable local governments, individuals and engineers to better serve their communities, we have provided you with information about Risk MAP, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and LOMR (Letter of Map Revision) programs.
We encourage you to use the "Am I in the Floodplain?" address locator to determine if a property is located within the floodplain. In addition, the County Status link will provide you with an informative summary of your community's mapping status as well as access to your community's current flood maps.
FEMA’s Risk MAP builds on the success of flood map modernization. It emphasizes a broader, more holistic approach to perform engineering and mapping analyses on a watershed basis and encourages work across community boundaries and a more comprehensive understanding of flooding.
Risk MAP is characterized by a full alignment of FEMA’s programs – discovering local needs, mapping with better data, working with community representatives in assessing risk and vulnerability – with planning and mitigation considerations throughout.
Alabama’s Floodplain Management Program has benefited from a strong partnership with FEMA in updating flood maps and assisting local communities. Since partnering with FEMA in 2003 to conduct flood studies and create flood maps, we have successfully completed studies and digitally mapped all 67 counties, studying over 1,050 miles of streams using detail methods and 30,000 miles of streams using approximate methods. The additional information gained and increased accuracy of the existing information has allowed the Floodplain Management Program to become a better partner with local developers, state emergency management agencies and first responders.
Note: For documents and links related to Risk MAP, coastal updates and more, click here.
The Alabama Flood Risk Information System (AL FRIS) is a new interactive flood mapping application currently under development. During the transition to this site, certain user-defined capabilities will be limited, but the flood maps will continue to be accessible for viewing. As always, verifying of all information through official sources is the responsibility of the user. Please contact Phillip.Hicks@adeca.alabama.gov if you need assistance accessing models or flood study data.
Click here to access the AL FRIS website.
FEMA has revised its appeal policy to expand the due process procedures currently provided for new or modified Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) and base flood depths to other new or modified flood hazard information shown on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), including the addition or modification of any Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundary or zone designation, or regulatory floodway. If you have received notice that the flood hazard information in your area has changed please visit the interactive flood map application to see how your property may be impacted.
The County Status application provides the latest digital data and flood maps that are available to view, download and print. Information is also available on community meeting dates, current proposed map changes and products delivered to the communities. This information is provided to keep local communities and residents up-to-date with the available tools and resources for identifying, assessing and planning for flood risk.
To view and print FIRM panels or Flood Insurance Study reports, click here or click the image to the left.
To download current effective study information/data or to print a FIRMette visit the FEMA Map Service Center.
One of the most important components of maintaining flood data is the continuous incorporation of changes to special flood hazard areas caused by development or other physical changes in the floodplain. In 2010 FEMA selected our program to process Letters of Map Revision (LOMR) applications. With this program we are able to provide local resources to work with engineers and developers to get requested map changes through the approval process. We provide training sessions throughout the state for developers, engineers, and local communities to help them understand the process and the data needed to keep cases from experiencing delays. Having local resources to review the cases provides a more collaborative environment for the LOMR process. This collaborative environment leads to more cooperation between developers, local communities, the state and FEMA.
For more information on this initiative, we encourage you to visit the FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping website.
For more information on Letters of Map Revision from FEMA, click here.
Click here to download LOMR (MT-2) Instructions and Application
LOMR Processing Fee Information
The following links are FEMA tutorials on applying for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) and applying for a Letter of Map Revisions based on Fill (LOMR-F):
LOMA | LOMR-F
LOMR Application Status
The U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The federal program enables property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance as a protection against flood losses in exchange for community floodplain management regulations that reduce future flood damages. Buildings constructed in compliance with the program's building standards suffer approximately 80 percent less damage annually than those not built in compliance.
Community participation in the program is voluntary. If a community adopts and enforces a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risk, the federal government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses. This insurance is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to reduce the escalating costs of repairing flood damage to buildings and their contents. Currently, 427 communities are participating in the National Flood Insurance Program in Alabama with the Floodplain Management Unit coordinating the program for the state. Alabama currently has more than 58,500 NFIP policies providing over $12.3 billion in coverage.
The NFIP was, by statute and design, not actuarially sound. Specifically, 20 percent of policyholders, including many of the NFIP’s highest risk structures, paid premiums that were less than actuarially sound and the government was subsidizing on average 60 percent of the loss. This resulted, in large part, when homes and businesses that were constructed prior to a community joining the NFIP could remain as they were and not comply with NFIP building standards. Owners of many of these older properties were eligible to obtain insurance at lower, subsidized rates that did not reflect the property’s true flood risk. In addition, as the initial flood risk identified by the NFIP has been updated, many homes and businesses that had been built in compliance with existing standards have received discounted rates in areas where the risk of flood was revised. This "Grandfathering” approach prevented rate increases for existing properties when the flood risk in their area increased. After 45 years since its establishment, in 2012 Congress passed legislation to make the NFIP more sustainable and financially sound over the long term.
In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 which calls on FEMA and other agencies to make a number of changes to the way the NFIP is run. As of October 1, 2013 most of these changes have already been put in place, and others will be implemented at some time in the future. Key provisions of the legislation required the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable, and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders. The changes will mean premium rate increases for some -- but not all -- policyholders over time.
On March 21, 2014, President Obama signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 into law. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is in the process of implementing Congressionally mandated reforms required by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA) that repeal and modify the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters).
The new law slows some flood insurance rate increases and offers relief to some policyholders who experienced steep flood insurance premium increases in 2013 and early 2014. Flood insurance rates and other charges will be revised for new or existing policies beginning on April 1, 2015. In addition to insurance rates, other changes resulting from Biggert-Waters and HFIAA will be implemented that will affect the total amount a policyholder pays for a flood insurance policy. Highlights of some of those changes follow. For full explanations and guidance, see WYO Bulletin (W-14053) and the Flood Insurance Manual.
The changes taking place in April 2015 include an increase in the Reserve Fund Assessment, the implementation of an annual surcharge on all new and renewed policies, an additional deductible option, an increase in the Federal Policy Fee, and rate increases for most policies. Key changes can be found in the Fact Sheet for the April 2015 Program Changes here.
Note: For documents concerning the NFIP and CRS programs, Homeowner’s Flood Insurance Affordability Act and more, click here.
NFIP Recent News and Updates
Alabama Flood Advisory & NFIP Plain Talk Newsletter - summer 2014 edition
NFIP and Floodplain Management Publications for Alabama Citizens and Local Officials
New: A guidance document was developed by the Alabama OWR Floodplain Management Unit to assist local Floodplain Administrators with pre-event preparedness planning tips, guidance for development of response and recovery procedures, and responsibilities during the post-disaster period. A discussion of how to determine mitigation opportunities for flood hazard reduction is also provided. Click the “Post-Flood Recovery Guidebook” image for a digital copy of the guide.
Click here for the appendices.
Click the "Quick Guide" image for a guide that will help you understand more about why and how Alabama communities manage floodplains.
ADECA's Office of Water Resources began an effort in 2008 to develop an inventory of the number of dams in Alabama and to classify those dams in regard to their hazard potential. Hazard potential does not reflect the condition of the dam, but identifies the potential consequences of dam failure. Once established, the program will provide an up-to-date inventory of dams in the state that will help public safety and emergency response operations in the event of a disaster.
We have set up a section for frequently asked questions: click here.
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