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#06-249 September 18, 2006

DNR cooperating in flood insurance rate map project

In order to ensure that floodplain maps around the nation were brought up to date and in an accessible format Federal Emergency Management Agency initiated Map Modernization. Map Modernization is a multi-year, billion-dollar project meant to update the nation’s maps and provide them in digital format. The intent is to provide an accurate picture of the nation’s flood risk in a format that allows for easy data sharing.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been a partner in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Map Modernization project since 1999; however, Congressional funding to support the initiative was not provided until 2003. DNR is managing the Map Modernization initiative inFlood map example South Carolina on a county-by-county basis. These countywide studies normally take 18 to 36 months to complete based on the size and complexity of the study. So far, four S.C. counties have effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps, four more studies are nearing completion, and 10 others are funded and in progress. DNR expects to have received funding for 20 more studies by the 2008 fiscal year, with the remaining county studies funded by 2009. DNR Flood Mitigation Programs>>>

South Carolina has about 90 communities that have never had their flood hazards mapped. About 70 percent of the effective Flood Insurance Rate Map panels are more than 10 years old, and the flood information on these Flood Insurance Rate Maps is based on hydrologic and hydraulic information that is often considerably older.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps determine flood insurance requirements (as the name implies) and assist communities in regulating new development. The maps show several things, but most importantly it shows the areas of the highest risk of flooding caused by streams, rivers and tidal surge.

The goals of the Map Modernization initiative include:

The future success of the Map Modernization program within South Carolina may be dependent on two very important developments.

Numerous participants are involved in completion of the project. This includes local, state and federal government, multiple contractors and local citizens. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and its National Service Provider contractor provide the goals, standards, and specifications for the overall program, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides the majority of funding for Map Modernization. Individual states or other local governments and their subcontractors manage and conduct the actual implementation of Map Modernization.

Local governments and citizens are provided an opportunity to review the new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map information and make comments or appeals before they are approved.
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