Rolling out new FIRMs

Patricia Skinner, Capello, Jr. Henry T.  |  4/10/2009 4:42:50 PM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reassessed flood risk across the nation beginning in 2003 to create new digital flood insurance rate maps (DFIRMs). The DFIRMs replace previous paper maps, many of which were 30 or more years old. The FEMA map modernization effort represents the most accurate map of flood risk that could be developed. They consider flooding that comes from the Gulf, river flooding and drainage issues. These maps set standards for floodplain management and insurance rating in the National Flood Insurance Program.

The process of modernizing maps in Louisiana took on new urgency following the 2005 hurricane season. To support the intense map update effort, FEMA contracted a private engineering firm. The firm developed a Web site and outreach program that facilitates the introduction, review and adoption of new maps. The Louisiana Mapping Project (LaMP) Web site is host for preliminary DFIRM maps and roll-out data for 17 coastal parishes and has produced open house events in each of the parishes. 

As the LaMP project contract was coming to a close, and wishing to extend this type of map roll-out support to parishes outside the coastal region, the state NFIP coordinator contacted University of New Orleans Center for Hazard Assessment, Response and Technlogoy and the LSU AgCenter. The universities, working together under contract from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, continued flood map outreach in the coastal parishes using the existing LaMP Web site and began displaying effective FIRMs, preliminary DFIRMs and map-adoption information in the inland parishes receiving new maps.

Maps for the LaMP parishes are now being shown on both LaMP and LSU AgCenter mapping sites. With continuing support for this effort, the LSU AgCenter will become a repository for flood-risk maps and map roll-outs well into the future.

Outreach support

Throughout 2009 and 2010, The University of New Orleans Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology (UNO-CHART) and the LSU AgCenter conducted open houses for Louisiana parishes under contract to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. These forums brought federal, state and local resources to a common location to help residents determine how changes in the new flood maps may affect their properties.

LSU AgCenter Flood Map portal
Louisiana Mapping Project (LaMP) portal
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