FEMA Flood Map Update

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FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are important tools in the effort to protect lives and property. They indicate the risk for flooding throughout an area, and offer a basis for building and land use decisions. 

Over time flood risks change and maps need to be updated to reflect current flood risks. Using new digital mapping techniques, flood hazard maps are being revised to provide more detailed and current information. The result is a better picture of the areas most likely to be affected by flooding and a better foundation from which to make decisions.

What Is a Flood Insurance Map?

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), indicate different levels of flood risk to homes and businesses by delineating a series of flood risk zones. The zones are determined based on historical data and by modeling the effects of a potential major flood. The low- and moderate-risk zones are represented on the maps by the letter , “X” that is shaded. High-risk flood zones are labeled with designations such as “A,” “AE,” “AO”  and "Floodway" on the FIRM.

Why Did FEMA Change the Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the City of Eugene?

The flood hazard maps provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are an essential tool for flood mitigation, preparedness, disaster response, and insurance in the United States. The City of Eugene's previous maps were identified as having some inaccuracies due to the data and methods used to produce them being outdated. As a result, FEMA began a project in 2010 to improve and update the COMMUNITY NAME Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

What Are the Benefits of the New Maps?

The new flood hazard maps are available in a digital format which benefits people in different ways:

  • Public Works Engineering and Planning and Development gain a greater understanding of the flood hazards and risks that affect the community because they can use the maps in a geographical information system (mapping software) along with parcel, street, and zoning layers to more easily determine how flood hazards impact their community. This allows the City of Eugene to be better prepared for flood disasters.
  • Builders and developers have access to more detailed information for making decisions on where to build and how construction might affect local flood hazard areas.
  • Insurance agents, insurance companies and lending institutions have easier access to map-related information in order to serve their customers more effectively.
  • Residents and business owners throughout the region have a better ability to identify the risk to their properties which will allow them to make better financial decisions about developing and protecting their lives and properties.

What Is a Floodplain and How Do I Determine if My Property Is Located in a Special Flood Hazard Area?

Floodplains are the lowland and relatively flat areas adjoining rivers and creeks that are periodically subject to flooding. Floodplains are typically adjacent to lakes and rivers, but may also be found in other usually dry lowland areas. FEMA identifies special flood hazard areas (high-hazard zones) within floodplains. These special flood hazard areas are subject to a 1 percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year. Special flood hazard areas are identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps as flood zones beginning with an “A”.  

Projected Project Timeline

Meeting / Milestone & Deliverable Projected Date 
Public Meeting / Workshop (virtual) Spring/Summer 2021*
Appeal Period Start Fall/Winter  2021/2022*
Appeal Period End Spring 2022*
Letter of Final Determination (LFD) Summer 2022*
Map and FIS become Effective Fall/Winter 2022/2023*

*All project dates are subject to revision as the project progresses. 

Contact Information

For questions about the flood hazard map update, please contact:

Jack Blackham

Permitting and Floodplain Manager

email:    jblackham@eugene-or.gov

phone: (541) 731-3873