The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (dFIRMs) that replaced the paper maps, which were previously used to determine which properties are affected by the mapped 100-Year Floodplain. These new dFIRMs took effect on November 10, 2010. In order to continue to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Cibola County was required to complete the following two tasks by December 10, 2010 (participation in the NFIP provides significantly lower flood insurance rates for affected property owners):
- Approve Ordinance 10-02 Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance to bring it into full compliance with state and federal floodplain regulations.
- Create a Floodplain development review within Special Flood Hazard Areas of the County.
- Issuing or denying floodplain development/building permits.
- Inspecting all development to assure compliance with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance 10-02.
- Maintaining records of floodplain development.
- Assisting in the preparation and revision of floodplain maps.
- Helping residents obtain information on flood hazards, floodplain map data, flood insurance and proper construction measures.
The following acronyms are commonly used in flood-related documents and discussions:
- FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
- NFIP – National Flood Insurance Program
- SFHA – Special Flood Hazard Area, also known as the 100-year floodplain
- FIRM – Flood Insurance Rate Map
- CRS – Community Rating System
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
To identify properties at risk of flooding, FEMA prepares Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Flood risk is designated by zones on the map.
FEMA retains sole authority for designating which properties are included or removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), also known as the 100-year floodplain or Zone AE. Congress requires that FEMA periodically remap floodplains to reflect population growth. The County maintains FEMA’s Historical and the effective FIRMs. The current effective dates are:
- Effective FIRM – December 17, 2010
- Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance 10-02 – November 10, 2010
How the Map Affects You
A small portion of the County is included in the SFHA on the effective FIRM. Some properties that were previously considered low risk (Zone X or 500-year floodplain) have been categorized as high risk (SFHA). Property owners added into the SFHA may be required to obtain a Floodplain Development Permit and to purchase flood insurance by their mortgage lender. All SFHA properties with a federally-backed mortgage must carry flood insurance.
Natural and Beneficial Functions of a Floodplain
Floodplains with natural and beneficial functions provide an erosion control buffer and open space so further flood damage does not occur. Native plants are best suited for floodplains with deep root systems to resist erosion and stabilize the shoreline. Turf grass has a shallow root system and commonly erodes.