Preliminary flood hazard maps for Union County have been released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to the DNR and county officials.
When final, the maps will show flood risk throughout the county and determine whether property owners, with a federal or federally insured loan, are required to carry flood insurance.
The first new such documents for the county in 23 years came as the result of FEMA, DNR and the county completing an extensive multi-year study of the area's floodplains using state-of-the-art technologies and risk-modeling techniques.
The six water bodies that were updated in this study were: Brookville Lake, East Fork Whitewater River, Hanna Creek, Indian Creek, Little Four Mile Creek, Richland Creek and Silver Creek.
These flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs) identify property as having high, moderate or low flood risk. In addition to affecting property owners, FIRMs allow community planners, engineers, permit officials, builders, and others to determine if, where and how new structures and developments should be built.
The preliminary maps may be viewed at: http://www.floodmaps.IN.gov/ (you may experience a long download time).
An open house will be held April 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. in Liberty at the Union County Middle School Cafeteria, 488 East State Road 44 for those who would like to learn more about how this new mapping may affect them. Stations will be set up for property owners to review the maps and discuss any concerns with engineers who are knowledgeable with the development of the maps. No formal presentation will be offered the open house.
Additional stations will be available during this time for property owners to obtain information and discuss any concerns regarding flood insurance or related issues with knowledgeable staff from DNR.
A 90-day public comment period will start at a date to be announced by FEMA after the public meeting. During that period, property owners can submit appeals and protests. Once the feedback is received and addressed, the maps are expected to be adopted in 2012, when the new insurance requirements will take effect.
The Union County project is part of FEMA's larger effort to modernize the nation's aging flood maps to reflect the most current flood risks and areas of recent growth.
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