Under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Map Modernization Program, the city of New Orleans, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working together to develop new flood insurance rate maps for New Orleans.
Orleans Parish’s flood insurance rate maps were last updated in March 1984, and there have been extensive drainage improvements in the area since then.
According to FEMA, the work is being completed under its Flood Hazard Mapping Program via the Map Modernization initiative. FEMA has decided to develop the map modernization program because approximately 85 percent of their Flood Insurance Rate Maps are at least five years old, with a third over 15 years old. The program intends to increase community involvement in the mapping process, increase customer service, and heighten public awareness of flood risks.
The Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Project (SELA) constructed many of the improvements in the New Orleans area. FEMA has committed funding to develop revised Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) in Orleans Parish in the following basins: Areas J, K, L, Orleans, Peoples, and Algiers.
Additionally, FEMA has committed funding to initiate Area I. Through this effort, preliminary DFIRMs are expected to be available in early 2005. Follow on funding to continue additional study areas has been allocated for FY 2004.
DFIRMs will provide the means for FEMA and the parish to identify the areas where revisions to floodplain management practices and/or revised flood insurance premiums are warranted due to updated information and/or changes to the hydrology of the area. Some areas may experience reduced flood insurance premiums due to recent drainage improvements that have been made to the floodplain by the parish. The updated DFIRMs will provide the parish with a much better picture of the flood risk in all areas of the parish covered by this effort, FEMA said.
Further information about the Map Modernization Program can be found at http://www.fema.gov/fhm/mm_main.shtm.
The results of the DFIRMs will allow the local government and other users to continuously update hydrologic and hydraulic data in a digital environment as new projects are brought on line, i.e., SELA Flood Control.
In addition to being used for flood insurance purposes, the DFIRM’s will also have applications in Public Works, Geographic Information Systems, and by floodplain managers and developers.
For more information, contact Bhola Dhume or Shawn Vicknair with the Corps of Engineers at (504) 862-2024 or via e-mail at shawn.m.Vicknair@mvn02.usace.army.mil.
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