GeoCarta Has Moved

Oct 6, 2005

Modernizing Coastal Flood Maps

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I) plans to introduce legislation he says will improve the government's coastal flood hazard mapping system. "Currently, federal coastal maps do not reflect the real flood hazard risks," Reed told the Westerly Sun. "Over 70 percent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency maps are over ten years old." Senator Reed wants FEMA to include information on coastal flooding reflected in the Army Corps of Engineers flood maps. His bill would authorize The Corps to update their coastal flood maps along the Atlantic coast and share that information with FEMA. The legislation also directs FEMA to include The Corps' coastal flooding information on their flood insurance maps as part of the agency's map modernization program.

Hurricanes Rita and Katrina have focused attention on FEMA's effort to modernize its outdated flood maps, many of which do not take into account coastal development, erosion and other factors that have altered floodplains over the years. The Senate Banking Committee plans to look into the effectiveness of the national flood insurance program. According to the Center on Federal Financial Institutions, participation in the insurance program by property owners in flood-prone areas appears to be below 40%.