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Flood Plain Management

Risk MAP: Floodplain planning for governments

Ecology leads floodplain management in Washington. We provide technical assistance to local communities to help them better plan within the floodplain. We work to reduce losses to life and property, and protect the natural environmental functions and values of floodplains.

The Risk MAP (Mapping, Assessment and Planning) program works for Washington’s local governments. FEMA creates flood maps, we work with you to assess data and dedicate mitigation planning experts to each project. We give local communities the tools and expertise to better understand their flood risk.

How does the Risk MAP program run?

Risk MAP delivers county-wide digital maps for each project. We come to your community five times throughout the Risk MAP process. There are three phases of the Risk MAP process: Discovery, Mapping and Resilience.

  1. During the Discovery phase, we meet with you to learn about your local government’s needs and scope the project. We review your risk and learn about how we can tailor the program to best help you.
  2. In the Mapping phase, FEMA delivers flood maps in draft and preliminary form prior to adopting the new map. We work with you to review the revised flood maps and plan an outreach strategy. Together, we then hold a public meeting to inform homeowners on the new mapping and impacts of changes to the floodplain.
  3. The final phase of Risk MAP is called Resilience. This is where the rubber meets the road as we come together with you to reduce your risk to natural hazards through mitigation planning. During this phase we brief elected and local officials on the program’s outcomes and impacts to changes in the flood map. We bring Risk MAP data, assessment and maps to leaders and work with planners to mitigate your risk. Learn more: What is Resilience (pdf)

What is the focus of the studies?

We are currently focusing on Washington’s coastal flood hazard areas. We’re revising the all of our coastal floodplains, including Puget Sound.

Through Flood Map Modernization, FEMA updated the methodology for identifying and mapping coastal flood hazards along the Pacific Coast. During Risk MAP, FEMA is using a new Pacific coast methodology to study the entire populated coastline in detail, including new topography and base flood elevations along all revised areas. FEMA also initiated a study examining the potential impact of climate change on the flood hazard identification process. The results of the climate change study may drive additional changes to the methodologies.

FEMA publication: Coastal Flood Risks: Achieving Resilience Together

What are the current projects in Washington?

See what counties have projects underway on our Risk MAP projects page.

Contact us

If you have questions about Risk MAP or flood hazard mapping, contact Jerry Franklin at (360) 407-7470.

If you have questions about the National Flood Insurance Program or floodplain regulations, contact our regional floodplain specialists.

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