Flood Information for Local Officials
Guide to Floodplain Maps
In support of the NFIP, FEMA supports a continuous program for improving flood hazard identification and mapping to produce Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FHBMs), Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps (FBFM). FEMA has issued FIRMs for most NFIP participating communities in Maine. FIRMs identify areas with a one percent annual chance of flood hazard which is referred to as the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). The flood hazard areas shown on FIRMs are based on the best information available at the time the maps were prepared. In some areas, the map will also show Base Flood Elevations and regulatory floodway boundaries.
The SFHA is also referred to as the base flood and incorrectly referred to as the 100 year flood. The reason this is misleading is because within a 30 year period the chance of experiencing a 100 year flood is 26% and it is possible to get a 100 year flood several times in 100 years even when the floodplains are identified correctly. Unfortunately floodplain maps are not always accurate.
Maps can be wrong for many reasons including:
- errors made in determining base flood elevations
- the lack of high resolution topographic data (10 and 20 foot contour maps compiled by the USGS over 70 years ago are the best available for most of the state.)
- Land use changes causing runoff coefficients resulting in more frequent and higher flooding levels.
- And rising sea levels are just a few.
How do I know which ordinance is right for my town?
The ordinance requirement is determined by the kind of flood hazard identification map that has been provided to your community by the Federal Insurance Administrator. Early maps, before 1979, were done by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Maps from 1979 to present were done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The more detailed the flood maps, the more detailed the community's floodplain management regulations must be. The National Flood Insurance Program Regulations at 44 CFR, Part 60.3 further tie the type and scope of minimum local regulations to the types of map.
Grant Programs - Please Contact MEMA for Grant Information
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to States and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.
- Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)
Provides funding to assist States and communities in implementing measures to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to buildings, manufactured homes, and other structures insurable under the NFIP.
- Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program (PDM)
Provides funds to states, territories, Indian tribal governments, communities, and universities for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster event.
- Repetitive Flood Claims (RFC)
Provides funding to States and communities to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to structures insured under the NFIP that have had one or more claims for flood damages, and that can not meet the requirements of the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program for either cost share or capacity to manage the activities.
- Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL)
Provides funding to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to severe repetitive loss (SRL) structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).