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Community Officials: Levee Outreach Resources for Accredited Levee Systems

This section provides community officials with information on outreach resources for accredited levee systems. Site users can search information regarding the accreditation status of levees as well as information regarding the risk that comes with living near a levee.

Know Your Risk, Know Your Role, Take Action Today!

Moore, Okla., June 15, 2013 --  FEMA Debris Deputy Task Force Leader Tony Furr speaks with US Corps of Engineers Debris Subject Matter Expert Wes Trammell, and two debris contractors. FEMA Public Assistance funds are reimbursing a portion of governmental debris removal cost from the May 20 tornado which requires FEMA oversight and consultation. George Armstrong/FEMA  Mobile, Ala., July 18, 2005 -- FEMA Community Relations (CR) officers begin their day at the Mobile County EMA. The CR officers take information about the FEMA recovery process directly to the residents affected by Hurricane Dennis.   FEMA Photo/Mark WolfeAn image of a FEMA Hazardous Mitigation specialist checks her records at a Lowes' Hardware Store in Loveland, CO.

Preplan for a Smooth Process

Generally, when levee systems are constructed or improved to meet or exceed the minimum NFIP regulatory requirements for being mapped as reducing the base (1-percent-annual-chance) flood hazard, the news is good: the completion of a complex project resulting in decreased flood hazards. The actual levee improvements, however, are just part of the process. Property owners must understand how the flood hazard changes can impact them. Professional groups need to know the timeline for changes and how to help. Successful outreach can take several months and involve residents and business owners, a range of professional groups, and your community leaders and other departmental staff. The following description provides tips on reaching out to these audiences as well as sample outreach material to help engage and inform.

Residents and Business Owners: Understanding "Choice" versus "Requirement"

For most property owners, their homes or businesses are their greatest investments. When levee systems are mapped as accredited on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), the area behind the levee is mapped as moderate-hazard and the federal requirement for lenders to require flood insurance is removed. Consequently, flood insurance becomes a choice rather than a requirement and many will wonder if they still need this coverage. All areas near levees are still at risk for flooding because even when the base flood hazard is reduced; flood risk is not removed. More than 20 percent of all flood claims come from moderate-to-low hazard areas. Flood insurance should be recommended, as it is one of the best ways to be financially prepared for flood damage.

Insurance, Realty, and Lending Professionals: Your Trusted Source to Help Communicate

When property owners have questions about flood insurance, they can - and should - contact their insurance agent. Insurance agents keep property owners prepared by helping them with changes to flood insurance requirements, assessing coverage options and encouraging conversion to a low-cost Preferred Risk Policy. They can help communicate that the risk of flooding is real, and it may have only been reduced, not eliminated.

Real estate professionals are a trusted source of information when property owners make, what is usually, their largest financial investment. Real estate professionals must have all the details about a property when working with their customers. Lenders also need to be made aware of the changes taking place and how those changes can impact new home and business loans.

All groups will need to be kept up-to-date about how the changes to levees impact the flood insurance requirements for local properties, particularly when many property owners will be released from the Federal flood insurance requirements. In addition, you may wish to contact trainers to arrange for a training event in your area. You can learn more about setting up a training session by visiting the NFIP training program. If training has already been arranged, you can notify agents of the date and time.

Community Officials: Communicating the Hazard is Reduced…Not Removed

When changes in flood hazards occur, citizens have questions - and so will your community leadership and other department staff. To ensure a smooth transition, be sure elected officials, other department staff, community groups, and other stakeholders are kept informed as the process moves forward. It is particularly important that they understand there is still flood risk when levees are improved; and if the levees are overtopped or fail, the flooding could be catastrophic. They should also know that low-cost preferred risk flood insurance will be available to residents and business owners in areas mapped as moderate-hazard behind the accredited levees.

Levee Outreach Toolkit Materials

The following materials will help you inform other community leaders and department staff, business groups, property owners, and others about the reduced but still real flood risk present and changes in building and flood insurance requirements. This will allow them to better understand and talk about the changes, their effects and the options available. Use the tools FEMA has created to better understand the relationship between levees and flood risk. 

  • Levee Tools, Templates and Success Stories for Community Outreach, contains additional helpful resources such as:
    • A number of infographics to explain the levee analysis and mapping procedures process and the corresponding community engagement, including:
    • Stakeholder Engagement for FEMA Levee Analysis and Mapping Procedures of Non-Accredited Levee Systems
    • At-a-Glance National Levee Process for Non-Accredited Levees
    • Flood Hazard Mapping Projects with Levee Systems
    • Various sheets to provide additional background on levees, including:
    • Levees and Insurance Fact Sheet
    • Zone D and Levees Fact Sheet
    • Risk and Mitigation Fact Sheet for Property Owners
    • Risk and Mitigation Fact Sheet for Community Officials
    • Commonly Used Terms and Acronyms for Levee Systems

Outreach to the General Public

Outreach to Insurance Professionals

Outreach to Real Estate and Lending Professionals

Additional levee outreach materials that can be used by Real Estate, Lending, and Insurance Professionals are available through the Real Estate, Lending and Insurance Professionals:  Levee Mapping Status page.

Find additional outreach materials that will help you communicate about flood risk in the Flood Outreach Toolkit.

Get Assistance

Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions are provided for the following user groups: homeowners, engineers, surveyors and architects, insurance professionals and lenders, and floodplain managers.

For additional information or assistance, contact a Map Specialist in the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) through the following methods:

  • Call (877) FEMA MAP (877-336-2627) Monday through Friday, 8:00 am through 7:00 pm (Eastern Time)
  • Email
  • Chat with a Map Specialist Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time)

Subscribe to receive updates on FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping activities, including updates on levee-related activities, via e-mail.

Last Updated: 
10/29/2019 - 09:45