This section provides community officials with information on outreach resources for provisionally accredited levees. 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!
Communication Lessens Concern
When citizens and elected community officials learn the reduced flood hazards offered by nearby levees is being reviewed, they will have questions. They will want to know about possible effects on property values, possible changes in NFIP flood insurance and building requirements, and what is being done to ensure safety. The best approach is to answer such questions as quickly and honestly as possible.
When the levee is provisionally accredited, the Flood Insurance Rate Map will recognize the levee as complying with the NFIP regulatory requirement of reducing the base (1-percent-annual-chance) flood insurance; the area behind the levee will be mapped as a moderate-risk area. However, the provisional designation serves as a reminder to those living and working near the levee that there is NFIP compliance data/documentation still outstanding for the levee system to meet the regulatory requirements, and the community was provided a reasonable amount of time to gather the necessary data/documentation.
Levees can fail or be overtopped by a larger flood than the levee was designed to contain, resulting in potentially catastrophic flooding. More than 20 percent of all flood claims come from moderate-to-low hazard areas and most property owners and renters will qualify for a low-cost Preferred Risk Policy.
It is important residents and business owners understand their risk in these areas and they should be encouraged to take appropriate steps to reduce the risk to themselves and their properties, both physically and financially.
Residents and Business Owners: Understanding the Hazard
When a community re-examines the level of flood hazard reduction provided by a levee, residents and business owners will have questions. They will want to know why levees in the area are now labeled “provisionally accredited” and what this new designation means. They will want to know whether building and flood insurance requirements will change, and will there be a federal requirement to purchase flood insurance. A good way to defuse anxiety is to make information readily available early in the process.
Insurance, Realty, and Lending Professionals: Making Them Professional Allies
When levee systems are provisionally accredited, property owners turn to insurance agents for information. Agents can help their clients understand that the risk for flooding is still there and why flood insurance is strongly recommended for those near all levees. They can also point out the considerable flood insurance savings available in moderate-to-low hazard zones with the Preferred Risk Policy.
Likewise, real estate transactions may be affected if the situation is not fully understood. To avoid problems, make sure local real estate and lending communities are kept informed about changes in levee impacted flood hazard zones and how issues of safety and long-term levee viability are being addressed. They, in turn, can inform their clients.
A Provisionally Accredited Levee designation does not change the Federal flood insurance requirements. However, flood insurance reduces the financial devastation that can occur if a levee does fail. For this reason, FEMA recommends flood insurance for all properties in areas near levees. Many property owners and renters in moderate-to-low hazard areas will be eligible for low-cost Preferred Risk Policies.
Community Officials: Internal Communication is Critical
Local officials and other departments’ staff will be on the front lines to provide information. Property owners in your community will ask questions about provisional accreditation. Arming community leaders with the facts about the current designation, the risk that still exists should it fail or overtop, and the availability of low-cost flood insurance will help them better answer questions.
Levee Outreach Toolkit Materials
While the Provisionally Accredited Levee designation will not affect flood insurance requirements, a levee failure has the potential to cause catastrophic flooding. The following materials will help you inform other community leaders and department staff, business groups, and property owners about the reduced flood hazard, but still real flood risk, the continued importance of flood insurance, and the timetable for a more permanent determination of the levee accreditation status, and answer common questions that will arise. This will allow them to better understand and talk about the changes, their effects and the options available. You will also find resources that will help explain the flood insurance implications of levee and map changes.
Outreach to the General Public
- Talking Points (Template for Local Officials)
- Notification Letter to Residents (Template for Local Officials)
- Levees and Flood Insurance: Consider the Risk. Make the Right Choice Fact Sheet (Template for Local Officials)
- What is a Levee? (FEMA Fact Sheet)
- The NFIP and Levees (FEMA Fact Sheet)
- Living with Levees: A Shared Responsibility (FEMA Fact Sheet)
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.
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.
- Call (1-877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) Monday through Friday, 8:00 am through 6:30 pm (Eastern Time)
- Email FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com
- Chat with a Map Specialist Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time)
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