State officials got a grant in 2016 to update floodplain maps for 47 Iowa counties and they’re about halfway through the project. Residents will be able to see the proposed updates to maps for Linn County tonight at an open house at the City Services Center in Cedar Rapids.
Jason Conn of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says state and federal officials who’re familiar with the maps will answer questions from property owners.
“There are a number of different website where people can view the preliminary flood maps for Linn County,” Conn says, “but coming to the meeting will allow them to ask questions in terms of whether or not flood insurance would be required, the type of flood plain regulations that may be enacted if there’s any new proposed development.”
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources manages the floodplain mapping program. Studies from the University of Iowa’s Flood Center along with data collected from research aircraft flying over the state are being used to update the maps. The maps — which identify the so-called 100-year flood plain — help determine the rates for flood insurance.
“So if a risk has increased on properties and those properties have a loan from a federally-regulated lending institution and those structures are located in that high-risk flood plain, then flood insurance is going to be required as a condition of that loan, through their lender,” Conn says.
Insurance is available in all communities that participate in the national flood insurance program. The maps help determine flood insurance premiums.
“They are used by insurance agents to write and rate flood insurance policies,” Conn says.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s current floodplain maps for Linn County were drafted in 2010. The new “preliminary” maps won’t replace those for 18 to 20 months. The public has a chance to comment on them for the next several months and suggest any corrections.