FEMA Risk MAP Guidance and Technical Reference Updates

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FEMA Risk MAP Guidance and Technical Reference Updates

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains guidelines and standards to support the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) Program. These guidelines and standards define the implementation of the statutory and regulatory requirements for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These also guide the development of Flood Risk Projects, processing of Letters of Map Change (LOMCs) and related Risk MAP activities. More information is available at www.fema.gov/guidelines-and-standards-flood-risk-analysis-and-mapping.

FEMA maintains the Risk MAP guidelines and standards and issues updates on an annual basis each November. For the 2019 Annual cycle, a Public Review for standards was held in July through August. FEMA is now initiating a review of all guidance, technical references and other resources.

As part of this policy update cycle, FEMA performed routine maintenance and smaller updates driven by specific requests or issues identified. In addition to these smaller updates, there are several significant changes that include:

  • New strategies for modernizing legacy maps: It is a priority for the mapping program to fully modernize the map inventory. However, there are unique challenges with many of these remaining areas. FEMA is refining guidance for the Discovery process to streamline simpler projects that are modernizing legacy maps.
  • Automate map products: FEMA has systems in place that can automatically produce high quality Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) images from the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL). However, legacy processes still result in significant time and money spent on manual cartography to create the FIRM deliverables. This activity will mandate that future FIRM images be produced using an automated tool to reduce cost.  This requirement will apply to new projects starting in FY20 and not required for work in the pipeline. The tool and the implementation details will be developed over the next year.
  • Removing floodways during a map update: FEMA is converting Standard Identification Number (SID) to a program standard.  This ensures that HQ and the Regional office are involved in complicated decisions related to existing floodways during an update.
  • Financial Tracking Improvements: FEMA is formalizing processes for tracking regional cost allocations and status of funds for flood map projects including studies and other investments.

Listed below are the guidance, technical reference, and other documents that are being updated for the current annual cycle. If you are interested in reviewing any of the documents listed below, you can access the documents through the Risk Management Directorate SharePoint site and should provide comment through SharePoint if you are a mapping partner who has SharePoint access. For stakeholders who do not have SharePoint access, email FEMA.GS@riskmapcds.com to request the documents that you wish to review.

Comments received by September 30th, 2019 will be considered for incorporation.

Guidance, Technical References, and Templates Updated This Cycle

Guidance Document Title Update Description
Base Map and FIRM Panel Layout, Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) GraphicsUpdating to clarify and align information to current standard operating procedures.
Coastal Floodplain Mapping, Coastal General Study Considerations, Coastal StructuresUpdating to clarify and expand information regarding piers and wharves and potential structures upon them.
DamsThis document is being created to provide consistent implementation of dam-related NFIP regulations and mapping procedures that apply to dam/reservoirs and non-dam features.
LeveeThis document is being updated to correct minor typos and alignment of wording for consistency.
DiscoveryUpdating to refine Discovery meeting needs for data, and stakeholder engagement; and to more clearly reiterate the need to maintain zones when replacing outdated legacy modeling data with available modern modeling and mapping data (such as BLE).
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) DatabaseUpdating this document to reference the smoothing best practices and to provide clarification about superseded and incorporated LOMRs.
Floodplain Boundary StandardsUpdating to clarify and align information to current standard operating procedures, and to ensure clarity regarding self-certification for 2D and BLE studies.
Floodway Analysis and MappingUpdating this document to align with the current Levee Guidance, specifically the computation of floodways in the presence of levees as well as descriptions of the various analysis scenarios.
Mapping Information Platform (MIP)Updating sections 15 and 16 of this document to replace the flow diagrams that are currently unreadable.
MT-1 TechnicalUpdating to incorporate additional details regarding the limitations of the MT-1 process, correcting some typographical errors, and adding new information for special processing situations such as condominium buildings and manmade changes intended to provide flood protection.
Project PlanningUpdating to more clearly reiterate the need to maintain zones when replacing outdated legacy modeling data with available modern modeling and mapping data (such as BLE).
RedelineationUpdating this document to reference revised templates, align with updated standards; remove references and update some terminology for consistency.
Riverine Mapping and FloodplainUpdating to clarify and strengthen information, to ensure proper implementation of resolving mismatches across community boundaries, and to ensure clarity regarding floodplain boundary smoothing.
SE Data Product Development Phase, SE Discovery Phase, SE Due Process Phase, SE FIS and FIRM Delivery Phase, SE Planning for Mitigation Action Phase, SE Preliminary NFIP Map Release Phase, SE Project Planning Phase, SE Risk Awareness PhaseRetiring 8 existing Stakeholder Engagement Guidance documents and creating 4 new streamlined Stakeholder Engagement Guidance documents.
SE Introduction and Key Terms, SE Post-Preliminary Due Process, SE Preliminary Production Process, SE Project Planning and Discovery PhaseCreating 4 new streamlined Stakeholder Engagement Guidance documents that reduce duplicative content and integrate CERC-developed resources.
Technical Reference Title Update Description
Coordinated Needs Management Strategy (CNMS)Updating to clarify and align information to current standard operating procedures; and to update Tier inventory classifications from a 4-tier system to a 5-tier system and document the revised schema for the S_Unmapped_Ln layer.
Template Title Update Description
Flood Risk Products ChecklistsUpdating to make minor edits to reflect Flood Risk Product (FRP) improvements and better align the Quality Review checks with the FRP standards that were implemented during the 2018 cycle.