FEMA / Flood Maps

Flood Plain Mailing Map
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently revised the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) within Alameda County which may affect the floodplain designation of your property in Alameda. The new maps became effective on December 21, 2018 and have added approximately 2,000 City of Alameda parcels within the Special Flood Hazard Area (commonly known as the 100-year floodplain).
 
Background
Alameda property owners may recall receiving notice in 2015 regarding FEMA’s proposed flood hazard determination. In response, the City conducted public outreach by sending letters to homeowners whose parcels were mapped within the new 100-year floodplain, holding public information meetings, and publishing information on the city website. The City, along with several other surrounding jurisdictions, appealed the proposed maps. On June 21, 2018, FEMA stated that they evaluated the appeals, the appeals were resolved, and that their determination was considered final. The revised FIRMS became effective December 21, 2018 and remain substantially unchanged from the 2015 proposed maps.
 
Revised FIRMs
Paper copies of the revised FIRMs are available at the Permit Center at City Hall (2263 Santa Clara Ave, ground floor), the Public Works Department at City Hall West  (950 West Mall Square, Room 110), or at the Main Library (1550 Oak St.)
You can also view and print the official revised FIRMs from FEMA's map portal website: https://msc.fema.gov/portal. Enter your full Alameda address in the search bar at the top of the webpage and you will see a dynamic view of your property with an aerial photography map background and a green grid overlying it. The green text within each grid block displays the number of your property's FIRM as well as its effective date.
 
You can print the official FIRM for your property at the website above by clicking on the box, "Show All Products" on the right hand side of the page above the map. On the next screen, click on "Effective Products" and then "FIRM Panels" in the drop-down list. A list of the official FIRMS displays in a table format. Click the "View" button on the right hand side of the table to see the full FIRM. Click on "Make a FIRMette" on the resulting screen to print your property with an official FIRM border around it.
 
The City was required to adopt the revised FIRMs to continue participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP allows the City and property owners to be eligible for federally managed flood insurance, federally backed mortgages, federal grants, and federal disaster relief, while providing a means for property owners to financially protect themselves (a risk not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies). For more information on the NFIP and the insurance requirements please visit www.floodsmart.gov or call (888) 379 - 9531.
 

CityGIS view of the Flood Maps

An unofficial view of the 2018 revised flood maps can be found on the City's CommunityView website, which provides a user-friendly GIS interface with property boundaries overlain by the floodplain. CommunityView provides property information including zoning, General Plan designation, flood zone data, and general property data provided by the County Assessor's office in GIS format. To view the flood maps, click on the Legend icon (the middle icon at the upper right of the search bar), then scroll down in the resulting drop-down list and under the blue "Environmental" heading, click on "FEMA100yr62018." Areas shown in blue are in the 100 year floodplain. 

Properties within 100-Year Floodplain

If your property is in the floodplain, you are required to buy flood insurance if your lender is federally regulated or insured. If flood insurance is not required (but the property is within the 100-year floodplain), flood insurance should still be considered for the building and contents within it.

When a property is within the 100-year floodplain, the owner may choose to have their house surveyed to determine if the lowest adjacent grade is above the predicted flood level (known as the Base Flood Elevation or BFE).  This process requires an Elevation Certificate (EC) completed by a licensed surveyor or registered civil engineer (who is authorized to perform surveying).  If the Elevation Certificate verifies that the grade is above the BFE, this can then be used to apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) through FEMA.  Lenders have the option of waiving the flood insurance requirement if a LOMA has been approved by FEMA.
 
Please note Elevation Certificates must be fully completed and will be checked by the City for conformance prior to acceptance - see CRS EC Checklist.

All requests for a LOMA are done directly between the homeowner and FEMA - the City is not involved (see the "How to Request a LOMA or LOMR-F" link at the bottom of this webpage for more information). However, the City will need a copy of your approved LOMA for our files for compliance with NFIP requirements. Therefore please notify us at (510) 747 - 7930 in order that we may receive a copy of your approved LOMA from FEMA for our files.
 

Residential Construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas

All new and "substantially improved" structures (the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure, tracked over a 3-year period) within the identified floodplain will be required to elevate the structure above the BFE, obtain an Elevation Certificate, and file it with the City.

The City has created a PDF document to answer frequently asked questions and to serve as a guide to residential construction within the Special Flood Hazard Area. Download the PDF here:  FAQ and Construction Guide(PDF, 66KB)

For More Information
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Please contact the Public Works Department Monday through Thursday, 8am to 6pm, by phone: (510) 747-7930 or email: floodmaps@alamedaca.gov.