New Flood Insurance Rate Maps Affect Property Owners in Alameda

Published on June 26, 2018



 Contact: Scott Wikstrom, City Engineer, Public Works Department, (510) 747-7930


New Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Flood Insurance Rate Maps Affect Property Owners in Alameda


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently revised and finalized the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) within Alameda County which may affect the floodplain designation of your property in Alameda. The new maps become 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.

Alameda property owners may recall receiving notice in 2015 regarding FEMA’s proposed flood hazard determination for Alameda. 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 is considered final. The revised FIRMs are effective as of December 21, 2018 and will remain substantially unchanged from the 2015 proposed maps. The revised FIRMs are expected to be made available in early September on FEMA’s map portal website, The proposed maps from 2015 can be found by going to and typing, “Alameda” in the search bar. On the next screen, click on the “Show All Products” box on the right hand side of the screen. On the next screen, click on “Preliminary Products” and then “Preliminary FIRM Panels” below it to see a full list of the proposed flood maps.

The City must adopt the newly revised FIRMs in order to continue participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP allows 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.govor call 1(888) 379-9531.

A view of the 2015 proposed flood maps can be found on the City’s CommunityView website. 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 maps, click on the Legend icon, then scroll down and under the “Environmental” heading click on “FEMA100yr62018” (areas shown in blue are in the 100 year floodplain). A map is also provided at the end of this press release.

In July, the City of Alameda will be sending letters to homeowners whose parcels are mapped within the new 100-year floodplain. If your property is located in the 100-year floodplain, you are required to purchase flood insurance if your lender is federally regulated or insured.  If flood insurance is not required but the property is in the 100-year floodplain, flood insurance should still be considered for the building and contents within it.

When a property is located 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 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 FEMA Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). Lenders have the option of waiving the flood insurance requirement if a LOMA has been approved by FEMA.

After the new maps are effective, all new and substantially improved structures (cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure, tracked over a 3-year period) within the identified 100-year floodplain will be required to elevate the structure above the BFE, obtain an Elevation Certificate, and file it with the City.

There are several ways to find out what a property's flood risks are, and how to become more flood resilient:

1.    Visit for a view of the 2015 proposed flood maps. The newly revised maps will remain substantially unchanged from these.

2.    Beginning in July 2018, visit the City’s floodplain update webpage at for updates as they happen, answers to commonly asked questions, links to forms, and informational flyers.

3.    Visit to view the official maps (when released, most likely early September).

4.    Visit for information about flood insurance, flood risk, and how to find a local insurance agent.

5.    When FEMA provides maps and informational flyers, they will be available at the Permit Center at City Hall (2263 Santa Clara Ave, ground floor), City Hall West (950 West Mall Square, Room 110), or the Main Library (1550 Oak St).

6.    Talk with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance provider.

For more information, please contact City of Alameda Public Works Department by phone: 510-747-7930 or email: between the hours of 8am to 6pm, Monday through Thursday.

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