The Costly and Controversial Review of FEMA Flood Maps

Living in a FEMA-designated flood plain can be costly for homeowners who must carry expensive flood insurance. But although rivers shift their boundaries and flood plains frequently change due to development or natural phenomenon, FEMA does not routinely update its maps.

The process of studying existing flood plain designations, redrawing the maps, holding local meetings and reviewing the results is very expensive, FEMA officials told e-GUIDE publisher Tommy Rainey. Flood maps can be found online at FEMA’s website:

That’s why the existing data is only altered based on FEMA’s internal review or information provided by a community or other interested party. Internal reviews are typically triggered by an accumulation of complaints from residents and businesses, the agency says.

A large commercial development that requires civil engineering work might initiate a flood plain revision request. But the application fee for such as request costs $4,500, which is likely to be prohibitive for most flood plain residents.

To read an article on the flood map revision process, click here: