Georgia Flood Map Modernization Program
The State faces a number of constraints in preparing DFIRMs. These include:
- Limited funding: The funding available to the State is limited, and the yearly competition for funds is significant. There are not enough funds available to meet all identified flood map update needs. The State must equitably distribute available funds and utilize the funds for tasks that provide a high benefit at a modest cost. The State must, at a minimum, digitize the existing paper Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for each county and create a DFIRM.
- Cost- share: The State is obligated to provide a minimum of 20% cost-share to match the funds received from FEMA. This cost-share can come in the form of in-kind services or technical data from the State, localities, or Federal agencies. Digital topographic data, digital orthophotos, and watershed study data are three of the most highly-credited form of cost-share. It is less expensive to develop new flooplain mapping in Counties where recent, accurate, topographic data is already available.
- Production goals: FEMA is requirec to meet certain DFIRM production goals each fiscal year. The State, in turn, must meet those same goals. FEMA's national plan for DFIRM production generally depends on funding of a flood study in the middle of the first fiscal year, producing a preliminary DFIRM late in the next fiscal year, and legally adopting that map as the effective FIRM late in the third fiscal year. This constraint means that the community generally cannot afford to delay a flood map update project while waiting for data to be provided, or for other studies to be conducted. Once a Project is scoped and scheduled, production must proceed rapidly, and additional data often cannot be incorporated into the process after the Memorandum of Agreement is executed.
- National technical standards: The DFIRMs produced are for insurance ratings purposes and must be based on consistent technical standards. Theses standards specify the accuracy of the the topographic data used for the mapping process, the age and resolution of the orthophotos or other background maps, and the overall look of the DFIRM. While cost-share in the form of technical data from communities is highly desirable, not all data provided will meet the strict technical standards for DFIRM mapping. Specifically, topographic data must be certified by a professional surveyor or engineer to meet stringent accuracy standards. Similarly, community flood studies must also be certified by a registered professional engineer to meet the technical standards. The State cannot utilize data that does not meet the technical standards, and usually cannot delay production while the data is brought into conformance with the standards.
State Floodplain Management Coordinator
Tom Shillock, CFM