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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Grant will help county with digital flood maps

Monday, October 2, 2006

BENTON -- Scott County is on the list to benefit from a $3.2 million FEMA grant for flood maps.

The state will receive funding from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency to update and digitalize flood maps for the city of St. Louis and 38 counties, Gov. Matt Blunt announced.

"This digital mapping project will help our communities update their flooding hazards and better manage floodplain development," Blunt said. "The new maps will also ensure Missourians can continue to purchase flood insurance to protect their homes and businesses."

Funding will go to the State Emergency Management Agency which will use the $3,222,854 grant to update and digitalize flood insurance rate maps.

"We will hire engineering firms and will be working with the counties," said Susie Stonner, public information officer for SEMA. "The engineering firms will go out and do some GPS. They are going to rely on gathering information from the counties, because they know the flooding of their areas; the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers; the U.S. Geological Survey, and the state Geological Survey at the Department of Natural Resources."

Working with communities will be an important part of the process, Stonner said, as "the floodplains may have changed."

Stonner said SEMA will seek current information about storm water runoff, will review existing maps and will discuss the project with county floodplain personnel.

When Scott County can expect to receive their digital floodplain map depends on how much information the county has, she said.

"These are very complicated projects so it will take awhile," Stonner said. "There is a lot of technical information that has to be put in these maps."

Once they are complete, digital maps will be simpler for communities to get information from and will streamline the notification process for SEMA if there are changes in the floodplains.

"It will be better than the paper maps which are currently what communities have to rely on," Stonner said. "It will be easier for the communities to manage their floodplains."

The digital maps will also be easier for lenders to access for floodplain information. "Any property in the floodplain must have flood insurance," she said.

The digital floodplain maps will be issued over the next several years, according to Stonner, and local communities will have an opportunity to approve the maps before they are finalized.

SEMA plans to have all of the 38 counties and St. Louis finished by 2011, according to Stonner, "although it may go much faster than that."

The current grant is a continuation of FEMA's Map Modernization Program which is a project to make digital flood maps for Missouri. With Friday's grant announcement, Missouri will have digital flood maps for 73 counties and the city of St. Louis by 2011.

"It is our goal to continue to use federal funds to digitally map all of Missouri's floodplains," said SEMA Director Ron Reynolds.

Cape Girardeau is the only other county in the immediate area to be included among the 38 counties to have floodplains digitally mapped with this grant.