Floodplain Management

You may or may not know the City of Fayetteville has not updated its flood risk maps since 2008. The process to update maps involves FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), state, regional, and local governments and agencies - as well as the public at large. The process takes several years.

In 2015, City Council authorized participation with FEMA and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) to update the Washington County Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) so that the risks associated with a flooding event can be more accurately defined. A public meeting was held in March 2017 so residents and property owners could ask questions and provide input with City staff and ANRC.

A draft of Fayetteville’s flood risk maps should be available for public review in 2019 or 2020.

Since 2008, many things have changed and officials are working to provide more accurate flood risk assessment for the City and residents. As a part of the update, residents and property owners should be aware of potential changes. For more detail, please see the information below. 

 What if my property or structure is being removed from the floodplain?

Your property may no longer be subject to the provisions of the flood damage prevention code provided the entire property was removed. If your structure was removed, you would no longer be federally required to carry flood insurance. Please note, your mortgage company still require you to carry flood insurance based on their requirements, however, your policy premiums should decrease based on the map revision.

 What if my property or structure is being included in the floodplain?

If it was not previously identified within the floodplain, you would be federally required to carry flood insurance if you have a mortgage from federally regulated or insured lender. However, there are steps to take now in order to mitigate any financial impacts. Your property would also become subject to the flood damage prevention code which helps to prevent flood loss in the future. Also note that these maps identify the potential risk of flooding, regardless of where the line falls on the map your property may be at an increased risk and there are steps that can be taken in order to mitigate those risks. Please reference the documents on this page for further information.

 What if there was no change to my property?

 If your property was previously identified within the floodplain, you would fall under the same requirements that applied today, before any potential map revision. This would include the requirement for flood insurance if you have a mortgage from federally regulated or insured lender. If you are outside of the floodplain, then these requirements would not apply now or when the proposed modifications are adopted.

 When will the maps be adopted?

At this time, the City is making the public aware that there is the potential for the maps to be revised. The process to adopt the maps will be entirely under the control of FEMA. It is anticipated that they may be adopted within the next 18 months, however, the exact time frame has not been identified. A draft of Fayetteville’s flood risk maps should be available for public review in 2019 or 2020.  To learn what goes into making the flood plain map, check out this infographic from FEMA.

National Flood Insurance Program Participation

As a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, the city regulates development in its floodplains. Chapter 168: Flood Damage Prevention Code of the Unified Development Code contains floodplain regulations.

In addition to regulating new development, the city assists homeowners, prospective home owners, insurance agents, and real estate agents to help them understand floodplain regulations.
You may contact Alan Pugh, Certified Floodplain Manager, at 479-575-8208 or send an email with any questions you have regarding the floodplain. We encourage you to check with the Development Services Division before beginning any project in the floodplain. All development in the floodplain requires a Floodplain Development Permit.

Interactive Flood Data Map

The City of Fayetteville’s Geographic Information System website has an interactive Flood Data Map (using FEMA-approved 2008 data) which is a useful tool in determining whether a certain property lies in the floodplain. For official flood map information please visit FEMA’s Map Service Center.

What is your risk?

Your chances of being flooded are much greater than some other risks you face daily. If you live in a 100-year floodplain, there is more than a 1 in 4 chance that you will be flooded during your 30-year mortgage. During a 30-year mortgage period you are 27 times more likely to experience a flood than having a fire. This information is from the flood safety website.