Juneau’s efforts to redraw flood maps produces results

Downtown and West Juneau FEMA flood maps 2013

FEMA’s flood map for downtown and West Juneau. The city has been working with property owners and the federal agency to correct problems with the maps that erroneously included some properties in flood zones. (Image courtesy City and Borough of Juneau)

Since the Juneau Assembly adopted new flood maps last summer, boundaries have been redrawn to remove about 60 homes from areas considered flood prone.

City officials and residents say the maps, drawn by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are flawed. But the assembly had to adopt them so residents could remain in the National Flood Insurance Program. For months, the city has been working with property owners and FEMA to correct the maps.

“There’s an ongoing effort in our flood program to reach out to the community and work with them, and we have worked with 50 map amendments to date,” CBJ Community Development Director Hal Hart told the assembly on Monday.

Hart says the map amendments will save homeowners thousands of dollars in flood insurance payments.

He also says the U.S. Geological Survey has approved the city’s own LIDAR mapping data. Hart says FEMA and other federal agencies were not allowed to recognize Juneau’s maps until USGS gave its approval.

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