Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Floodplain Maps are used for two primary purposes.
The maps estimate the risk of flooding geographically and that risk translates to regulatory requirements for building on the land in various flood zones and insurance rating. The County received new, preliminary flood maps in December 2019 that demonstrate newly modeled recommended regulatory elevations and risk areas for wave action.
Current County zones include AE, VE, and X zones. New zones, including the Coastal AE zone, were added to the maps, and they now include a boundary that shows a LiMWA zone, where waves can also be expected to impact the strength of structures.
Per the Florida Building Code, structures in a Coastal A zone are also required to be constructed strong enough to withstand wave action, similar to VE zones.
The elevations shown on the maps and coastal boundaries are used to determine where finished floors or structural elements must be constructed to be strong enough to withstand flooding and wave action during a flood. These maps are currently being reviewed by County staff and the County’s technical consultant before FEMA establishes new map boundaries. The County Commission retained a consultant, Woods Hole Group, to independently review the preliminary maps to make sure they were technically sound.
 On June 17, 2020, Woods Hole Group presented their preliminary findings and the Commission voted to appeal the maps, based on technical modeling. The presentation can be viewed by visiting:
 The appeal is expected to occur in 2021, with Map adoption likely in 2022.
When the new maps are adopted, all new FEMA mapping elevations will be done in a different datum (NAVD88). Staff will be available to assist the public in understanding how these proposed changes will impact each property owner.
The County is required to adopt the maps to be eligible for the National Flood Insurance Policy. The email address to contact staff is