American Society of Civil Engineers

New Tools from FEMA to Help Communities Understand their Coastal Flood Risk

by Jonathan E. Westcott, (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472, USA. E-mail:
Section: Mapping Coastal Flood Hazards in the U.S., pp. 558-568, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Solutions to Coastal Disasters 2011
Abstract: This paper examines the objectives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the transition from the Map Modernization Program to the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) Program and its goal of delivering quality data that increases public awareness and leads to mitigation actions that reduce risk to life and property by transforming its traditional flood identification and mapping efforts into a more integrated process of accurately identifying, assessing, communicating, and planning to reduce flood related risks. FIMA’s enhancements to the Flood Insurance Study (FIS), Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), Coastal High Hazard Areas (V or VE Zones), LImit of Moderate Wave Action (LIMWA) as well as other non-regulatory digital products to articulate flood risks, increase public awareness, and assist local communities in land use and permitting are discussed. FIMA’s expansion of formal community coordination and consultation under Risk MAP are set forth. Graphics and figures depicting: Risk Reduction methods, mapping of Risk MAP coastal studies initiated with FY 2009 and 2010 funds, Coastal Study Process Diagram, example FIRM for a coastal community, Prototype of a Risk MAP Non-Regulatory Flood Risk Product, and timelines comparing community coordination for the Map Modernization and Risk Map Programs are included.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Coastal environment
Risk management