SWFWMD Invites Public Input on Polk County Flood Insurance Maps
The Southwest Florida Water Management District is gathering input needed to improve identification of flooding risks in the Polk City watershed.
The District is serving as a cooperating technical partner for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its national effort to update and modernize the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Most of the current FIRMs are 10 to 30 years old and are outdated because of natural and physical changes caused by land use, development and erosion.
The District is holding an open house in Polk County to present preliminary floodplain information and explain the basis behind the findings. This information will be used to identify areas of flood risk, which are based on watershed boundaries.
An open house for residents living in the Polk City watershed *will be held *Thursday, Sept. 29, beginning at 4 p.m. at Polk City Elementary School. The school is located at 125 S. Bougainvillea Avenue in Polk City. District representatives will be available to meet with residents anytime between 4 and 6:30 p.m.
Residents affected by changes have received letters advising them of the need to contact the District and attend the open house. Future open houses will be scheduled for additional watersheds as preliminary models are completed.
During the meeting, preliminary models and floodplain information will be presented to the public for review and comment. After addressing the comments, floodplain information will be finalized and presented to the District's Governing Board for permission to develop the preliminary FIRMs for submittal to FEMA.
Upon receipt of the preliminary FIRMs, FEMA will begin its FIRM adoption process, which includes:
- A technical review by FEMA
- Review by Polk County
- Public input
- A 90-day appeals period
- Issuance of a letter of final determination that informs Polk County and the public of the date when the FIRMs will be considered effective
The floodplain information will be used by the county and the District for land use and zoning decisions, to help manage development in and around floodplains and wetlands, to reduce flood risks, to preserve land and water resources, and for emergency planning. It will also provide valuable information to the public for decisions about purchasing and protecting property.
For more information or to find out which watershed you live in, please visit the link below.