Proposed Floodplain Insurance Study and Maps Moving Forward in the FEMA Adoption Process
As part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) floodplain map adoption process for Estes Park, a 90-day appeal period is scheduled to begin on May 18. This period provides an opportunity for community officials and people who own or lease property to submit scientific or technical information if they believe the flood hazard determinations are scientifically or technically incorrect. Such information should be submitted to the Town of Estes Park Floodplain Administrator at email@example.com. The appeal period concludes in mid-August 2022, after which FEMA will make any final changes to the Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS). Final maps are expected to be adopted and effective in spring 2023.
After the 2013 Northern Colorado flood, the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program (CHAMP) was established by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to rework the region’s floodplain data and maps. In 2019, draft results for Estes Park were released by CWCB, and FEMA referenced this work to produce FIRMs and an updated FIS in early 2021. A virtual public meeting about the Estes Park maps and the FEMA map adoption process was held on April 1, 2021. During the summer and fall of 2021, some complex multi-jurisdictional flood hazard issues in other areas of Larimer County were resolved, resulting in reissuance of the FEMA maps in December 2021. However, the Estes Park FIRMs required only some label corrections.
To view the preliminary FIRMs and FIS during the 90-day appeal period, visit the FEMA Map Service Center. To research any Colorado property’s location on the CWCB floodplain map, visit the Colorado Hazard Mapping & Risk MAP Portal and select “Flood Hazard” to enter an address and generate a report. Maps and information are also available in Public Works at Town Hall. Following the appeal period, each community will be informed that their floodplain maps become effective in six months.
For more information, residents of Estes Park may contact the Floodplain Administrator at 970-577-3740 or firstname.lastname@example.org; residents of unincorporated Larimer County may call 970-498-5732 or email Eng-Floodplain@larimer.org.
Flood Maps & Resource Links
- Flood Risk Fact Sheet - FEMA/NFIP/CWCB
- ASFPM Reduce Flood Risk webpage - an interactive flood mitigation resource library
- Larimer County floodplains information webpage (unincorporated properties impacted)
- Colorado Hazard Mapping & Risk MAP Portal
- FEMA Map Service Center
- Adoption of Flood Insurance Rate Maps by Participating Communities (FEMA 495)
The Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) shows the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This area consists of the floodway and the flood fringe; together, they represent the area likely to be inundated by the 100-year (1 percent) annual chance storm event. Even though your property may not be in the SFHA, you may still be subject to flooding and are eligible for flood insurance.
To review the recently released preliminary map revisions from FEMA, visit the Larimer County website or the Colorado Hazard Mapping & Risk MAP Portal. For questions and information on navigating the maps, please contact the Town's Floodplain Administrator, Jennifer Waters, at 970-577-3740 or email@example.com.
April 2021 Public Meeting
On April 1, 2021, community members were invited to participate in a virtual open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Management Agency (FEMA). View the meeting video.
During the open house, CWCB and FEMA presented a Preliminary Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for properties within the Estes Park town limits, as well as reviewed the adoption process and timeline.
Floodplain Regulations in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)
The Town has four major drainage basins with mapped floodplains. Since the 2013 flood event, FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) may no longer accurately reflect flood risk in Estes Park. The Town of Estes Park is now regulating to the hydrology studies completed in 2014 and 2017, and floodplain regulations revised in 2019. The Town is actively coordinating with the CWCB and the CHAMP team to obtain a revised FEMA Flood Insurance Study and revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
Floodplain management is a service of the Town to inform, educate and assist property owners in reducing flood damage. This includes regulatory, mitigation and resiliency efforts. Regulatory includes mapping, zoning, building requirements and more.
View the webpage dedicated to the Town's rivers and runoff resources.
View the Town's floodplains regulations in the Estes Park Municipal Code Title 18 - Floodplain Regulations.
A Floodplain Development Permit (FDP) issued by the Town may be required for work in the SFHA.
NOTE: Only engineers registered in the state of Colorado can apply for Floodplain Development Permits on behalf of the property owner.
An important element in floodplain management is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Established by Congress through the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, the NFIP is operated under the jurisdiction of FEMA. This federal program enables property owners to purchase flood insurance. By participating in the NFIP, flood insurance is available to local property owners. Any owner or renter in the Town of Estes Park may purchase flood insurance through the NFIP.
Estes Park joined the NFIP in the early 1970s, and since that time the Town has been active in floodplain management. The goals of the program are to:
- Reduce flood hazards
- Regulate floodplain activities
- Educate the public about flood risk and floodplain management