Floodplain Management

Flood Insurance Rate Map Update

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Brown County are hosting a Flood Risk Open House to provide Brown County residents with an opportunity to learn more about their updated flood maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Community officials and FEMA representatives will be on hand to answer citizens’ questions about the maps, the mapping process, and flood insurance. 

During this time, residents can locate their property on the new maps. They will have the chance to talk to members of the project team, flood insurance professionals, and state officials about what their homes’ placements on the new maps means.

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States. It is vital that property owners understand their risk and take advantage of the tools and programs available to them, including flood insurance. The FIRM and the associated Flood Insurance Study report are used by flood insurance companies to determine flood insurance requirements and costs. 

For more information or to access the mapping portal where you can view the updated maps, visit www.msc.fema.gov/portal. You may also speak with a map specialist at the FEMA Flood Map Information eXchange (FMIX) at 1-877-336-2627

Open House Frequently Asked Questions

What changes will we see on the new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)?

Some buildings, for the first time, may be included in the high-risk area, known as the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). 

  • If, based on the new maps, the building is in the SFHA (flood zones beginning with “A”, “AE”, “V,” or “VE”) and is mortgaged through a federally regulated and insured lender, the property owner will be required to carry flood insurance after the new maps go into effect. 
  • Some buildings will be shown in the new maps as being in a different high-risk zone (e.g., from Zone AE to Zone VE) or may have their Base Flood Elevation (BFE) increase or decrease. 
  • Premiums are generally higher in areas that are at greater risk of flooding than in those at moderate or minimal risk of flooding. Therefore, changes in the BFE will affect flood insurance rates.

However, some buildings may be removed from the mapped SFHA.

  • If the building is currently mapped in an SFHA, but on the new FIRM it is mapped into a moderate-to-low-risk flood area, flood insurance is no longer federally required. 
  • However, the mortgage holder/lender may still require flood insurance. 
  • Homeowners and renters, at their discretion, may maintain flood insurance at the lower rates offered for buildings outside the SFHA. 

Is it possible for me to view where my home lies on the new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) prior to the Flood Risk Open House?

Yes. Please click on the following link to view where your home lies on the revised preliminary FIRMs: https://msc.fema.gov. The preliminary FIRMs are available on the FEMA Map Service Center website, https://msc.fema.gov. You can also obtain them by contacting the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) at 1-877-336-2627 (1-877-FEMA MAP) or your local floodplain administrator or building official.

Who should attend the Flood Risk Open House?

You should attend a Flood Risk Open House if your property is currently mapped within an SFHA, newly mapped into an SFHA, and/or if you currently have flood insurance. If you are unsure of your flood risk, please refer to the preliminary FIRMs that are available on the FEMA Map Service Center website, https://msc.fema.gov/portal, or call the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) at 1-877-336-2627 (1-877-FEMA MAP) or your local floodplain administrator or building official.

What happens at the Flood Risk Open House?

Property owners can meet one-on-one with FEMA representatives who will be able to explain the preliminary flood hazard maps and answer questions about flood insurance. 

Do I have to stay at the Open House for the entire time?

No. Come at any time between the hours indicated—we recommend planning to spend up to an hour at the Open House to ensure you have enough time to get the information you need. The Open House is structured so you can move freely between the stations. While we suggest everyone visit the Property Lookup Station first, attendees can decide on their own which stations to visit. 

As a homeowner, what should I bring to the Flood Risk Open House?

You only need to bring along an address to learn about your current level of flood risk. You may also bring a current flood insurance policy and/or elevation certificate for more specific information about your flood insurance options. 

Will I have to buy flood insurance?

Flood insurance rates are determined by the current effective FIRMs. If, according to the new preliminary maps, your property is located in an SFHA and is mortgaged through a federally regulated and insured lender, you will be required to purchase flood insurance once the preliminary map becomes effective. There is time—the updated maps are not scheduled to go effective until 2022 or 2023. However, flooding can happen wherever it rains, which means purchasing flood insurance is a good idea even for property owners in low-risk areas.

Will I be able to buy insurance on-site?

No. NFIP policies can be purchased from any state-licensed property and casualty insurance agents. Through working with a specialized agent, you should be able to discuss different insurance options and decide which one would be best for you. You may already work with these agents for other property insurance needs. To find an insurance agent in your area who sells flood insurance, visit FloodSmart.gov at: www.floodsmart.gov.

What if I disagree with the new maps? 

You can formally appeal information that is presented in the new maps. The Open House is a great place to learn more about the appeal process, including how to file an appeal or comment. If you are unable to attend the Open House, your local floodplain manager’s office is a key resource for appeals information. You also can learn more about the process here: https://www.fema.gov/homeowners-frequently-asked-questions.

Flood Protection

Believe it or not, Green Bay has experienced substantial flooding in the past and will again in the future. The primary source of this flooding is the high water level of the bay affecting the Fox River, the East River, Mahon Creek, and many smaller creeks and drainage ways.

Intense rainfalls, rapid thawing of ice and snow, and ice dams also cause flooding in areas of the City that normally do not experience flooding. This is intended to answer some of your questions and offer ideas on what to do in case flooding is a concern to you.

Flood Risk Potential

Areas adjacent to the bay, rivers, streams, creeks, and drainage ways serve as temporary storage areas for high water. If you live near or inside one of these areas, you more than likely will be impacted by the high bay levels. Do you know what measures are needed to protect your property from flooding?

There are many relatively flat areas of the City and areas having unusual drainage patterns. If you live down slope of an area that drains near or through your property, you could be at risk for flooding. Would you like to learn more about localized flooding and how to protect your property?

Our parkways, ditches, and stream banks provide effective drainage controls from flooding by providing storage areas for high water or flooding conditions. However, when people dump or throw garbage, grass clippings, brush, fallen trees, or other debris in them, drainage ways can become potential sources for flooding. If you live near a drainage way, report any debris in these areas, and of course, do not dump or throw anything into them as it is a violation of Green Bay’s Municipal Ordinance.

Free City Services

Stop in the Inspection Division office to see if your property is located in one of the mapped Special Flood Hazard Areas. If it is, you can obtain handouts or talk with an inspector about protecting your property from flooding.

The City periodically inspects the parkways, streams, and drainage ways for accumulations of debris and blockages. If you have questions about them or wish to report a blocked drainage way, call the Operations Division at 920-448-3535.