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Historically, floods have been the most destructive natural disaster in Utah.  In addition to fatalities, floods result in considerable economic damage to individual property and to public facilities. But if we know what areas are most likely to flood, we can concentrate our mitigation efforts there.

The figures above do not include crop damage.  Retrieved Tue, 20 April 2021 from the Utah Department of Health, Utah Environmental Public Health Tracking Network Web Site: http://epht.health.utah.gov/

Addressing floods: the most costly natural disaster in Utah

Risk MAP (Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning) is a FEMA-funded program designed to reduce the costly burden of flooding events. Our process uses high resolution data and hydro-modeling techniques to delineate areas of high risk. We then help communities find the resources they need to mitigate this risk. The program creates flood information products, risk assessment tools and planning and outreach support. Each project is tailored to the needs of participating communities and may involve different products and services. The goal is to strengthen local ability to make informed decisions about reducing risk from flooding.


What is Risk MAP?

Risk MAP in Utah

Utah's Division of Emergency Management is FEMA's Cooperating Technical Partner in Utah

Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Program that provides communities with flood information products, risk assessment tools and planning and outreach support. Each Risk MAP flood risk project is tailored to the needs of each community and may involve different products and services. The goal is to strengthen local ability to make informed decisions about reducing risk from flooding.

In Utah and most other states, FEMA uses partnerships to deliver high-quality mapping products, risk assessment tools, and planning and outreach support. Here in Utah, FEMA’s Coordinating Technical Partner is the Utah Division of Emergency Management (DEM). Utah’s Risk MAP program is actively collecting data and working with highly qualified engineers, counties and communities to create, update and digitize flood risk information all over the state.


Risk MAP increases the accuracy of flood risk information

Risk MAP flood maps and other digital products represent a huge improvement in our ability to determine and represent risk to Utah communities.

  • LiDAR provides extremely accurate elevational and positional measurements. Furthermore, the use of LiDAR can help capture entire watersheds in coarse scale studies.
  • Updated hydrology data shows accurate stream locations
  • Advanced hydrological models predict water flow
  • Community involvement and use of community data improves accuracy and buy-in
  • A variety of data products are produced to help communities to identify risks and mitigate them.

The Utah Geographic Reference Center (UGRC) is an outstanding resource for geospatial data users. UGRC develops and hosts GIS data resources for online and desktop mapping. Much of the auxiliary data Risk MAP uses to represent flood risk can be found on UGRC’s website. You can also find .5 and 1 meter resolution LiDAR.


The Risk MAP pr

The Risk MAP Process

A multi-year effort that involves local, city and county experts and administrators

Each Risk MAP project requires the participation of local, city, and county floodplain administrators and other community officials. Local experts and administrators are involved all the way through to the adoption of an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) into their floodplain management ordinance. This involvement may include validating map update needs; participating in Discovery and other Risk MAP meetings before, during and after the preparation of the FIRM; identifying topographic and base map data sources; reviewing data and mapping products; and serving as the local repository for historic and effective Flood Hazard Boundary Maps, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), Flood Insurance Studies, and Letters of Map Change.

What to expect during the Risk MAP process:

Some people are surprised how long it takes to complete a Risk MAP project. Since the resulting map is a regulatory product, we take our time to gather community input and get feedback on a preliminary draft.

Risk MAP produces maps, gives trainings, and pulls together partners. We gather success stories to help others learn.


What is Risk MAP?

A History of Flood Mapping in Utah

Utah’s first regulatory flood map was published in 1973.

Utah’s mapping effort has focussed on the areas where most Utahns live—along the Wasatch Front. Now however, Utah’s Risk MAP program is actively collecting data and working with counties and communities all over the state. We are creating, updating and digitizing information that will ultimately be used to protect life and property.

Has your area been mapped?

See what areas have been mapped in the past, and where current projects are located.


What is Risk MAP?

Access flood zone information online

Is your home in a flood zone?

Here is everything you need to know to find out if you are in a high risk flood zone: FEMA’s Map Service Center lets you search by address and view results according to the National Flood Hazard Layer. Find out if you are in or near a recognized floodplain.

Understand what it means to be in a Special Flood Hazard Area

Find out how to access flood maps and data, and how to interpret risk according to zone.

Find out if you’re in a flood zone  

Use the FEMA Flood Map Service Center to find flood hazard products and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.

Download instructions

We’ve created an instruction sheet to help you view, save, and download a flood map of your area of interest.

My Community’s flood boundaries are changing!

If there is an active project in your community, you may want to check to see what boundaries are likely to change. Preliminary maps are available for the following areas:


Risk MAP Leads to I mpro

Risk MAP Leads to Improved Flood Mitigation

Mitigation pays off in the long run

The more a community knows about flood risk, the more it can do to protect its residents, facilities, and businesses. Risk MAP supports community resilience by providing data, building partnerships, and supporting long-term hazard mitigation planning by showing how risk varies within a given geographic space.

Here are some materials that will help spark ideas and pathways for floodplain mitigation in your community.

There are a number of ways that individuals property owners can greatly reduce their risk from flood damage.

Cities and communities carry out mitigation projects to prevent damage to neighborhoods, drainages or shorelines.

Some forms of community mitigation—like debris basins—are expensive! Most communities use a combination of funding sources including federal grants.

https://www.planningforhazards.com/planning-tools-and-strategies


What is Risk MAP?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Protect your home and family

The National Flood Insurance Program or NFIP is a voluntary program that communities can join to offer affordable insurance to their constituents. Choosing to participate requires these communities to agree to specific development and construction standards designed to minimize risk from flooding.

The following two links will help you learn more about how the NFIP program works.