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What is a floodplain?
Indiana Code 14-8-2-99 defines floodplain as "the area adjoining a river or stream that has been or may be covered by floodwater". The amount of flooding used to establish permitting jurisdiction is known as the regulatory flood. The regulatory flood is defined in 312 IAC 1-1-15 (Adobe pdf file) as "a flood having a 1 % probability of being equaled or exceeded in a year as calculated by a method and procedure that is approved by the commission. The regulatory flood is equivalent to the base flood or the 100-year frequency flood." The floodplain is divided into two districts: floodway and fringe. Proposed new developments and improvements are subject to different floodplain regulations depending on the location in relation to the floodplain.
What is the floodway?
The Floodway is defined in IC 14-8-2-102 as:
Requirements for the floodway portion of the floodplain:
The DNR Division of Water has jurisdiction in Indiana's floodways for most development activities. Typical examples of floodway projects subject to DNR review and approval are fills, excavations, bridges, utilities, and non-residential structures. See the Statutes/Rules section for specific information on the DNR's permitting jurisdiction.
What is the fringe?
The Fringe is defined in 312 IAC 10-2-24 as "portions of a floodplain lying outside the floodway".
How do I know if I am in a floodplain?
The regulatory floodplain is the area shown as Zone A on the local communities Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). This area includes both the floodway and the fringe portions of the floodplain. If your community participates in the NFIP, the local planning or zoning official probably maintains current copies of floodplain maps for your area. If not, development activities within the floodway portion of the floodplain are still subject to the applicable permitting program's requirements. If a floodplain determination cannot be made, the DNR's Division of Water does perform site-specific floodplain analysis and regulatory assessments. Fill out the Request for Floodplain Information form (pdf file ) in as much detail as possible and submit with a location map to inquire about the floodplain status of a particular property.
Requirements for the fringe portion of the floodplain:
There is no State review of or permit issued for development activities within the fringe portion of the floodplain. However, when a community adopts floodplain regulations, they must be approved by the Department, and may not be less restrictive than 312-IAC-10. In addition, most communities in Indiana participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which requires that certain federal regulations be adopted and enforced by the community for the entire floodplain. These regulations are in addition to the requirements of the State's floodway permitting and floodplain management programs. Federal regulations regarding floodplain management for communities that participate in the NFIP are listed in 44 CFR Part 60: Criteria for Land Management and Use.
National Flood Insurance Program in Indiana
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a Federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance. Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between the local community (County, City, or Town) and the Federal Government. It states that if the community will adopt and enforce certain floodplain management regulations to ensure safe development of flood prone areas, the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses. In Indiana, there are approximately 390 cities, towns, and counties that voluntarily participate in the NFIP. To view the complete list of communities in Indiana that participate in the NFIP, visit FEMA's web site. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Water, is the State Coordinating Agency for the NFIP. The Division of Water's Floodplain Management Section is responsible for providing technical assistance to local communities in implementing their floodplain management regulations. Staff members review communities' regulations and recent floodplain development to ensure compliance with the program and provide reports of their findings to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Division of Water also assists private citizens requesting information on floodplain management regulations. For more information on the NFIP, go to FEMA's NFIP web site.
Why do I need to purchase flood insurance?
For virtually every mortgage transaction involving a structure in Indiana, the lender has a Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFDF) completed. If it is determined that the structure is located within an identified floodplain and in an NFIP participating community, the borrower is notified that flood insurance will be required as a condition of receiving the loan. This fulfills the lender's obligation under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Reform Act of 1994 that requires the purchase of flood insurance by property owners who are being assisted by Federal programs or by Federally regulated institutions in the acquisition of structures located or to be located in the floodplain.
What if my property is in a floodplain and my community does not participate in the NFIP?
The purchase of flood insurance does not apply to conventional loans made by Federally regulated lenders when the community in which the building is located is not participating in the NFIP. In these cases, the lending institution is required to notify the borrower that, in the event of a flood-related Presidentially declared disaster, Federal disaster assistance will not be available for the repair of the building. Federally regulated or insured lending institutions are required in all cases to notify the borrower when the building being used to secure a loan is located in an identified floodplain. It should be noted that a Federally regulated lending institution that chooses to make a loan under these circumstances cannot sell the loan to the Federally regulated secondary market, which is a common practice.
Can I get the flood insurance requirement waived for my property?
If applicable, a Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA) can be issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for your property. A LOMA is an official revision by letter to an effective NFIP map. A LOMAÂ results from an administrative procedure that involves the review of scientific or technical data submitted by the property owner who believes the property has incorrectly been included in a designated floodplain. The key data needed to obtain a LOMA is to demonstrate that the lowest natural ground elevation adjacent to the structure is at or above the published base flood elevation for the property. A LOMA amends the currently effective FEMA map and establishes that a specific property is not located in a floodplain.
What is the Flood Control Revolving Fund?
The Flood Control Revolving Fund was created by the Indiana General Assembly in the 1950's to provide a low interest loan program to help finance local flood control programs. Through I.C. 14-28-5, a loan may be made to a municipality, city, town, county, or special taxing district for the purpose of instituting, accomplishing, and administering any approved flood control program as defined in the Flood Control Revolving Fund Act. The administration of the fund is vested in the Indiana Finance Authority as of July 1, 2015. They can be reached at the following link.
What is a conservancy district?
The Indiana Conservancy Act (IC 14-33) provides a mechanism by which landowners, through a circuit court process, can organize a special taxing district (a local unit of government) to solve specific local issues related to water resources management.
What area can be in a Conservancy District?
What is a River Basin Commission?
River Basin Commissions are established by the legislature to address basin wide water resource issues. The River Basin Commissions (Kankakee, Maumee, St. Joseph, and Upper Wabash) were established under IC 14-30. The Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission was established under IC 14-13-2. River Basin Commissions were created to:
The Division of Water's Project Development Section provides technical guidance and serves as a liaison between the DNR and the Kankakee River Basin Commission, the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, the Maumee River Basin Commission and the Upper Wabash River Basin Commission. The Division of Fish & Wildlife serves as the DNR liaison to the St. Joseph River Basin Commission.