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Why do we need floodplain management?

More than 700 communities in the State of Ohio participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), including Lawrence County (unincorporated), the six villages in the county and the City of Ironton.

When a community joins the NFIP, they agree to adopt a Flood Reduction Resolution, or ordinance, and commit to enforcing these regulations.

The resolution adopted by Lawrence County requires the county to monitor development in Special Flood Hazard Areas, issue Floodplain Development Permits and do inspections on floodplain development projects.

The county floodplain management program does not perform maintenance activities in flood hazard areas, nor is it authorized or funded to do corrective action following a flood event.

Membership in the National Flood Insurance Program allows residents who have a federally backed mortgage on their property to purchase the required flood insurance coverage and makes the county eligible to receive federal disaster assistance in the event of a presidential declaration following a natural disaster such as flooding.

Even residents who are not required to purchase flood insurance can do so on a voluntary basis since the county belongs to the NFIP. Flood insurance is a federally backed and administered program sold through insurance agencies.

If you live in a special flood hazard area and are building a home, installing a manufactured home, building a non-residential structure, doing fill or grading work, performing stream maintenance or doing bank stabilization work, you must obtain a floodplain development permit from the SWCD Office.

Non-compliance with the Floodplain Regulations could result in the county being placed on probation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who administers the NFIP.

This means that the landowners who have flood insurance are required to pay a $50 surcharge until the county is removed from probation.

If the county is suspended from the program, then anyone with a federally backed mortgage in a special flood hazard area is required to pay 100 percent for the property or home up front.

Back in the 1990s, the County was put on probation for three years for not enforcing floodplain regulations. The county commissioners contracted with the CAO at that time to help bring the county into compliance. The probation was lifted in 1999.

The Flood Plain Management Program is still enforced in the county and is housed at the Soil and Water Conservation District Office. The county works very hard to ensure that this does not happen again.

It is very important that you contact the Soil and Water office to see if you are in a special flood hazard area before you begin any work.

Over the life of a 30 year mortgage there is a 10 percent chance you will experience a fire event at your home. Over the life of the same 30 year mortgage there is a 26 percent chance that you will experience a flood event at your home.

If you have any questions regarding floodplain management issues or need to apply for a floodplain development permit, call Joe Black at (740) 867-4737.

Carrie Yaniko is the Urban/Education Specialist for the Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District. She can be reached by phone at (740) 867-4737 or by e-mail at carrie.yaniko@oh.nacdnet.net.