FEMA Announces Policy Updates to Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping Standards

Dec 10, 2015 | News & Views, What's New

FEMA Announces Policy Updates to Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping Standards

FEMA announces the revision of nine Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (RiskMAP) standards as part of the semi-annual maintenance process. The changes clarify existing policy on validation procedures for existing flood maps and adjusting elevation data to account for temporary disturbances related to beach nourishment. The changes adopt the latest USGS/3D Elevation Program specification for lidar and clarify the requirement for all Letters of Map Revisions to update the National Flood Hazard Layer and to reflect the location for LOMRs in the NFHL. Finally, a new standard establishes policy for applying the regulatory definitions in the identification of primary frontal dunes. This standard provides clarification for how FEMA will interpret the “continuous or nearly continuous” element of the regulatory definition of a primary frontal dune going forward. This clarification is most likely relevant to property specific requests for revisions to the primary frontal dune designation.

A summary of the changes in the standards and the public review is available at the FEMA library.

As part of this maintenance cycle, FEMA also issued new guidance documents for RiskMAP and updated the related technical reference documents that define specific requirements for flood risk project deliverables. An overview of RiskMAP standards and guidance and access to all documents is available at

In August 2013, a set of standards for the RiskMAP program was issued as the FEMA policy “Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping.” RiskMAP provides high quality flood maps for communities to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as information and tools to better assess the risk from flooding. The standards enable consistent performance of flood risk projects, processing letters of map change, and related RiskMAP activities.

RiskMAP instituted a semi-annual maintenance process for this policy to provide regular updates and procedures for mapping. Updates to the mapping standards will typically be issued twice yearly.