New Flood Zone Maps
A multi-year project to re-examine flood zones and develop detailed, digital flood hazard maps for Sausalito and Marin County was completed in 2016. The new maps reflect current flood risks and areas of recent growth, replacing maps that are based on analyses that were conducted up to 30 years ago. As a result, property owners throughout Sausalito have up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible information about their flood risk on a property-by-property basis. And owners of many properties will learn that their risk is higher, or lower, than they thought. As someone with a stake in Sausalito's future, you should be aware of how the maps are changing and why — and how the changes will affect residents, business owners and professionals like yourself.
Flood Maps: A Risk Management Must
Flood hazard maps, also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), are important tools in the effort to protect lives and properties. By showing the extent to which areas of Sausalito — and individual properties — are at risk for flooding, flood maps help business and property owners make better financial decisions about protecting their property. These maps also allow community planners, local officials, engineers, builders and others to make important determinations about where and how new structures and developments should be built. To ensure that everyone within Sausalito has access to the most accurate and up-to-date information about flood hazards, the new maps are available to the public in a variety of electronic formats as well as on paper.
A Better Picture of Flood Hazards
Over time, water flow and drainage patterns change due to surface erosion, land use and natural forces. The likelihood of inland, riverine and coastal flooding in certain areas has changed along with these factors. New digital mapping techniques provide more detailed, reliable and current data on flood hazards. The result: a better picture of the areas most likely to be impacted by flooding and a better foundation from which to make key decisions. The flood map modernization project has been a joint effort between the cities in Marin, Marin County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in cooperation with association and private sector partners.
Everyone is at Some Risk for Flooding
Some property owners may find they have been required to carry flood insurance from the new maps that took effect (March 16, 2016). Flood insurance is federally required for most mortgage holders in high-risk areas. Property owners who feel that they have been incorrectly placed in a high-risk area have Some properties may go from a high-risk area to a low- or moderate-risk area. While flood insurance is not required for properties in these areas, this new designation only means that the risk for flooding is reduced — not removed. Twenty to 25 percent of all flood claims occur in low- to moderate-risk areas. Flood insurance is still an important safeguard for those in areas of low to moderate risk, and lower cost options are available. In addition to areas identified by FEMA as having the potential for flooding with depths of one foot or more with a 1% annual chance, the City has determined that the areas of moderate flood hazard in Sausalito are susceptible to the adverse impacts of sea level rise.
FEMA has created Increased Flooding Scenario Maps for the interior shoreline for all nine Bay Area counties. These new non-regulatory products complement the National Flood Insurance Program regulatory products, i.e. the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), Flood Insurance Study reports and GIS databases per County. These maps utilize the most up-to-date coastal floodplain mapping data based on FEMA’s San Francisco Bay Area Coastal Study and provide additional information on how the 1-percent-annual-chance (i.e. 100-year) coastal floodplain may change with a 1-foot, 2-foot, and 3-foot increase in Bay water levels: http://www.r9map.org/Pages/San-Francisco-Coastal-Bay-Study.aspx
National Flood Insurance Program
Information about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available here: https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program
City of Sausalito Floodplain Administration
The City's Floodplain Administrator is its City Engineer. On April 19, 2016, the City Council of the City of Sausalito had a second reading and adopted Ordinance No. 1234, REPEALING EXISTING MUNICIPAL CODE CHAPTER 8.48 (FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT), AND ADOPTING A NEW CHAPTER 8.48 (FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT) OF THE SAUSALITO MUNICIPAL CODE. The existing regulations (SMC § 8.48) are available here: http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/Sausalito/html/sausalito08/Sausalito0848.html#8.48
The newly adopted Ordinance No. 1234 can be viewed here: Approved Ordinance 1234
- Click here for Map 1 (Tamalpais Avenue, Marin County unincorporated areas, and the more elevated portions of Sausalito)
- Click here for Map 2 (Close up of Sausalito, Alexander Avenue to the very North end of town)
- Click here for Map 3 (Fort Baker Military Reservation)
The new Flood Insurance Studies, Volume I through III can be viewed here:
- Click here for Volume I (Intro, area studied, engineering methods, applications, Insurance rate map, etc.)
- Click here for Volume II (Floodway data, FIRM notes to users, map legend for FIRM, etc.)
- Click here for Volume III (Flood Profiles, rate map index, etc.)
Use the National Flood Hazard Layer Web Map Service (WMS) in Google Earth: https://hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/wps/portal/NFHLWMSkmzdownload
Stay Dry -- a focused FEMA application that provides basic flood hazard map information from FEMA's National Flood Hazard Layer for an address. It allows you to view flood hazard zones and Flood Insurance Rate Map numbers and boundaries.
Stay Dry v3.0.1 kmz
FEMA NFHL -- a general application that provides for the display of flood hazard zones and labels, floodways, Coastal Barrier Resources System and Otherwise Protected Area units, community boundaries and names, base flood elevations, cross sections and coastal transects and their labels, hydraulic and flood control structures, flood profile baselines, coastal transect baselines, limit of moderate wave action lines, river mile markers, and Flood Insurance Rate Map and Letter of Map Revision boundaries and numbers. Additional reference layers include the status of NFHL data availability, point locations for Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs) and Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR–Fs). You control the information displayed by turning layers on and off. A basic knowledge of Google Earth and FEMA flood hazard information will help users of this application.
The name of each layer is hyperlinked to a description of the layer, the map symbols used for the layer, and links to other FEMA web sites relevant to the layer. If a layer is turned on, clicking the text below the name of the layer (text that starts with "Draws at…") zooms the Google Earth view to a sample display of the layer. Layers are organized for display at one or more of three "eye altitude" (map scale) ranges in Google Earth: status maps at high altitudes, regional overviews of flood hazards at medium altitudes, and detailed flood hazard maps at low altitudes. Click on the hyperlinked folder name of the application to see the altitudes at which data in the layers are displayed. https://hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/kmz/FEMA_NFHL_v3.0.1.kmz
Please contact Jonathon Goldman, City Floodplan Administrator, with questions regarding the proposed maps at (415) 289-4176 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Public Works department will provide additional information as it becomes available.