City Requests Natomas Basin Flood Zone Status Change

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Sacramento city officials today requested a flood zone map revision for the Natomas Basin.

The move comes after President Barack Obama signed the Water Resources Reform Development Act which includes congressional authorization of the Natomas Levee Improvement Project.

“While the passage of WRRDA does not allow for building in the Natomas Basin to resume immediately, it is the last obstacle to overcome for the city to work directly with FEMA to obtain a revision to the flood maps,” city manager John Shirey said.

Normally, the map revision process would take 18 to 24 months from the time the bill is signed into law however city officials hope to reduce the time required by working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Once building restrictions are lifted, city officials said they anticipate a phased and measured approach to construction, focusing first on restoration of damaged structures, completion of urban infill projects, and construction of critical infrastructure.

At this time insurance rates for Natomas-area homeowners will remain unchanged, but they will still be eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension.

Continued work on the levees will reduce, but not eliminate, the flood risk and property owners with federally-backed mortgages will still be required to purchase flood insurance.

In 2008, following Hurrican Katrina, the Natomas Basin was remapped by FEMA an AE flood zone after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined the levees no longer provided 100-year level of protection. As a result of the building restrictions in an AE flood zone, there has been a de-facto building moratorium associated with the Natomas Basin.

Since before 2008, city officials have worked with Sutter County, Sacramento County, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, the California Department of Water Resources, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA to identify and implement a comprehensive flood control project to provide a minimum of 100-year flood protection and will ultimately provide 200-year protection. The improvement project has been approximately 50% funded and constructed.

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