Updated Fortuna floodplain maps could reduce local flood insurance – Times-Standard

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Floodplain maps along Rohner and Hillside creeks in Fortuna have been revised and many homeowners will now have lower flood insurance premiums or may not be required to have flood insurance at all.

The Rohner and Hillside Creek multi-phase flood control project was completed in 2020, and since then local officials have been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on revised floodplain maps. The revised maps were finalized on September 3.

About 150 landowners are affected and each has received a letter from the city explaining what the new maps mean. Each letter includes a comparison of old and new maps that apply to each individual property.

The letter says updated flood maps indicate that the risk of flooding has been reduced in the Rohner and Hillside Creek watersheds. The high-risk flood zone has been reduced within the banks of the channel. This property is now in a low to medium risk area and flood insurance premiums may decrease or you may not be required to purchase a policy. It no longer means you are at risk; this means that the risk is lower.

Fortuna City Manager Merritt Perry said revised floodplain maps were long overdue.

“It’s unusual for a town the size of Fortuna to undertake a project of this magnitude and successfully ask FEMA to remap the floodplain,” Perry said. “This effort took 10 years and $ 10 million and will reduce the risk of flooding for many homeowners.”

Perry said many homeowners will realize a significant reduction in flood insurance costs and many may no longer be required to purchase flood insurance.

The specific area where the floodplain maps are revised is along Rohner and Hillside creeks within the city limits, between 12th Street and Rohnerville Road.

Not only did the project reduce the risk of flooding, but it also included improving streams for habitat improvement. The upgrades included the installation of concrete weirs and new culverts for fish passage and the restoration of the natural steam channels of the two streams.

“We had an amazing team of engineers and contractors throughout the life of this project who really contributed to its success and completion on budget,” said Perry. “This, coupled with the cooperation of many owners (and companies) made a very potentially difficult project much easier than it could have been otherwise.”

Much of the project was funded by grants, including the FEMA Risk Mitigation Grants Program, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grants Program, and the City of Fish & Wildlife Measure E. Fortuna.


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