FEMA Flood Map Update


FEMA Flood Map Update

FEMA timeline for new FIRM adoption

Flood Map Updates
Relevant Acronyms: 

  • CWCB - Colorado Water Conservation Board
  • FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • FHAD - Flood Hazard Area Delineation
  • FIRM - Flood Insurance Rate Map
  • LOMA - Letter of Map Amendment
  • LOMC - Letter of Map Change
  • LOMR - Letter of Map Revision
  • LOMR-F - Letter of Map Revision based on Fill
  • NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program
  • PMR - Physical Map Revision
  • SFHA - Special Flood Hazard Area
  • SOMA - Summary of Map Actions

Flood risk changes over time due to natural and man-made changes. The corresponding flood maps are revised periodically to reflect these changes and to improve map accuracy using better data and technology. The City of Ouray works with the CWCB and FEMA to study flood risk and update flood maps and hazard areas. Ouray has a history of destructive floods and debris flow hazards and has taken measures in the past to regulate and channel some of the area’s natural floodways (e.g. flumes, basins, diversions, etc.). The City’s current adopted flood map was adopted in 1985 and has had minor updates since then (2005; 2008). The CWCB and FEMA are updating statewide flood maps and hazard areas to better reflect current flood zones and areas of concern. 

Please review the following resources from CWCB and FEMA relating to Ouray’s flood mapping update (incl. Community meeting presentation slides from 6/29/2022, the City’s preliminary FIRM/FIS areas and maps, and additional resources and brochures for property owners). 

City of Ouray FIRM Preliminary Map

Preliminary FIS Report (Ouray County, including City of Ouray)

FEMA Letter of Appeal Start to the City of Ouray (December 2022)




* click "Acknowledge & Proceed"
* scroll to desired area(s) by adjusting the [+] and [-] buttons in the upper right corner of the Map Portal
* place your cursor towards the left side of the page and slowly scroll to view different layers and data sets as presented in a "story map" format

Major Flood Map Revisions
("Physical Map Revision" or PMR)
A PMR is a FEMA process that is used for large changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and is commonly used to incorporate CWCB Flood Hazard Area Delineation (FHAD) studies into the FEMA FIRMs.

Minor Flood Map Revisions
(called "Letter of Map Change" or LOMC)

  • A FEMA Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) is used to update flood maps to reflect changes as a result of a construction project.
  • A FEMA Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) can be used to remove a building or property from the SFHA when inadvertently mapped in the SFHA. A successful LOMA can help reduce or eliminate flood insurance premiums. This typically requires the services of a Professional Land Surveyor and may require an elevation certificate.

If you live in an area that is under revision

  • Property owners will be notified by either the CWCB or the City of Ouray of any FIRM revisions — whether you are at increased risk and have been added to the SFHA, or if you are at a reduced risk and have been removed from the SFHA. 
  • You are not required to do anything until you are officially notified of a change in the FIRM. However, it is recommended that all flood risk information be considered for emergency planning, mitigation, flood insurance, and development/redevelopment purposes. Carefully refer to the updated FIRM areas and consider the impacts of a future FIRM change, especially when developing or redeveloping a property. It is not advised to develop/redevelop in a manner that increases flood risk and thus may impact future flood insurance rates.
  • Consider purchasing flood insurance, even if it is not currently required; there may be benefits for current policyholders if your property's flood risk changes. 
  • If you have questions about buying or selling your property during the study period, please consult with your real estate agent. 

If you have comments or appeals to the preliminary FIRM/FIS data, contact:
Terri Fead, PE, CFM
Flood Mapping Program Manager
(303) 866-3441 x3230 or (303) 495-0153 (cell)

flood ouray - Copy (2)
Ouray Flood and Debris Flow on Main Street (1909)
Source: Denver Public Library Special Collections, X-12700

Sandbag stations set up in Ouray as flood precaution. Photo from article in Ouray County Plaindealer on Wednesday, June 5, 2019.  By Mike Wiggins and Erin McIntyre.
Sandbag stations set up in Ouray as flood precaution (2019)
Source: Ouray County Plaindealer on Wednesday, June 5, 2019
By Mike Wiggins and Erin McIntyre