LIVE OAK, FLA., September 22, 2023 – Citizens in the Santa Fe Basin will be less impacted by FEMA Santa Fe Watershed flood risk map updates due to extensive public engagement and updated information facilitated by the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) between the counties and FEMA. Continued development of the FEMA Santa Fe Watershed flood risk maps is expected to reduce the impacts originally presented by as much as 75 percent overall.
The maps are revised periodically to improve flood information for the local communities to use in their planning and for development. The maps are also used to educate current and future property owners with updated information on their flood risk. Meetings to discuss changes to the flood maps for this region – which include certain areas of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Gilchrist, Suwannee, and Union counties – took place in February. Public comment was sought and taken into consideration for the development of the preliminary maps.
The comments received, as well as updated information provided to FEMA by the District, helped spur the reduction of properties that would have been newly designated as flood zones.
“This is one of the reasons why the District assists in the development of these maps with FEMA,” said Hugh Thomas, executive director of the District. “While it is not required, the District is able to collect feedback from the public and provide it to FEMA to better help them determine where flood zones are. Thanks to our staff and the community’s involvement, we are expecting to see a significant reduction in properties impacted when these maps are finalized.”
The new flood risk maps are still being developed and are currently not available for public review. However, they are expected to be available for review in Spring 2024 before becoming effective in 2025.
The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people. Headquartered in Live Oak, Florida, the District serves 15 surrounding north-central Florida counties.
For more information about the District, visit www.MySuwanneeRiver.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.