Your county's flood insurance rate maps are changing

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Flood Map Modernization Program recently released updated, preliminary digital flood hazard maps for Rock Island and Mercer counties that show the extent to which areas throughout the county are at risk for flooding.

Open Houses are located at the following dates and locations from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m:

Monday, Feb. 23 - Rock Island Open House - Milan Community Center, 2701 First St. East, Milan.

Tuesday, Feb. 24 - Mercer Open House - Mercer County Courthouse, County Board Room, Aledo.

Residents can view the new maps online at www.illinoisfloodmaps.org and submit comments for Rock Island County to Jason Conn at jason.conn@illinois.gov and Mercer County to Shelly Fuller at shelly.fuller@illinois.gov. IDNR will accept comments through March 25, 2009.

These new maps will undergo a month long review/comment period before their final adoption in late 2009. The revised maps will provide more recent, Internet accessible information about flood risk, replacing maps that are a several years old. They will also help community planners, engineers, builders and others to make important determinations about where and how new structures and developments should be built.

The newly released maps are part of a larger effort to modernize the nation's aging flood maps to reflect the most current flood risks and areas of recent growth. Water flow and drainage patterns change over time and the likelihood of flooding in certain areas may have changed as well.

Flood hazard maps, also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), indicate whether properties are in areas of high, moderate or low flood risk. In reviewing the new Rock Island and Mercer maps, some property owners may find that their risk is higher or lower than they thought. If the risk level for a property changes, so may the requirement to carry flood insurance. 

To ensure that all residents and property owners understand the map change process, IDNR and the Illinois State Water Survey are hosting a public open house on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where residents can view their new maps, submit comments, and learn how their properties may be affected. A separate meeting for county and public officials will take place earlier that afternoon.