Time is running out for Flathead County to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new floodplain maps for the Evergreen area. The county's planning board outlined new areas designated as a flood plain at a public hearing Wednesday night. About 1,000 properties were added to the Flood Insurance Rate Map. The board recommended the County Commissioners approve amendments to the current county maps or face suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flathead County has been in the flood insurance program since the 1970s, giving landowners access to subsidized insurance against flood issues. Without the National Flood Insurance Program, the county risks limited access to federal disaster relief should a flood occur.
Property owners included in the new FEMA maps will have the option to purchase flood insurance, rates vary based on the flood plain designation assigned to the land parcel. Homeowners will also have to apply for "flood plain development permits" through the county for any new construction projects.
Evergreen residents hope the county adopts the maps as a safeguard against any future flood events.
Resident Britt Bennett recalls some bad flooding from years past, "We drove through a big lake of water here. The people back here had to take a boat to their house. There's a lot of damage that's been done with that. We need to know what's going on here and do the research and make a plan to make sure that doesn't happen to us."
Commissioners have until June 18th to make their decision.