FEMA Invites Public to Review Flood Maps in St. Mary’s County; Opens 90-day Appeal Period

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is proposing updates to the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for St. Mary’s County, MD. Community members and partners are invited to participate in a 90-day appeal and comment period.

The updated maps were produced in coordination with local, state, and FEMA officials. Before the maps become final, community members and local organizations can identify any corrections or questions about the information provided and submit appeals or comments. These determinations were made after a multi-year project to re-examine St. Mary’s County’s riverine (non-coastal) flood zones and develop detailed, digital flood hazard maps.  If you are an affected property owner, you will receive notification letters, the first round of notification letters was mailed on August 24, 2023.   

The 90-day appeal period will begin on or around August 31, 2023. Residents, businesses, and other community partners are encouraged to review the updated maps to learn about local flood risks and potential future flood insurance requirements. They may submit an appeal if they perceive that modeling or data used to create the map is technically or scientifically incorrect.

  • An appeal must include technical information, such as hydraulic or hydrologic data, to support the claim.
  • Appeals cannot be based on the effects of proposed projects or projects started after the study is in progress.
  • If property owners see incorrect information that does not change the flood hazard information—such as a missing or misspelled road name in the Special Flood Hazard Area or an incorrect corporate boundary—they can submit a written comment.

The next step in the mapping process is the resolution of all comments and appeals. Once they are resolved, FEMA will notify communities of the effective date of the final maps.

The preliminary maps may be viewed online via the FEMA Flood Map Changes Viewer at: http://msc.fema.gov/fmcvSubmit appeals and comments by contacting your local floodplain administrator, Valerie Caswell, at valerie.caswell@stmaryscountymd.gov. Changes from the current maps may be viewed online via the Region 3 Changes Since Last FIRM (CSLF) Viewer.

For more information about the flood maps:

  • Use a live chat service about flood maps at http://go.usa.gov/r6C (just click on the “Live Chat” icon).
  • Contact a FEMA Map Specialist by telephone; toll free, at 1-877-FEMA-MAP (1-877-336-2627) or by email to FEMA-FMIX@fema.dhs.gov.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding. There are cost-saving options available for those newly mapped into a high-risk flood zone. Learn more about your flood insurance options by talking with your insurance agent and visiting floodsmart.gov.

Public Forum & Information

St. Mary’s County Government (SMCG) will host two public forums on September 13, 2023, at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m., in the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County (CSMC) Meeting Room of the Chesapeake Building, located at 41770 Baldridge Street in Leonardtown. SMCG staff, along with FEMA officials, will be available to answer questions and provide information on the mapping process, appeal process, flood insurance, and potential mitigation opportunities.

St. Mary’s County, MD Flood Mapping Milestones:

  • November 22, 2021 — Flood Risk Review Meeting to review draft flood hazard data.
  • November 29, 2022 — Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map released.
  • January 26, 2023 — Community Coordination and Outreach Meeting to review Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map and discuss updates to local floodplain management ordinance and flood insurance.
  • August 31, 2023 — Appeal Period starts.
  • September 13, 2023 — St. Mary’s County Public Forum.
  • November 29, 2023 — Appeal Period ends.
  • August 2024* — New Flood Insurance Rate Map becomes effective and flood insurance requirements take effect. (*Timeline subject to change pending completion of the appeal review process.)

If you have any questions, please contact FEMA Region 3 Office of External Affairs at (215) 931-5597 or at femar3newsdesk@fema.dhs.gov.