Flood Damage Prevention

During a major rainstorm, some areas of Burgaw can experience flooding.  To mitigate the damage such events can cause, the town has adopted a Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance

Article 8 of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) outlines the town’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.  The purpose of this ordinance is to promote public health, safety, and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flood conditions within flood prone areas.  Its provisions are designed to:

  • Restrict or prohibit uses that are dangerous to health, safety, and property due to water or erosion hazards or that result in damaging increases in erosion, flood heights, or velocities;
  • Require that uses vulnerable to floods be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction;
  • Control the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels, and natural protective barriers, which are involved in the accommodation of floodwaters;
  • Control filling, grading, dredging, and all other development that may increase erosion of flood damage; and
  • Prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers that will unnaturally divert flood waters or that may increase flood hazards to other lands.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The National Flood Insurance Program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security and was established by Congress with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.  The NFIP enables property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance as a protection against flood losses in exchange for State and community floodplain management regulations that reduce future flood damages. 

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs)

A FIRM is a map created by the NFIP for floodplain management and insurance purposes.  It will generally show a community’s base flood elevations, flood zones, and floodplain boundaries.  As a property owner/renter, you can use this map to get a reliable indication of what flood zone you’re in.  However, maps are constantly being updated due to changes in geography, construction and mitigation activities, and meteorological events.  Therefore, for a truly accurate determination, contact your insurance agent or company, or your community floodplain manager.

Importance of Floodplains

Floodplains are a natural component of the environment.  Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps reduce flood damage and protect resources.  When flooding spreads out across the floodplain, its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flood flows downstream, reduce erosion of earthen stream banks and channel bottoms, deposition of sediments higher in the watershed, and improved groundwater surcharge.  Floodplains are scenic, valued wildlife habitat.  Poorly planned development in floodplains can lead to increased erosion, loss of valuable property, increased flooding to downstream properties, and degredation of water quality.