Flood After Fire - Fire Recovery Resources

Recovery Resources for Residents Impacted by 2020 Larimer County Wildfires.

Larimer County joined the National Flood Insurance Program in 1974 and has been active in floodplain management since that time. Floodplains are regulated as an overlay zone in Larimer County. The floodplain regulations and the floodplain maps provide the foundation for Larimer County's Floodplain Management Program.

The links to the maps below can be used to determine the limits of the regulatory floodplains in Larimer County. The Larimer County Engineering Department can also be contacted to determine if a property is within a regulatory floodplain. It should be noted that there are many areas in Larimer County that are not shown within a regulated floodplain and have undetermined flood hazards. A property can still be at risk of flooding even if the property is not shown in a regulatory floodplain.

The 2013 flood event caused widespread damage and changes along waterways throughout the County and in other areas of the state. In response, the State of Colorado is taking steps towards bolstering long-term planning and resiliency efforts by funding the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program (CHAMP) that will update local hazard information including regulatory floodplain maps for the most affected waterways.  Information on CHAMP is available at the Colorado Hazard Mapping and Risk MAP Portal.

Fact Sheet on CHAMP from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB)

Flood Risk Fact Sheet - Colorado Risk MAP Projects (CWCB)Technical comments or questions can also be submitted to the Larimer County Engineering Department using the Technical Comments or Questions Card

FAQs

  1. To help determine if your property is within a regulatory floodplain, you can contact the Larimer County Engineering Department or view the floodplain boundaries via the County’s interactive map. Floodplain areas designated by FEMA on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) are also available online through FEMA’s Map Service Center.

    To view the floodplain information for your property using the County's interactive map, follow the steps below:

    1. Navigate to the Larimer County Floodplain website at www.larimer.org/engineering/floodplains
    2. Click the “Online Floodplain Map - Larimer County Land Information Locator” button near the top of the screen
    3. Type your address in the search bar at the top right of the screen, click the search icon. The search results will appear on the left side of the screen. Click the appropriate parcel from the list and the map will zoom into your property.
    4. Click the “Flood” button near the top of the screen if floodplain information is not already displayed
    5. Click the “Layer List” icon near the top left of the screen. A list of map layers will appear below.
    6. Scroll down to the “Floodplain” layer. Check the box next to “2021 FEMA (Preliminary)” to see the preliminary floodplain layer for your area. You can compare this to the current floodplain for your property by checking the “FEMA Floodplain (Current Effective)” on or off.

    There are several flood zones which may apply for your property. Open  Section 4 - Floodplain Map & Flood Zones of the Floodplain Development Guide for a list of flood zone descriptions and typical floodplain regulations that apply within them.

    Keep in mind that even if your property is not shown in a regulatory floodplain, it does not mean that there is no risk of flooding. There are many areas in Larimer County that are not shown within a regulated floodplain but have undetermined flood hazards.

  2. Structures in a floodplain may be damaged when flooding occurs. Some structures flood frequently, while others get damaged only by the more severe events.

    Flood insurance may be required. If you receive a mortgage or loan from a federally regulated or insured lender, you are required to have flood insurance if the structure is located in a FEMA floodplain. Generally, flood insurance can be purchased by contacting your homeowner's insurance agent. Even if you are not required to have flood insurance, it can still be a good investment if you live in or near a floodplain.

    Structures in the floodplain must comply with floodplain regulations. Larimer County requires permits for remodeling, improving, expanding, or building any structure in a floodplain. In order to reduce long-term flood damage, structures that are substantially improved or substantially damaged are required to become compliant with current floodplain regulations. Substantially damaged structures in a floodway cannot be repaired or replaced within the floodway if the damage was due to flooding. Refer to  Section 10 - Remodels, Repairs, & Improvements  of the Floodplain Development Guide to see guidance on repairs and improvements in a floodplain.

  3. You must submit a Floodplain Development Permit Application along with additional plans & documents to the Larimer County Engineering Department. Engineering staff will help determine which submittals are required for a particular project. Some projects within the floodplain will require review and recommendation from the Flood Review Board. Formal Map changes will also require approval from FEMA. After submittal, engineering staff will review your application for compliance with the floodplain regulations. For information on the floodplain development permit, refer to the Larimer County Floodplain Development Guide or contact staff at (970) 498-5732.

  4. The floodplain is any area that is susceptible to being inundated by surface water from any source. Mostly, this is the area adjacent to a river, creek, lake, stream, or other waterway that is subject to flooding when there is a significant run-off event. The floodplain is typically divided into a floodway zone and a flood fringe zone. The floodway is the channel of a river and adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height (six inches in Colorado). These areas are expected to have the fastest and deepest flows during a flood. The flood fringe areas are the outer edges of the floodplain where flows are shallower and slower moving. 

    You can view an illustration of the floodway & flood fringe through this link:  Floodway vs. Flood Fringe

  5. Certain uses are limited or even prohibited within the floodplain. New structures are prohibited and substantial modifications or improvements to existing structures within the floodway overlay zone are difficult. The floodway is highly restricted for development purposes since this area should be reserved in order to convey the expected flows within these limits. There are fewer restrictions within the flood fringe areas and new structures and development is generally allowed as long as the development meets the County floodplain regulations including proper elevation requirements.

    You must be issued a Floodplain Development Permit from Larimer County before you start any work, including grading, excavation or filling, in any portion of the floodplain.

  6. Floodplains are an overlay zone in Larimer County. The most current floodplain regulations can be found in Article 12 of the Larimer County Land Use Code

  7. In the 1960’s, the United States government decided to use the 1-percent annual exceedance probability (AEP) flood as the basis for the National Flood Insurance Program. The 1-percent AEP flood was thought to be a fair balance between protecting the public and overly stringent regulation. Because the 1-percent AEP flood has a 1 in 100 chance of being equaled or exceeded in any 1 year, it is also referred to as the “100-year flood.”

  8. Floods happen irregularly. The “100-year flood” is an estimate of the long-term average recurrence interval, which does not mean that we really have 100 years between each flood of greater or equal magnitude. The “100-year flood” is also known as the 1-percent annual chance flood, which means that a flood of this magnitude has a 1- percent chance of occurring in any given year. A home in the 1-percent (100-year) floodplain has a 26-percent chance of being flooded at least once during the span of a 30-year mortgage.

Floodplain

Floodplain

Attn Floodplain
Larimer County Engineering Department
200 West Oak Street, Suite 3000
P.O. Box 1190
Fort Collins, CO 80522-1190

(970) 498-5731 or (970) 498-5732
Email