Flood Awareness Tool
Approximately 35% or 17,000 of Camden County residents live within the 100-year floodplain. Three coastal rivers flow through the County, and 50% of the land is classified as wetlands. Camden experiences the effects of sea level rise, storm surge, regular riverine flooding, and king tides. Two recent hurricanes (2016-2017), left hundreds of homes with flood damage. This will only increase as county growth is projected to increase in the coming years, putting more residents and properties at risk of flooding.
What is the Flood Awareness Tool?
The Flood Awareness Tool, or Flood Risk App, is part of the Camden County ‘Rise Ready’ coastal resilience toolkit. The online tool is designed to help planning officials, decision makers, and current and future residents make informed decisions to prepare for and reduce the impacts of flooding. Camden County promotes current and future residents using the Flood Risk App to:
- Know Your Risk: Understand general flood risk by bringing together local infrastructure and land use data with current and future flood risk data, including sea level rise estimations
- Visualize Risk: Comprehensive flood risk maps help bring awareness and promote smart land use planning, property purchasing, or renovation decisions
- Reduce Risk: Provides actionable steps to reduce flood risk, prepare for extreme weather events, and local resources that can help.
Note: This app is not intended to provide real-time flooding risks or evacuation information or substitute for engaging your local city or county floodplain management office or officials.
Know Your Flood Risk
In Camden County, properties within the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 100-year floodplain have a 26% chance of flooding over the course of a 30-year mortgage. However, almost 35% of flood insurance claims in Georgia come from outside the FEMA 100-year floodplain, suggesting that decisions to reduce flood risk are relevant to all Camden County residents, regardless of floodplain designation.
The Flood Risk App uses the most current data and projections to visualize flood risk, which can help property owners make smarter flood insurance and mitigation decisions.
Visualizing Flood Risk
The Flood Risk App enables users to visualize the flooding risk posed by a variety of sources:
- Sea Level Rise: Sea level rise will increase flooding impacts from other sources, such as storm surge and king tides. These risks should be considered when making decisions about flood insurance needs, building requirements, and future land use. The App incorporates future sea level scenarios using three sea level rise projections (intermediate, intermediate high, and high) over four future timeframes (2025, 2050, 2075, and 2100).
- Storm Surge: When hurricanes push water onto land above and beyond predicted tides, this is called storm surge. The app displays the extent of anticipated flooding based on various hurricane categories. There are also maps that combine future sea level rise scenarios with storm surge data.
How to Reduce Personal Flood Risk
After using the flood risk app to understand your current and potential future flood risk, there are a variety of steps property owners and developers can take to reduce impacts to themselves and their property.
1. Consider how your risk might change over the life of your property ownership. What type of flood insurance or permitting is most appropriate?
- Build responsibly by obtaining a permit to raise homes above minimum flood height standards by contacting your local community planning offices:
- Purchase flood insurance based on your current and future flood risk, not just based on DFIRMs (Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps), to facilitate recovery. Visit FEMA’s Flood Smart website or your local insurance agent to learn more.
2. Are there opportunities to keep open greenspace or remove or limit impervious surfaces to capture flood waters? Consider leaving buffers between buildings and waterways, and especially along eroding banks.
3. Consider green alternatives and nature-based solutions, such as living shorelines in lieu of bulkheads. Protecting and restoring open space in floodplains, marshes, and wetlands provides more areas for flood waters to be absorbed. Preserving dune systems protects communities from storm surge impacts. For more information, visit The Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Resilience website.
More about the Flood Awareness Tool
The Flood Awareness Tool is a brought to you via a partnership between the Camden County Community Rating System, Erosion & Sedimentation Coordinator, the City of St. Marys Community Development Department, the Coastal Regional Commission, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Coastal Resources Division, the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, and The Nature Conservancy.
This information was prepared by Camden County staff under grant award #NA18NOS4190146 to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources from the Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of DNR, OCM or NOAA.