Map Modernization

FEMA, in cooperation with the Water Management District and Polk County, is modernizing the county’s floodplain maps. To see how these proposed changes affect your property, use the flood map viewer and enter your address. For comments, questions and concerns, contact the Land Development Division (863) 534-6765 or (863) 534-6767.

Federal Flood Map Update Project

Flood Map Update Milestones:

  • Preliminary Flood Maps Released:
    SWFWMD (West side of County) – March 27, 2015  
  • 90-Day Public Comment Period (Appeals and protests must be filed during this time):
    SWFWMD (West side of County) - July 2015 – September 2015 (estimated)
  • Final maps issued by FEMA with letter of final determination; Polk County has six months to adopt the new flood maps:
    SWFWMD (West side of County) - December 2015 (estimated)
  • New digital flood maps become effective:
    SWFWMD (West side of County) – June 2016 (estimated)
*Dates subject to change pending completion of the review process

An Important Nationwide Initiative

In Florida, flooding is the No. 1 natural disaster. To identify flood hazards, the risks they pose to people and property, and the regulatory boundaries of floodplains, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) develops flood hazard maps, officially known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps or FIRMS.

In 2003, FEMA embarked on a comprehensive, five-year initiative to update the nation’s flood maps to reflect current flood risks, working with local governments, water management districts, and other partners. The new maps are digital, rather than paper-based, and easily viewable online. Today, Flood Map Modernization continues and is transforming the way flood maps are created, viewed and used.

Why Polk County Flood Maps Need Updating

Polk County’s current flood hazard data is from 2000 and out of date. During that time, drainage patterns changed dramatically due to land use, surface erosion and other natural forces. As a result, the likelihood of flooding in some areas has increased significantly. The technology used to estimate flooding also improved dramatically. Updated maps will more accurately represent the risk of flooding. These maps are an important tool in the effort to protect lives and properties in Polk. Digital maps will be updated regularly.

Map Modernization Efforts in Polk County

The Federal Flood Map Update project is a comprehensive effort to remap the county’s flood risks using the latest flood modeling and digital mapping technologies. The Southwest Water Management District and the South Florida Water Management District partnered with FEMA to ensure local input into the process. This allowed the water management districts to have a direct hand in working with the counties and communities within their boundaries. The water management districts will guide the remapping process and providing support and direction for the outreach that is performed by the local counties and communities.

The new digital flood maps will provide detailed, property-specific flood risk data to guide construction and flood insurance decisions. With the planned release of these maps in 2016, Polk residents and business owners will have up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible data about the flood hazards they face.


•  Why You Need Flood Insurance  
•  Flooding : Facts and Figures
•  Flood Insurance: How it works 
•  The National Flood Insurance Program: Protecting Communities 
•  The National Flood Insurance Program: Summary of Coverage 
•  About the Flood Maps 
•  Saving on Flood Insurance: Grandfathering 
•  Effects of Map Changes - Property Owners  
•  Fact Sheet For Insurance Professionals 
•  Fact Sheet For Realtors 
•  General Info Brochure - New Flood Hazard Maps 
•  What Property Owners Should Know   

Important Links:

*Dates subject to change pending completion of the review process

Additional Information:

Randall Vogel (863) 534-6767 or
Brian Corcoran (863) 534-6765
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

For more details about effects of map changes on insurance, lender requirements and other technical questions related to map modernization in general (not local), contact:

FEMA Map Information Exchange (FMIX)
1-877-FEMA-MAP 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday

The Polk County Board of County Commissioners is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.

Polk County Board of County Commissioners

330 W. Church St.
PO Box 9005
Bartow, FL 33831-9005
(863) 534-6000

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