New FEMA floodplain maps bring changes to Morgan County — The Fort Morgan Times

Proposed Changes to Effective Floodplain in Morgan County, Colorado. (Red = increase, Green = decrease, blue = no change.)
Proposed Changes to Effective Floodplain in Morgan County, Colorado. (Red = increase, Green = decrease, blue = no change.)

From The Fort Morgan Times (Stephanie Alderton):

If the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s latest floodplain maps go into effect in 2017, Morgan County’s flood risks will look a little different.

As a part of the National Flood Insurance Program, Morgan County’s highest flood risk areas are shown on maps created by FEMA, which help determine property values and insurance rates. For the first time in about 35 years, FEMA has released a new preliminary floodplain map for the county. It introduces several changes to the old map, making the floodplain smaller in some areas and bigger in others.

The map labels areas that are at low, moderate and high risk from flooding, based on the flow rates of nearby rivers. Properties in high-risk areas have higher flood insurance rates and more building restrictions. The last update to Morgan County’s floodplain map was in 1989, while the maps for specific towns like Brush haven’t been updated since 1981.

For some parts of Morgan County, the new flood map isn’t big news. The city of Fort Morgan has always been too elevated to be greatly affected by the floodplain, and Bradley Curtis, the Engineering and Public Works director, said that hasn’t changed.

“It has minimal effects,” he said. “Not a whole lot of developments are affected apart from Riverview Park and the area down by Maverick’s, which we knew about already.”

Parts of Fort Morgan were flooded during the summer, but that was due to heavy rainfall rather than an overflowing river. The FEMA maps only take overflow from nearby rivers into account when predicting flood risks.

For other towns, the re-mapping is a bonus. Much of the town of Wiggins was in the floodplain under the old map, but now it’s considered a low-risk area. Trustee JoAnne Rohn-Cook said she’s delighted by the new map.

“Since the last survey was done, a dike was built west of the town, so I think that helped,” she said.

From The Brush News-Tribune:

For more information about updates to local FEMA floodplain maps, go to, call the Morgan County Planning and Zoning office at 970-542-3526, or visit the following sites:

Wiggins – (click on the link at the bottom left of the homepage).

Brush – (click on the “floodplain updates” link).

Morgan County – (click on the links under “Important Public Announcements”).

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