Pierce County flood program earns higher ranking

On April 15, Pierce County was recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for achieving a Class 3 rating in...

On April 15, Pierce County was recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for achieving a Class 3 rating in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System. Mark Carey, FEMA’s Region X mitigation division director, made the presentation during Tuesday’s council meeting.
Following a 2007 audit of its flood management program, Pierce County was elevated from Class 5 to Class 3, making it the second-highest rated county in the nation behind neighboring King County. Pierce is the only Class 3-rated county in the nation and the fourth-highest-rated community. Of more than 1,200 communities that participate in the CRS program, only five have a rating of Class 4 or better. Pierce County has been participating in the program since 1987.
Communities that take steps to lessen or eliminate flood exposure are rewarded by the CRS program through lower flood insurance premiums. Communities are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, depending on the extra flood protection measures taken.
Pierce County’s discount on flood insurance premiums will rise from 25 percent to 35 percent as a result of the new Class 3 rating. Policyholders can expect to see their premiums drop as much as 10 percent in 2008, depending on their level of flood risk. This represents a combined savings of approximately $70,000, or about $48 for each of the 1,452 county flood insurance policyholders.
Pierce County’s newly upgraded status is the result of improvements since 2005 in floodplain regulation standards, basin-specific risk assessments and public outreach efforts. The county also received credit for its stormwater master planning and floodplain management plan by regulating areas of known flood hazards that do not appear on FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps and maintaining 36,448 acres of Special Flood Hazard Area as open space.

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