March 21, 2012

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is gathering input to improve the identification of flooding risks in the Braden River watershed in Manatee County.

The District is serving as a cooperating technical partner for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its national effort to update and modernize the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Most of the current FIRMs are 10 to 30 years old and outdated because of natural and physical changes caused by land use, development and erosion.

The District will hold an open house to present preliminary floodplain information and explain the basis behind the findings. This information will be used to identify areas of flood risk based on watershed boundaries.

An open house for residents living in the Braden River watershed will be held at 4 p.m. April 5 at Lakewood Ranch High School, 5500 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. in Bradenton. District representatives will be available to meet with residents until 6:30 p.m.

Residents affected by changes received letters advising them to contact the District and attend the open house. Future open houses will be scheduled for additional watersheds as preliminary models are completed.

During the meeting, preliminary models and floodplain information will be presented to the public for review and comment. After addressing the comments, floodplain information will be finalized and presented to the District’s Governing Board.

The floodplain information will be used by the county and the District for land use and zoning decisions, to help manage development in and around floodplains and wetlands, to reduce flood risks, to preserve land and water resources, and for emergency planning. It will also provide valuable information to the public for decisions about purchasing and protecting property, and can be used by FEMA for updates to the FIRMs.

For more information or to find out which watershed you live in, please visit You can also call the District at (352) 796-7211, ext. 4297.

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