Public Invited to Open House to Help Develop Polk County Flood Insurance Maps

News Release

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) is gathering input to better identify flooding risks in the Peace Creek watershed.

The District is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its national effort to update and modernize the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). As part of the effort, updates are being made to the floodplain information for the Peace Creek watershed.

The District is holding an open house in Polk County to present preliminary model results and explain the basis behind the findings. This information will be used to identify areas of flood risk and update FIRMs.

Open houses for residents living in the Peace Creek watershed will be held Dec. 11 and 12, at the Bartow Service Office. The office is located at 170 Century Boulevard, Bartow. District representatives will be available to meet with residents between 4 and 6:30 p.m.

Residents that may be affected by changes in flood risk have received letters advising them of the need to contact the District and attend the open house.

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 for permission to develop the preliminary FIRMs for submittal to FEMA.

Upon receipt of the preliminary FIRMs, FEMA will begin its FIRM adoption process, which includes:

•A technical review by FEMA
•Review by Polk County
•Public input
•A 90-day appeals period
•Issuance of a letter of final determination that informs Polk County and the public of the date when the FIRMs will be considered effective

The floodplain information will be used by the county 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 also will provide valuable information to the public for decisions about purchasing and protecting property.

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.