What is changing?

Do the flood maps in Minot and greater Ward County really need to be updated?

Our floodplain maps need to be updated to better protect our citizens. Flooding is one of the most common and costly disasters in the United States, including here in North Dakota. In fact, in the last 20 years, North Dakota has seen 28 disaster declarations, 17 of which were flood-related disasters.

Nearly every community’s flood risk changes over time – and that is certainly true throughout Ward County. This can be due to a number of factors, including erosion, land development, and intensified weather patterns.

The current flood hazard data we have for Ward County is more than 15 years old, and the technology used to assess flood hazards has become more sophisticated in that time. As a result, updating our flood maps will allow us to know much more about our community’s risk.

These more accurate maps will help identify our community’s areas of risk so we can work together to decrease these risks and help prevent injuries and property damage.

The City of Minot, Ward County, and the State of North Dakota are working alongside the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help identify our community’s flood risk and to create new flood maps using this improved technology.

In June 2017, FEMA released new preliminary flood hazard maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), for all of Ward County. These updated FIRMs, which were created using the most updated information and community input, provide the city and county with the most accurate picture of the extent to which homes, schools, churches, and businesses are at risk of flooding. 

What is Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP)?

The remapping of Minot and Ward County is occurring as part of the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) Program, funded through a partnership between the North Dakota State Water Commission and FEMA. The program provides communities with flood and other hazard information and tools they can use to enhance their mitigation plans and better protect their citizens.

Risk MAP is a multi-year effort to update the nation’s floodplain maps to provide the most accurate data to communities about their flood risk. This will help increase awareness of flooding risk, spur local action, and reduce risk to life and property from natural hazards. However, we are not alone in this effort. There are currently 821 stream miles being modeled in North Dakota, and another 23,000 stream miles will begin this process later this year.

The Risk MAP project in Minot and Ward County is tailored to our communities’ needs, and FEMA has worked with federal, state, tribal, and local partners to identify risks and help reduce those risks through these updates. This process will provide high-quality flood maps and tools to better assess the risk from flooding and inform our communities how and where to take action to minimize flood risk.