Floodplain Management and Regulations

Floodplain management checklist

The City of Fort Worth is a beautiful place to live, work and play thanks to the Trinity River and its floodplain.

The floodplains and adjacent waters are important assets that form complex physical and biological systems. When floodplains are preserved in their natural state, they provide open space areas for parks, bike paths and wildlife conservation.

Floodplains also reduce the severity of floods by storing rising waters and runoff. The natural vegetation in the floodplain improves the water quality of the lakes and rivers of Fort Worth by slowing down storm water runoff, which allows sediments and other impurities to settle out.

Flood insurance

Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage.

If the floor level of your property or structure is lower than the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) located on the city’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), consider ways to prevent flooding from occurring, such as retrofitting your building. “Retrofitting” means altering your building to eliminate or reduce flood damage. Measures include:

  • Elevating the building so that flood waters do not enter or reach any damageable portion of it
  • Constructing barriers out of fill or concrete between the building and flood waters
  • “Dry flood proofing” to make the building walls and floor watertight so water does not enter
  • “Wet flood proofing” to modify the structure and locate the contents so that when flood waters enter the building there is little or no damage, and
  • Preventing basement flooding from sewer backup or sump pump failure.

There are several good references on retrofitting in the Fort Worth Central Library, located at 500 W. Third St. Many of these will inform you about retrofitting techniques and help you decide which is best for you.

Flood Insurance

Basic homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage from floods, so purchasing federal flood insurance is highly recommended.

The City of Fort Worth participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which means that federally subsidized flood insurance is available to everyone in the city. Keep in mind that there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank or loan company when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. Remember that a flood insurance policy must be renewed each year.

Mandatory Purchase Requirement: The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair or improvement of any publicly or privately owned buildings in a SFHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures and furnishings contained in such buildings. If a building is located in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building.

Community Rating System

The National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed minimum requirements.

The City of Fort Worth is entering the CRS in the fall of 2011, and this will result in reduced flood insurance premium costs for homes or businesses in the floodplain. The three goals of the CRS are to reduce flood losses, facilitate accurate insurance ratings and to promote the awareness of flood insurance.

Flood Insurance facts

  • Affordable federal flood insurance is available to anyone living in Fort Worth who wants it, whether they are in a floodplain or not.
  • Homeowner's insurance rarely, if ever, covers damage from floods.
  • Typical flood insurance policies in Fort Worth for homes outside the floodplain run $200 to $300 per year. If you want to know if your home or business is in a floodplain, call 817-392-6261.

For more information about flood insurance contact, contact your insurance agent or visit the National Flood Insurance Program site.

Basic homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage from floods, so purchasing federal flood insurance is highly recommended.

The City of Fort Worth participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which means that federally subsidized flood insurance is available to everyone in the city. Keep in mind that there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank or loan company when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. Remember that a flood insurance policy must be renewed each year.

Mandatory Purchase Requirement: The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair or improvement of any publicly or privately owned buildings in a SFHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures and furnishings contained in such buildings. If a building is located in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. 

Flood Safety

More people die each year from flooding than do from lightning, tornadoes or hurricanes. Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related. Protect yourself by following these tips:

  • Learn the safest route from your home or business to higher, safer ground, but stay tuned to reports of changing flood conditions.
  • If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel or relative’s house.
  • Turn of all utilities, gas and electricity at the main switch. Stay away from power lines and electrical lines. Be alert for gas leaks.
  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood related deaths. Currents can be deceptive; just six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than in any other location. Vehicles also push water into homes and cause additional property damage.

High Water

The city is in the process of installing high-water warning flashers in the most flood-prone areas. To learn what to do during a flash flood, go to Turn Around Don’t Drown, or view the street flooding animation to see what happens to your vehicle in high water.

Flood Warning System

The Emergency Alert System will notify City of Fort Worth residents via local radio and TV, if flooding is imminent and if evacuation of the City is advised.

Additionally, the NOAA Weather Station Radio broadcasts weather information including warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information at 162.550 megahertz 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the National Weather Service Office in North Central Texas. The local contact number is 817-429-2631. Please call in reference to evacuation notices, procedures and shelters.

 

High Road Overtopping Mitigation(PDF, 2MB)

 

Development in the Floodplain

All development within the City of Fort Worth requires local and state permits. Contact the City of Fort Worth’s Development Services Department at 817-392-2222 for advice before you build, fill, place a manufactured home or otherwise develop.

The zoning ordinance, Floodplain Provisions Ordinance and the International Building Codes have special provisions regulating construction and other developments within floodplains. Without these provisions, affordable flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would not be available to property owners in the City of Fort Worth. Any development in the floodplain without a permit is illegal. Such activity can be reported to the Stormwater Management Division’s Customer Service at 817-392-6261.

Elevation certificates of some properties located in the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA’s) are on file in the Engineering Vault at City Hall. Copies of the available elevation certificates are available upon request.

Download an Application for Floodplain Development Permit.(PDF, 96KB)

Substantial Improvement Requirements

Substantial Improvement – The NFIP requires that if the cost of any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement to a structure exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the start of the construction, the improvements must conform to or meet the same construction requirements as a new building and satisfy minimum finish floor requirements specified in the Floodplain Provisions Ordinance.

Substantial Damage – Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a building or structure when the cost of restoring the building to its pre-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the building before the damage occurred. Substantial damage is determined regardless of the actual repair work performed.

The City of Fort Worth requires by ordinance that any substantial improvement or substantial damage improvement must have a building permit. Building permits can be obtained from the Development Services Department located at City Hall or by calling 817-392-2222.

Floodplain and Contractor Information

Visit our Contractor/Developer page for floodplain information and the Storm Water Design Manual.

Contacts

For questions about any development anywhere within the City of Fort Worth, contact the Development Services Department at 817-392-2222.

For questions or concerns about development specifically in a floodplain within the City of Fort Worth, contact the Stormwater Management Division’s Customer Service at 817-392-6261.

 

Flood Hazard

Downtown Fort Worth is situated near the confluence of the two largest rivers in the area – the Clear Fork Trinity River and the West Fork Trinity River. Other major streams in Fort Worth include Mary’s Creek, Marine Creek, Sycamore Creek, Village Creek, Dry Branch Creek, Little Fossil Creek, Big Fossil Creek, and White’s Branch.

Flooding in Fort Worth is typically produced by heavy rainfall from frontal type storms that occur during the spring and fall months. Flash floods are the most common type of flooding in Fort Worth.

Flood Protection Assistance

The Floodplain Management Group maintains information used to protect property from floods and reviews applications to build or remodel in the floodplain. The group provides residents flood information related to Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) including flood zones, base flood elevations (BFEs) and the possible presence of floodways. Where applicable, residents may be advised of flood depths, historical flooding, flood hazards not shown on the FIRMs, and natural floodplain functions. The group also provides advice and assistance on retrofitting techniques, such as elevating buildings above flood levels or the Base Flood Elevation, dry flood proofing and wet flood proofing.

Floodplain Management is located at City Hall, 200 Texas St., and can be reached by phone at 817-392-7947.

Additional guidance is available in the following FEMA resources