Floodplain Management

What is floodplain management?

Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of preventive and corrective measures to reduce the risk of current and future flooding, resulting in a more resilient community. These measures take a variety of forms, are carried out by multiple stakeholders with a vested interest in responsible floodplain management and generally include requirements for zoning, subdivision or building, building codes and special-purpose floodplain ordinances. While FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has minimum floodplain management standards for communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which the City does, in 2012 the City of Mary Esther passed a 28 page ordinance adopting requirements at the local level to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flooding through regulation of development in flood hazard areas.

Floodplains and property ownership

Anywhere it rains, it can flood. The fact that you haven’t experienced a flood in the past doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn't based only on history; it's also based on factors such as rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge data, topography, flood-control measures and changes due to building and development. Knowing your risk and taking action to reduce it will help you recover more quickly after a flooding event.

To reduce your flood risk, you need to know your level of risk. The City of Mary Esther floodplain map can be viewed here. Flood hazard maps show different degrees of risk for your community and help determine the cost of flood insurance. The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium. To view a flood map of your specific property, click here.

Flood zones are most commonly defined as X zones, A zones and V zones. 

Moderate to low risk

B and X Zone (shaded): Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100‐year and 500‐year floods. B Zones are also used to designate base floodplains of lesser hazards, such as areas protected by levees from 100‐year flood, or shallow flooding areas with average depths of less than one foot or drainage areas less than 1 square mile.

C and X  Zone (unshaded): Area of minimal flood hazard, usually depicted on FIRMs as above the 500‐year flood level. Zone C may have ponding and local drainage problems that don't warrant a detailed study or designation as base floodplain. Zone X is the area determined to be outside the 500‐year flood and protected by levee from 100‐year flood.

High risk

A Zone:  Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. The lowest floor of a building shall be located no lower than one foot above the base flood elevation.

V Zone: Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. The lowest floor of a building shall be located no lower than one foot above the base flood elevation.

Protect Yourself with Flood Insurance

Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. From 2010 to 2014 the average residential flood claim amounted to more than $39,000. In 2014, the average flood insurance policy premium was about $700 per year. Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss. For information about purchasing a flood insurance policy for residential or commercial property, even if you are a renter, visit floodsmart.gov's webpage for valuable information. Remember, there is a 30 day waiting period for new policies. 

Other sources and information

Floodplain maps and other information such as available elevation certificates, building regulations for areas located within a floodplain, stream dumping regulations, and flood proofing your current home or a proposed new home can be obtained by visiting the Planning and Zoning Department located at 195 N. Christobal Road, Mary Esther, FL 32569, by calling 850-243-3566 Ext.16 or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Links and sources are also provided below.

Are You Flood Smart

Floodplain Map

Flood Zone Designations



Stormwater & Floodplain Management

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Agendas and Minutes

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