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Preliminary Revised Ravalli County Floodplain Maps

Clip from new Ravalli County Floodplain MapOn May 1, FEMA released preliminary revised flood insurance rate maps for Ravalli County.  These new maps are the result of two years of work by FEMA and the Montana DNRC and document the Bitterroot River floodplain and for the first time, floodplains for the Three Mile and Eight Mile drainages.
Approximately 1,700 Ravalli County landowners will be receiving notices that their property is either inside the new boundaries of the floodplain or very close to it.
A public meeting is planned for June 7  and will be held at the Bedford Building, 223 S. Second St., in Hamilton starting at 6:30 p.m.  Additional meetings will be held in various communities around the county after June 7.
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If our experience in Missoula County is any guide, there will be “winners’ and “losers” with the release of these maps – some folks who were in the floodplain will now find themselves out of it, while others who used to be out of the floodplain will now find themselves in it.
Heck, we experienced this ourselves with one of our clients in the southern part of Missoula County. In 2002, we helped someone by a home near the Bitterroot River and just North of the Ravalli County line. At the time, Missoula County was still using the old floodplain maps from the late 1980’s and the home was not in the floodplain.
Fast forward to 2009 and our client decides to sell the home. Lo and behold, Missoula County had released their new maps in 2008 and the home was now partially in the floodplain (Ouch!) – Thankfully, the part of the home that was now in the floodplain was an attached garage that had been converted to living space and flood insurance was minimal and the home sold fairly quickly.
We’ll be keeping an eye on how things progress in Ravalli County.