Policies Related to Floods and Natural Hazards
Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan
Thurston County has adopted the September, 2009 "Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan for the Thurston Region." It is a multi-jurisdictional plan that addresses the most destructive natural hazards that threaten Thurston County and its communities.
National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to communities who wish to participate. Thurston County participates in the program, which means properties have the opportunity to purchase flood insurance through NFIP. It also means that Thurston County's development regulations are based on FEMA requirements. Click here for more information.
Thurston County Flood Hazard Management Plan
In 2012 the Thurston County Commissioners adopted the Thurston County Flood Hazard Management Plan. One of the 31 flood mitigation recommendations included in the Plan was for the County to continue participation in the Community Rating System and strive for a classification of Class 5 or better, as a primary measure of successful flood risk reduction. The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program within the National Flood Insurance Program.
Community Rating System
The County applied and has been a participant in the CRS program since 2000. The County was given a rating of Class 4 (out of 9). A rating of Class 4 means citizens who live in a 100-year floodplain can receive a 30% discount on their flood insurance; outside the 100-year floodplain they receive a 10% discount. This equates to a savings of approximately $115 per policy for a total county-wide premium savings of a little over $91,047. This is a high rating among other communities. Currently out of 1,296 communities in the U.S. that participate in the CRS program only 11 are rated a 4 or better, and only 5 rate higher (including Washington State, King County and Pierce County with a Class 2 rating). An additional 5% discount is given for each level, therefore if Thurston County qualifies for a level 3, the discount would increase to 35%.
The county received this rating because of our flood plain management program, our Critical Areas Ordinance and floodplain ordinance; annual compliance with our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Phase II Stormwater Permit; maintenance and inspections activities by our Stormwater Utility and Public Works programs; public outreach and education; Emergency Management; assistance to property owners living in the floodplain, and many other activities. Together these activities and programs reduce damage caused by flooding, which results in a reduction in insurance premiums. To maintain this rating the county goes through an annual recertification and a reverification every 3-years. This assures FEMA that we are still implementing our program and policies.
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