Floodplain Management

National Flood Insurance Program Participation

As a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, the city regulates development in its floodplains. Chapter 168: Flood Damage Prevention Code of the Unified Development Code contains floodplain regulations.

In addition to regulating new development, the city assists homeowners, prospective home owners, insurance agents, and real estate agents to help them understand floodplain regulations.

You may contact Alan Pugh, Certified Floodplain Manager, at 479-575-8208 or send an email with any questions you have regarding the floodplain. We encourage you to check with the Development Services Division before purchasing property or beginning any project in the floodplain. All development in the floodplain requires a Floodplain Development Permit.

What is your risk?

Your chances of being flooded are much greater than some other risks you face daily. If you live in a 100-year floodplain, there is more than a 1 in 4 chance that you will be flooded during your 30-year mortgage. During a 30-year mortgage period you are 27 times more likely to experience a flood than having a fire. This information is from the flood safety website.  You can also visit the National Flood Insurance Program Flood Smart website for additional information about the program.

Download our brochure:  Are You Prepared for a Flood?

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Click Here to Search Elevation Certificates for Existing Structures

Current Stream Gauge Information

The City of Fayetteville currently maintains two stream gauges in cooperation with the United State Geological Survey.  Information for these gauges can be found on the USGS webpage.  The gauges are located on Town Branch at S Armstrong Ave in the southeast portion of the City near the West Fork White River and on Mud Creek at N Gregg Ave in the northwest portion of the City near Clear Creek.  Please follow these links to view real time information regarding water levels.

Flood Map Update

12-21-2020:  Preliminary Flood Maps Available for Review and Comment

FEMA has made a draft of the city’s new flood risk maps available online for public review and input. Drafts of the new Washington County Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) can be viewed at https://www.msc.fema.gov/fmcv.

Tips for navigating the map:

  • Open the map and search for Fayetteville, AR or a specific address in the search box in the upper left corner.
  • Click the “Layer List” icon in the upper right corner (it looks like a stack of papers)
  • Turn off, by unchecking, all layers with the exception of “Preliminary Changes Since Last FIRM” and “Preliminary National Flood Hazard Area”
  • The map will now display only the preliminary maps with the areas of proposed increase (yellow) and decrease (purple)
  • Display the legend by clicking the “Legend” icon in the upper right corner

Many things have changed in Fayetteville since the last map update was completed in 2008, and it is important that the updated maps reflect these changes so that property owners can be more accurately informed about their risk in case of a flooding event. Property owners in Fayetteville are urged to review the new maps to see if their property has been affected by the changes, and to notify FEMA if there are any needed corrections, such as road or street names, corporate limits, etc.   Comments should be made directly to FEMA by email to John Bourdeau, Jr. at john.bourdeaujr@fema.dhs.gov; or by mail to:

Sandra Keefe, Mitigation Division Director
c/o Diane Howe, Appeals Coordinator
FEMA Region 6
Federal Regional Center
800 North Loop 288
 Denton, TX  76209-3698

The City of Fayetteville has not updated its flood risk maps since 2008. The process to update maps involves FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), state, regional, and local governments and agencies - as well as the public at large. The process takes several years.

In 2015, City Council authorized participation with FEMA and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) to update the Washington County Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) so that the risks associated with a flooding event can be more accurately defined. A public meeting was held in March 2017 so residents and property owners could ask questions and provide input with City staff and ANRC.

While the City has provided feedback to FEMA throughout the process, the actual adoption of the mapping is entirely up to FEMA.  

Since 2008, many things have changed and officials are working to provide more accurate flood risk assessment for the City and residents. As a part of the update, residents and property owners should be aware of potential changes. For more detail, please see the information below. 

 What if my property or structure is being removed from the floodplain?

Your property may no longer be subject to the provisions of the flood damage prevention code provided the entire property was removed. If your structure was removed, you would no longer be federally required to carry flood insurance. Please note, your mortgage company still require you to carry flood insurance based on their requirements, however, your policy premiums could decrease based on the map revision. You should contact you insurance company if/when the new maps are adopted by FEMA.

 What if my property or structure is being included in the floodplain?

If it was not previously identified within the floodplain, you would be federally required to carry flood insurance if you have a mortgage from federally regulated or insured lender. Your property would also become subject to the flood damage prevention code which helps to prevent flood loss in the future. Note that these maps identify the potential risk of flooding, regardless of where the line falls on the map your property may be at an increased risk and there are steps that can be taken in order to mitigate those risks. Please reference the documents on this page for further information.

 What if there was no change to my property?

 If your property was previously identified within the floodplain, you would fall under the same requirements that applied today, before any potential map revision. This would include the requirement for flood insurance if you have a mortgage from federally regulated or insured lender. If you are outside of the floodplain, then these requirements would not apply now or when the proposed modifications are adopted.

 When will the maps be adopted?

At this time, the City is making the public aware that there is the potential for the maps to be revised. The process to adopt the maps will be entirely under the control of FEMA. It is anticipated that they may be adopted within the next 18 months, however, the exact time frame has not been identified. A draft of Fayetteville’s flood risk maps should be available for public review in late 2020.