New Draft Coastal Flood Maps

Monroe County Building Department looks over the newly released maps

Coastal Flood Maps, otherwise known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are used to determine the minimum elevation needed for construction to reduce the chances of flooding, as well as construction methods required in certain zones.

On August 22, 2019, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released new DRAFT coastal flood maps to Monroe County staff. These maps, after a multi-year study of Monroe County’s coastal flood risks and an extensive vetting process, will eventually replace the current flood maps which are based on 30-plus-year-old studies.

While FEMA has emphasized that these are only draft maps, Monroe County wants to ensure all residents and business owners are aware of the potential for a change in flood risk for their property so that they can be more proactive in reducing their flood risk. 


The link below will open a FEMA FIRM Draft Maps mapping tool. Click in the FIRM Panel section where the property is located to view the popup containing a link to the Draft Map (PDF) or search by property address in the top left-hand corner.

A screenshot of the draft map page Opens in new window

IMPORTANT: These maps don't show an additional difference in elevation due to a change in mapping standards between the old and new proposed flood maps (datum NGVD29-> NAVD88). This means that all NGVD29 elevations (e.g., BFE, Lowest Floor Elevation) need to be converted to NAVD88. While there is no set conversion factor, as it varies throughout Monroe County, on average there is -1.5 foot conversion. To account for this change, ON AVERAGE you should add +1.5 foot to any apparent increase. For example, if your building was in an AE-8 flood zone and is still shown in an AE-8 zone, then it actually experienced an increase of 1.5 feet. Another example, if your building was in an AE-6 flood zone and is proposed to be in an AE-9 zone, the increase appears to be three-feet.  However, the actual increase would be 4.5 feet.

To convert one vertical datum to another, visit the ArcGIS SFWMD Elevation Conversion: NGVD29 to NAVD88 mapping tool. For more information on vertical datums, read FEMA’s fact sheet at

Previous X-Zone Buildings

Structures removed from the X-zones didn't previously have a flood level associated with them, so this mapping standard difference wouldn't be relevant.


Visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center and search by property address.  


To emphasize that flood risks are changing and to make sure property owners understand this is coming, Monroe County Building Department will be requiring owner’s to sign a form with permits that acknowledge the issuance of these new DRAFT coastal flood maps and the fact that these maps may indicate a future change to the required elevation of a building currently being permitted. 

Building Department Permit Application with new signature page 3 -1

This is intended to help homeowners understand that what they might be proposing to build today, under the existing flood maps, could become non-conforming after the maps are changed, thereby making their flood risk and insurance costs greater. Owners should think about designing their improvements to meet the proposed draft maps to assure they are addressing potential future risk.


The County has hired a consultant to analyze how flood risks are changing in Unincorporated Monroe County based on the provided studies using updated information and the best available science and technology.  The technical consultant will also be reviewing the maps and modeling conducted by FEMA and is prepared to appeal any of the maps that do not appear to be correct.  


The public can email comments on draft maps to County staff will be documenting these comments and providing them informally to FEMA.

After draft maps are reviewed by county staff, PRELIMINARY maps will be issued, which the public will then have an opportunity to comment on officially through Community meetings.  Formal public comments or appeals of the preliminary maps can then be provided to FEMA by local governments like the County, or the municipalities.

Once FEMA completes the review of all comments and appeals, they will publish the final FIRMs. The final FIRMs will most likely become effective sometime in 2021-2022. 

When that happens, the county will formally adopt the maps by ordinance and the maps will be used when reviewing permits and the final maps will establish what a finished floor elevation needs to be and determine building and site design requirements to reduce future risk of flooding. New lender requirements may go into effect, flood insurance requirements, as well as changes in flood insurance rates as result of map changes.


The following diagram shows the tentative process timeline for the Draft Maps, Preliminary Maps, and Final Maps:Timeline Chart for FEMA re-mapping


For more information about the mapping process, email or call 305-453-8759.

To learn more about flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent or visit

Press Release 08/23/2019

  1. Karl Bursa

    Chief of Floodplain Regulatory Operations
    Phone: 305-453-8759

  2. Mary Wingate

    Chief of Floodplain Regulatory Operations
    Phone: 305-289-2866