Levee Certification Program

Los Angeles County Flood Control District (FCD) analyzed the Compton Creek and the Dominguez Channel levees to determine if they meet the Federal requirements for flood protection. While the levees are structurally sound, they were found to no longer be able to contain FEMA's 100 year flood. As a result, FEMA will designate these areas as a flood zone, requiring mandatory flood insurance. The FCD has begun analysis to develop improvement alternatives to address flood capacity, that include habitat restoration, aesthetic, and recreational improvements.

Q:Why is it important to understand the risks associated with levees?
A:Everyone should understand that no levee system provides full protection from all flood events. Even the best flood protection systems cannot completely eliminate the risk of flooding. Levee systems are designed to provide a specific level of protection, and larger flood events can cause them to be overtopped, or fail.

Q:Is my property in the anticipated flood zone?
A:FEMA will develop flood zone maps based on detailed studies in 2017. Those maps will be made available to the cities and the County for public comment. In the meantime, for informational purposes, the Flood Control District has prepared maps showing estimated flood zone boundaries. Note, the boundaries shown on the maps below will likely vary from FEMA's official maps.

Compton Creek Levee Estimated Flood Zone
Dominguez Channel Estimated Flood Zone

Q:How can I reduce my flood insurance cost?
A:You can receive reduced cost flood insurance by obtaining the insurance policy 30 days before the area is changed to a flood zone. This will also qualify you for a reduced cost after the area is designated a flood zone. You should contact your insurance agent for more details.

Q:How long will I need to have flood insurance?
A:Flood insurance will be required until the flood capacity deficiency for the levee protecting your property is remediated/resolved and the flood zone maps are changed.

Q:What is the Flood Control District doing to address the levee's flood capacity?
A:The Flood Control District has started the process of analyzing possible levee improvement alternatives. These alternatives will not only address the flood capacity, but also consider habitat restoration, aesthetic, and recreational enhancements. The Flood Control District will also conduct extensive outreach during the development of these alternatives to obtain valuable input from the community. The alternatives are expected to be ready for discussion in 2017. For more information on the progress of the alternatives analysis, please follow the link below to view a presentation developed in September 2013.

Alternative Study Presentation

Q:How can I be kept informed on the development of alternatives?
A:Several community meetings are planned during the process of developing alternatives. Invitations will be sent to property owners within the anticipated flood zones. You may contact Dan Sharp at dsharp@dpw.lacounty.gov for updates on the development of these alternatives. Additionally, please follow the links below to view a Community Update Flyer developed to inform the community of the progress of the alternatives analysis as well as other important information.

Community Update Flyer (English)
Community Update Flyer (Spanish)

Q:Where do I buy flood insurance?
A:You can purchase a flood insurance policy from most insurance agents. Visit floodsmart.gov for a list of agents in your area.

Q:How much will flood insurance cost?
A:The cost of flood insurance depends on factors that include the type of property, the level of flood risk to your property, and the amount of coverage for the property. If your property will be designated to be in the flood hazard in the future, you may be able to save money by purchasing a low-cost Preferred Risk Policy before the flood hazard map change.

Q:What is a Preferred Risk Policy and how do I apply for one?
A:Preferred Risk Policies are a product of the National Flood Insurance Program. They are sold by most insurance agents and cost about half the price of a standard flood insurance policy. Preferred Risk Policies provide you with flood insurance protection that is the same as a standard policy, but at significant savings. Preferred Risk Policies are only available in areas of low or moderate flood risk.

Q:Can I carry a preferred Risk Policy for as long as I am required to carry flood insurance?
A:No. Once your property has been mapped into a high-risk area, you can only renew your Preferred Risk Policy during the two year eligibility extension. Afterward, if the flood insurance was maintained, you may qualify for a standard policy instead of a high-risk area policy.

Q:How much flood insurance am I required to carry?
A:Under Federal law, the minimum flood insurance coverage that you must carry is the lesser of: (a) The outstanding principal loan balance for your property. For example, if you carry a $150,000 mortgage on your home, you must purchase a flood insurance policy that insures your home for $150,000; or (b) The maximum amount of flood insurance coverage that is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. Currently, this amount is $250,000 for residential and $500,000 for nonresidential properties. As an example, if you have a $300,000 mortgage on your home, you can satisfy the federal flood insurance requirement by purchasing a policy that provides you with $250,000 in flood insurance protection.

Q:What will happen if I do not buy flood insurance when it is required?
A:If you do not purchase flood insurance, your lender can "Force-place" a flood insurance policy on your property. Be aware this typically costs significantly more than the policy you could have purchased on your own. "Force-place" means your lender will buy a policy and bill you for it. By law, federally regulated or insured lenders must require flood insurance in high-risk areas for property on which they have issued a loan.

Q:Where can I view FEMA's current flood maps, also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps?
A:Visit Los Angeles County Flood Zone Determination Website and enter your address, or contact your National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator.

NFIP-Coordinator List:
City of Carson: NFIP Hotline - (310) 952-1798
City of Compton: Carolyn Webster - (310) 605-5514, cwebster@comptoncity.org
City of Gardena: John Felix - (310) 217-9643, jfelix@ci.gardena.ca.org
City of Los Angeles: NFIP Hotline - (213) 485-4820,
City of Long Beach: Robert Maldonado - (562) 570-6256, Robert. Maldonado@longbeach.gov

Q:Does my homeowners insurance cover damage caused by flooding?
A:Homeowner's insurance seldom covers flood damage. In most cases, property owners must purchase flood insurance to protect against damage caused by flooding. Please contact your insurance agent if you have a question regarding your policy.

Q:How will I be notified if a forecasted rain event could potentially flood my area?
A:Alert and warning is performed by law enforcement. The Sheriff's Department has tools to provide advance notification to residents and businesses. Whenever possible, one or more of these tools may be used during any disaster. The tools include media press releases/press conferences, Emergency Alert System (formerly known as the Emergency Broadcast System) broadcasts, door-to-door notifications, and Alert LA. Alert LA is a mass notification system that uses phone calls, emails and text messaging to alert impacted residents and businesses. To learn more about Alert LA or register mobile devices, email addresses, and alternative telephone numbers, visit alertLA As with any disaster, flooding may occur without warning. Please visit espfocus.org and http://www.lacounty.gov/emergency/emergency-survival-guide/ for measures you can take to ensure your safety and that of your loved ones.

Alert LA

Q:I brought a home and was not aware that it was in a flood zone. There are no levees in the area so how is it in a flood zone? Flood insurance is expensive. Is there low cost flood insurance and is it possible to be omitted because the house was built before the flood zone was established?
A:State law requires sellers to disclose to home buyers whether a home is in a Special Food Hazard Area (the inundation area of a Base Flood, which is a 1% annual chance flood, a.k.a. "the 100-year flood") denoted on a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map. The reasons for designating Special Flood Hazard Area on FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps can vary. Besides the presence of levees, there can be other river/creek/channel flow or local drainage issues that can result in flooding during a Base Flood. For properties in Los Angeles County, go to Public Works' Flood Zone Determination web page to see what flood zone your property is in. The flood insurance requirement for insurable structures with a federally-backed mortgage cannot be removed solely because a structure was built before FEMA mapped it into a Special Flood Hazard Area. If your structure gets newly mapped into a Special Flood Hazard Area, you can obtain flood insurance at an initial low cost Preferred Risk Rate for the first 12 months following the new map's Effective Date. If you obtain the insurance prior to the Effective Date of the new FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map , you can gain almost an extra year of the low cost Preferred Risk Rate. On renewal of the insurance policy, this rate will increase annually until the full-risk rate is reached. If your newly mapped structure has a federally-backed mortgage, you are required to obtain flood insurance within 1 year of the Effective Date of the new FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map. For more details, see FEMA's factsheet on newly mapped buildings. Your insurance agent can provide you with the appropriate rate and more information. You may also be able to reduce your flood insurance rate by having an Elevation Certificate completed for your property and/or completing a Letter of Map Amendment application. An Elevation Certificate documents the height of your home's first floor in relation to the Base Flood water surface elevation. The higher the floor is above that water level, the lower the insurance rate will be. For more details, see FEMA's factsheet on Elevation Certificates and FEMA's Elevation Certificate Form. If your property is in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, go to Public Works' Elevation Certificate web page to see if your property already has an Elevation Certificate on file with the County. If your property is in an incorporated city, contact your city's National Flood Insurance Program Administrator. The Letter of Map Amendment will officially remove your home from the Special Flood Hazard Area shown on FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Map and eliminate the flood insurance mandate. However, to qualify for a Letter of Map Amendment, the owner will have to submit scientific evidence to FEMA showing that the ground the home is sitting on is actually not in the Special Flood Hazard Area. For more details, see FEMA's factsheet on Letters of Map Amendment and FEMA's Letter of Map Amendment Application Form. If your property is in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, go to Public Works' Letters of Map Change web page to see if your property already has a Letter of Map Amendment from FEMA. Links to FEMA's factsheets/forms and Public Works' web pages are provided below.

Flood Zone Determination Website
FEMA Fact Sheet for Newly Mapped Structures
FEMA Fact Sheet Elevation Certificates
FEMA's Elevation Certificate Form
Elev Certs for LA County Unincorporated Areas
FEMA's Letter of Map Amendment Factsheet
FEMA's Letter of Map Amendment Application
Letters of Map Change for LA County Unincorporated