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January 22, 2014

Federal officials announce lower flood risk for 3,500 south Sacramento area homes

About 3,500 south Sacramento area homes considered to be at high risk for flooding will shed that designation in May because of flood control projects on two creeks, federal and local officials announced Wednesday.

About 3,500 south Sacramento area homes considered to be at high risk for flooding will shed that designation in May because of flood control projects on two creeks, federal and local officials announced Wednesday.

The change not only means improved safety for those homes, but lower flood insurance rates. Homeowners there who pay around $1,180 a year for coverage will pay about $415 when the changes go into effect.

“It’s a great day when you can say you’re going to be safer and it’s going to cost less,” said Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, during a news conference at Franklin Boyce Park.

The change applies to a floodplain that runs roughly along Franklin Boulevard between Florin Road and Elk Grove Boulevard, where the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers strengthened protection along Morrison and Unionhouse creeks. A flood wall was built along Morrison Creek at a cost of $5.9 million, while Unionhouse Creek received nearly two miles of concrete channel lining at a cost of $2.4 million.

The change in designation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency means most of the homeowners in the floodplain will no longer be required to have flood insurance. However, Matsui and Nancy Ward, FEMA’s administrator for the region, urged homeowners to stay protected with the lower-cost policies.

Ward said it’s not clear how long the lower-cost policies will remain. In 2012, Congress passed a flood reform law intended to make the national flood insurance program self sufficient after huge losses in Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy and other disasters. The change is expected to mean large increases in premiums, but Ward said Congress is expected to revisit the law soon.

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