Welcome to KPB Floodplain Management
Thank you for your interest in the Kenai Peninsula Floodplain Management Program. The Kenai Peninsula Borough is a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program that encourages responsible development to ensure the natural and beneficial function of floodplains, to promote public health, safety and welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flooding.
The KPB Floodplain Program manages all areas of the Kenai Peninsula with the exceptions of the cities of Seward and Homer, who manage their own floodplain programs, and the cities of Soldotna and Kenai, who do not participate in the NFIP.
Some key terms…
The floodplain is the area inundated by waters during a flood event. The regulatory floodplain, on the other hand, covers only those areas of our community that are affected by flood waters during the base flood, or the flood that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. The base flood is often called the “100-year flood,” but this is a misleading term because it suggests that this kind of flooding event should only happen once in a century. But big floods happen irregularly, and it is possible to have two base flood events in as many years. Over the term of a 30-year mortgage, for example, you have more than a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing a “100-year” flood event if your home is within the regulatory floodplain.The floodplain is made up of the floodway and the flood fringe. The regulatory floodway is the part of the river where the waters will be the deepest and fastest during a flood event. It is a highly dangerous part of the floodplain where development regulations are the strictest. The flood fringes are the areas alongside the floodway that make up the rest of the regulatory floodplain.
How can I find out if my property is in the floodplain?
There is a quick and easy way find out where your property is located in relation to the floodplain. Simply fill out our online Floodplain Determination Request Form. You will receive a letter and map by email or mail that detail the location of your property in the floodplain, which can help you make decisions about flood preparedness and future development. Once you receive your Floodplain Determination, we encourage you to contact the Floodplain Administrator at the River Center for any questions you may have about the regulations that may affect development on your property.
How do KPB Floodplain Management regulations affect how I can use my property?
Floodplain development regulations in the Kenai Peninsula Borough are based on FEMA requirements that ensure that development in our community progresses in ways that provide the best preparedness for flood events. For any development in the floodplain (i.e., building or rebuilding structures, adding additions or other improvements, adding fill, dredging, excavation, driveways, fishing platforms, etc.), property owners need to submit a permit application to the River Center. Additionally, there are requirements affecting the placement of travel trailers, mobile homes, and other temporary structures within the mapped floodplain.
You may be familiar with the KPB Habitat Protection Distict, which is a 50-foot buffer along the managed anadromous streams of the Kenai Peninsula. The floodplain does not have a set width. In some areas, such as a riverfront property on a high bluff, the floodplain main only extend a few feet onto the property. But in low areas like Big Eddy or Castaway Cove, the floodplain (and even floodway) may extend for hundreds of feet from the water. It can get complicated, which is why it's a great idea to request a Floodplain Determination which will give you that information in a clear and brief format to help you understand where your property is located in the floodplain.
Based on where you are in the floodplain, you may need to elevate or flood-proof structures to a certain height, called the base flood elevation. The base flood elevation is the level the flood waters will reach during a base flood (100-year, 1%) event. The KPB Floodplain Administrator will be able to provide the base flood elevation for your property as part of your application review. Other kinds of development will need to meet floodplain guidelines as well.
Please contact the KPB Floodplain Administrator at (907) 714-2464 for any questions you have about development in the KPB regulatory floodplain.