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FEMA official gives flood insurance tips

From Stark County to the Red River Valley, the threat of flooding continues to loom statewide.

For city and county officials, as well as engineers, navigating federal flood insurance can be confusing, said Federal Emergency Management Agency natural hazards specialist Tom Birney.

Representatives from FEMA and engineering consulting firm Michael Baker Jr. presented information Wednesday morning about applying to change flood area maps, which can affect insurance rates.

About 20 attendees learned tips and tricks at Dickinson Area Public Library. Because North Dakota landowners often use "fill," or any material used to elevate a property, they often file Letters of Map Revisions through FEMA to change their rates, Birney said.

Birney warned against common mistakes while filing their MT-1 forms, which determine details of insurance in areas covered by FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program.

He reminded property owners to attach a recorded deed or plat map to the form. He also said to only contact State Water Commission or U.S. Army Corps engineers when determining land elevations for the MT-1.

Those who missed the presentation and are interested in more information can email Birney at or Michael Baker Jr. contractor Joe Kuechenmeister at Powerpoint presentations can be provided.