- Building, Planning & Zoning
- Flood Protection
How to Lower your Flood Insurance Rates
Natural & Beneficial Functions of Local Floodplains
Floodplains and adjacent waters form a complex physical and biological system that can benefit both human and natural systems. These benefits include helping to reduce the severity of floods, help handle stormwater runoff, and even filter out sediments and impurities from the floodwaters for better water quality. The natural process of what the floodplains do for our community cost far less than building flood, stormwater, and water quality facilities. Plus these floodplain areas throughout Georgetown County, can even serve recreational functions as well.
Natural Flood and Erosion Control
Over the centuries, floodplains throughout Georgetown County have developed their own ways of handling flooding and erosion with natural features that provide floodwater storage and conveyance, reducing flood velocities and flood peaks, and helping to curb sedimentation. Natural controls on flooding and erosion help to maintain water quality by filtering nutrients and impurities from runoff, processing organic wastes and moderating temperature fluctuations. These natural controls also contribute to recharging groundwater by promoting infiltration and refreshing Georgetown County’s aquifers, and by reducing the frequency and duration of low surface flows.
Biologic Resources and Functions
Floodplains enhance biological productivity by supporting a high rate of plant growth. This helps to maintain biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems. Floodplains provide excellent habitats for fish and wildlife by serving as breeding and feeding grounds. They also create and enhance waterfowl habitats, and help to protect habitats for rare and endangered species.
Societal Resources and Functions
People benefit from floodplains through the food they provide, the recreational opportunities they afford and the scientific knowledge gained in studying them.
Wild and cultivated products are harvested in floodplains, which are enhanced agricultural land made rich by sediment deposits. They provide open space, which may be used to restore and enhance forest lands, or for recreational opportunities or simple enjoyment of their aesthetic beauty.
Floodplains provide areas for scientific study and outdoor education. They contain cultural resources such as historic or archaeological sites, and thus provide opportunities for environmental and other kinds of studies.
Floodplains can increase a community’s overall quality of life, a role that often has been undervalued. By transforming floodplains from problem areas into value-added assets, the community can improve its quality of life. Parks, bike paths, open spaces, wildlife conservation areas and aesthetic features are important to citizens. Assets like these make the community more appealing to potential employers, investors, residents, property owners and tourists.
An Elevation Certificate is a form used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances and to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). The Elevation Certificate is required by Georgetown County’s Flood Ordinance in order to properly rate post-FRIM (Flood Rate Insurance Map) buildings and obtain a building permit (if located in a SFHA). The current expiration date for this elevation certificate form is November 30, 2022.
FEMA Elevation Certificate and Instructions
To view digital copies of Elevation Certificates, click here.
To read the latest Georgetown County Flood Newsletter, click here.
Local Financial Institutions, Insurance and Real Estate Agencies
For a list of local banks, insurance and real estate agencies, click here.
Real-time river flood level data can be found by clicking this link: National Weather Service Advanced Hydologic Prediction Service
Flood Mitigation Info
Information on Flooding, Flood Mitigation, and Flood Insurance can be found at your local Georgetown County Library. Or, you can access this information online by clicking here: Georgetown County Library Online Search
Simply enter the above key words into the online catalog for access to dozens of publications, research, and documents on flood hazards in our region.
Official site of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). https://www.floodsmart.gov/
Official site of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
English Version: https://www.fema.gov/
Spanish Version: https://www.fema.gov/es
FEMA Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting - Six ways to protect your home from flooding
Georgetown County Flood Maps
Both the current (1989) and proposed (2021) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) can be viewed in three ways.
- In the office of the Building Department (129 Screven Street, Georgetown)
- Via the County GIS Server - https://georgetown.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html
- On the FEMA Map Service Center - https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home
South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD)
Find info about evacuation zones, emergency information, and even available state grants: http://www.scemd.org/
View the Georgetown County Hazard Mitigation Plan: Hazard Mitigation Plan (2019) (PDF)
Georgetown Emergency Operations Radio
Listen LIVE - https://streema.com/radios/WGEO
SC State Climatology Office
NOAA Digital Coast
Sea Level Rise Viewer
Coastal Exposure Mapper
Natural Area Open Space Map (PDF)
Flood Map (3/16/89) (Image)
New Flood Map (effective 5/9/23) (Image)
Official Zoning Map (Image)
Evacuation Zones Map (Image)