Planning Department
Floodplain Information

How do I know if I am in the floodplain?

Your property's floodplain designation is determined by a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) issued by FEMA.  A property's floodplain designation indicates the likelihood of a flood event.  For example, a property with a floodplain designation of AE has a 1% annual risk of flood.  Floodplain designations are used by lenders to determine if flood insurance is required.  They are also used by the Planning Department to enforce the Floodplain/Floodway Overlay District regulations.

Floodplain designations can be viewed online through the Sarpy County Internet Map Service.  Please note that the information provided through this resource may not reflect recently issued Letters of Map Amendment or Revision.  If you believe that a Letter of Map Amendment or Revision has been issued please utilize the Planning Department's map information service.

The Planning Department provides a map information service to assist citizens with determining their floodplain designation.  It is important to know your flood risk.  Our staff is dedicated to assisting you with your floodplain inquiries.  If you wish to utilize our service, please fill out the Mayor's Hotline Floodplain Information form or contact the Planning Department at (402) 597-2077.  Additional floodplain resources are available at the Sump Memorial Library.


What is an elevation certificate?

An elevation certificate is a detailed survey of an existing structure that shows whether a structure is above, at, or below the base flood elevation.  The base flood elevation is the elevation indicated in the official Flood Insurance Study as the elevation of the one-hundred-year flood.  Elevation certificates are required for lenders to determine if flood insurance is mandatory as well as the insurance premium.  The Planning Department has copies of some elevation certificates available through our office.  Please click here to view available elevation certificates or contact us at (402) 597-2077 to request copies.


What are the local flood hazards?

The local flood hazards are the Big Papillion Creek, West Papillion Creek, Walnut Creek and Midland Creek.  Both the Big Papillion Creek and West Papillion Creek have a history of flooding.  The Big Papillion Creek flooded in August 1959 leading to the evacuation of six families.  The two largest floods of record occurred in 1964 and 1965.  In 1964, the flood level reached 45,900 cfs (cubic feet per second).  Seven people were killed and $5 million in damage occurred (excluding losses to personal property).  In 1965, the flood level reached 31,200 cfs.  In 1993, flood damages were recorded in the Big Papio Creek watershed due to heavy downpours.  The damages including bowed or collapsed foundations and retaining walls.

The West Papillion Creek flooded in 1948.  The flood had a 59-year recurrence interval at 25,500 cfs.  In 1959, the West Papillion Creek flooded at a 35-year recurrence interval at 25,500 cfs.  Another flood in 1964 led to a 100-year discharge (31,500 cfs) at the mouth of the creek with a 40,800 cfs discharge at Giles Road.


How do I find out flood safety measures that should be followed to protect myself and my family in a flood event?

Please see our list of flood safety measures that should be taken before, during, and after a flood event.  Additional resources are available through and FEMA.


What is flood insurance?

In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to provide insurance to assist citizens with the financial losses related to floods.  Individual communities must participate in the NFIP for citizens and businesses to qualify to purchase flood insurance.  It is important to know that standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage related to flooding.  Purchase flood insurance if your property is at risk for flood.  Standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage related to flooding.  Purchasing flood insurance is important because there is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood event in the life of a 30-year mortgage.  Flood insurance is available to protect the building and its contents.  Additional information regarding building coverage versus contents coverage is available at  Please note that there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect so insurance should be purchased in a timely manner.  Contact your insurance agent or call 1-8888-379-9531 or visit for agent referrals.  Papillion participates in the Community Rating System (CRS) so discounted flood premiums may be available.


What property protection measures should I take to property my property from flood damage?

Please see our list of property protection measures that can be taken to protect your property from flood damage.  More detailed information regarding retrofitting is available through FEMA.


What are the natural and beneficial functions of the floodplain?

Floodplains are the low areas adjacent to rivers, lakes, and oceans.  They are dynamic ecosystems that provide flood water conveyance and storage, fertile soil for agriculture, groundwater recharge, and sediment control.  Floodplains are characterized as either riverine or coastal.  The floodplains within the City of Papillion are riverine floodplains.  Riverine floodplains that are still in their natural state have an important impact on flooding.  Flood waters are able to spread over a large area when the floodplain is free of encroachment.  Spreading flood waters across a large area reduces the flood velocity and reduces the peak flows downstream.  The reduction of velocity reduces both flood damage and flood related erosion.  Preservation of the floodplain also improves water quality because the natural cover filters impurities and nutrients from runoff.  This minimizes sediment loads and impurities.  Floodplains also moderate water temperature which reduces the possibility of negative impacts on aquatic plants and animals.  Floodplains can also act as recharge areas for groundwater by promoting infiltration and aquifer recharge.  They provide habitat for diverse species of plants and animals, which may not be able to live in any other location.  Floodplains are important as both breeding and feeding grounds.

How do we protect the natural and beneficial functions of the floodplain?

Help protect the natural function of the floodplain.  Do not dump grass clippings, leaves, garbage, or chemicals into streams and creeks.  They need to be kept clear of debris to carry and store floodwaters.  Dumping chemicals disrupts the ecosystem of our creeks and streams.  If you see illegal dumping or polluting, please fill out the Mayor's Hotline Illegal Dumping form or contact the Planning Department at 402-597-2077. 

Additionally, silt fences on construction sites help keep streams and creeks free by keeping silt on the work site.  If you see broken silt fences, please fill out the Mayor's Hotline Illegal Dumping form or contact the Planning Department at 402-597-2077. 


How does the flood warning system work?

The flood warning system starts with real-time monitoring of river gage data by the Papio-Missouri NRD.  The river gage information is provided to the National Weather Service.  The National Weather Service is responsible for issuing flood watches and warnings.  Tune your weather radio to KIH-61 (162.400 MHz) to receive National Weather Service alerts.  Notices are also publicized via television channels KPTM 3, WOWT 6, KETV 7, and KPTM 42.


What is the procedure to obtain a Floodplain Development Permit?

Floodplain Development Permits are required for all development within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) per Article XXVII of the Zoning Regulations.  Obtain a Floodplain Development Permit before you build a new structure, renovate an existing structure, or grade a property in the SFHA.  Floodplain Development Permit applications are available online.  If you have questions regarding Floodplain Developments Permits, please contact the Planning Department at (402) 597-2077.  If you suspect that the floodplain is being modified without a permit, please fill out the Mayor's Hotline Suspicious Floodplain Activity form or contact the Planning Department at (402) 597-2077.


What are the requirements for substantial improvement or substantial damage to properties in the floodplain?

The NFIP requires that a damaged structure to meet the same construction requirements as a new building if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value.  Any new construction or substantial improvement must meet the requirements of §205-158.  Substantial improvement is defined as "any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before "start of construction" of the improvement."  

For residential properties, this means that the lowest floor (including the basement) must be elevated one foot above the base flood elevation.  For nonresidential properties, this means that the lowest floor (including the basement) must be elevated one foot above the base flood elevation or it shall be floodproofed so that the structure is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water and has structural components that have the capacity of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and the effect of buoyancy.  Additionally, §205-161B-C provides that residential and nonresidential uses located in the floodway cannot be reconstructed if the reconstruction cost exceeds 50% of the market value prior to the damage occurring.  These provisions are enforced at the time of application for a Floodplain Development Permit, which is required prior to approval of a building permit.

For additional information on FEMA's requirements, click here.


How should the drainage system be maintained?

It is a violation of §195-16 to pollute any stream or source of water supplied to the Municipal Water Department.  In 2006, the Stormwater Management Regulations were adopted to establish minimum requirements and procedures to control the adverse impacts associated with increased and altered stormwater runoff.  It is important to maintain the drainage system because any blockage of the system can lead to flooding.  Please refrain from dumping grass clippings, leaves, or garbage into streams, creeks, and drainage areas.  The drainage system must also be protected from chemicals and vehicle fluids.  Make sure to dispose of household chemicals appropriately and keep your vehicle well maintained to prevent fluid leakage.

If you see illegal dumping or polluting, please fill out the Illegal Dumping form available through the Mayor's Hotline or contact the Planning Department at (402) 597-2077.