Schoel Engineering Assists Birmingham Residents In Shades Creek Flood Zone

June 24, 2015

Recent updates to the Jefferson County, Alabama Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panels have resulted in changes to the floodplain boundaries affecting property owners in the Crestline and Eastwood neighborhoods in the City of Birmingham.  These neighborhoods are almost entirely residential with several hundred properties located within the floodplain.  On behalf of the neighborhoods, the City tasked Schoel Engineering with evaluating the effective FEMA Flood Insurance Study (FIS) for Shades Creek within the Crestline and Eastwood neighborhoods to determine if benefits could be achieved through revising the effective study.

This project was conducted in two phases with the first phase assessing the effective study and the second phase preparing and submitting a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) to FEMA.  Schoel used field surveyed bridge and cross section data in addition to Jefferson County LiDAR data to compare the existing conditions to the effective FEMA model and mapping.  The assessment indicated a decrease in the base flood elevation (BFE) of approximately 3 feet could be achieved should a revision to the study be conducted.  Due to the potential benefits from revising the effective study for Shades Creek, Schoel was then tasked with moving forward with the second phase of the project.  The work in this phase included preparing the revised hydraulic models and submitting the Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) request to FEMA for approval.

The LOMR for this project was issued on March 9, 2015 and will become effective on July 20, 2015.  The LOMR will result in an estimated 117 structures removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area and a total of 82 structures removed from the regulatory floodway.  In general the revised 100-year flood elevations between Groover Drive and Elder Street are 2 to 3 feet below the effective 100-year flood elevations.  Because of the success of this project, Schoel is currently conducting a similar assessment of the effective FEMA study for Village Creek for the City of Birmingham.