The basis for floodplain regulation in Columbus and Bartholomew County is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is a voluntary program that makes available flood insurance to local property owners that is backed by the federal government and therefore available at a below-market rate. This program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Those agencies are responsible for creating flood hazard area maps and establishing minimum regulations for development in floodplains that participating local communities are obligated to enforce. Local communities can adopt regulations that are more restrictive than the FEMA and IDNR minimum requirements. Both Columbus and Bartholomew County have adopted more restrictive local floodplain regulations. Therefore, both jurisdictions are also eligible to participate in FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) which further discounts the flood insurance rates for local property owners as a reward for increased vigilance on the part of the community. All Floodplain Development requires a local permit. For permit information, floodplain determinations, or to report illegal dumping in the drain/illegal floodplain developments. Contact the planning department at (812)376-2550.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
FloodSmart — A resource created by FEMA to answer questions about flood insurance and related topics.
IDNR Floodplain Management Quick Guide — A resource created by IDNR to assist local officials and citizens understand why and how to manage development in floodplains to protect people and property.
Columbus & Bartholomew County Floodplain Regulations:
Zoning Ordinance Chapter 4.7 (Flood Hazard Overlay Zoning District) (PDF)
Flood Hazard Area Maps
FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps:
The Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Bartholomew County and its Incorporated Areas, including the City of Columbus, can be found at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Map Service Center. Flood hazard information can also be found on Bartholomew County’s online GIS, Elevate. Please note that links to the FEMA Flood Map Service Center and Elevate are for reference purposes only. Please contact the Planning Department at 812.376.2550 for official flood hazard determinations.
Columbus Supplemental Haw Creek Flood Hazard Area Maps:
The severe local flooding of June 7, 2008 resulted in several studies of Haw Creek. These studies led to the local development of new flood hazard mapping for Haw Creek based on more accurate information and more detailed modeling methods than currently used for the stream by FEMA. The local Haw Creek mapping has also been adopted as part of the Columbus floodplain regulations found in the Zoning Ordinance. These supplemental Haw Creek flood hazard area maps, which were most recently updated in February 2023, can be referenced below: