The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The primary mission of FEMA is to “reduce the loss of life and property and protect the Nation from all hazards, including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters, by leading and supporting the Nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation.”
FEMA also determines flood zones, wihch in turn determine the need for flood insurance. See the Flood Insurance tab of this page for further information about flood insurance.
Is my property located in a floodplain?
If you live in Albuquerque, you can find out by contacting the City Floodplain Administrator at 924-3977 (phone), 924-3864 (fax). For outside city limits, contact the County Floodplain Administrator at 848-1511 (phone), 848-1510 (fax). Please also read Floodplain Determination at the City of Albuquerque website. A portion of the South Valley was recently changed to a lesser flood zone, as described on this page of the Bernalillo County website. Bernalillo County also has a list of Floodplain Administrators for many surrounding areas.
What do the different flood zone designations mean?
Go to this FEMA webpage for the flood zone codes and answers to other FAQs regarding flood zones and floodplains.
Information on Floodplains
Like New Orleans, much of Old Town, downtown Albuquerque, and the Valley are below the level of the Rio Grande. This is because the river drops sediment over time, raising the riverbed. In the past, the river would eventually rise high enough that it would begin to take another path, gradually building up that new riverbed with sediment. This was not a problem until people began building in the lowlands near the river.
Beginning in the 1930s, levees were built along the river to keep the Rio Grande in its current riverbed. Additional levees were built in the 1950s and in 1997. Since the riverside levees were built, the Rio Grande has not been able to make periodic course changes. Stormwater in the low-lying areas of town is drained with the assistance of large pumps that lift the water into the Rio Grande. Unless protected by a certified levee, FEMA considers land in many of those low-lying areas to be in a floodplain.
Localized flooding (during and immediately after a heavy rainstorm) may also occur in any part of town. This may or may not mean the property is in a floodplain.
Flood insurance is required for real property which FEMA has determined to be in a floodplain. To determine if your property is in a floodplain, talk to the City Floodplain Adminstrator (if your property is within City limits) or the County Floodplain Administrator (if you are outside the City limits). You’ll find the Floodplain Administrators’ contact information on the FAQs tab of this page.
See the FEMA National Flood Insurance Ratings page, and the “Floodplain Determination” section of the Grading and Drainage Plan page on the City of Albuquerque website, for more information about floodplains and flood insurance.
Where can I get sandbags?
Sandbags are available at certain City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Fire Stations. They are usually handed out empty – you will probably need to fill them yourself. Some locations have sand available.
The City of Albuquerque website has this information:
Monday – Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. you can pick up a maximum of 15 empty sandbags at the City Yards located at 5501 Pino NE, Bldg F, or you can go to the following Fire Stations:
- Station 2 at 301 High St. SE, (505) 848-1312
- Station 623 Griegos NW, (505) 761-4035
- Station 29 at 501 Bear Canyon NW, (505) 761-4013
*Please note: the City Yards Facility located at 5501 Pino NE does not have sand; only the above listed fire stations have bags and sand.
How do you fill a sandbag/how do you stack sandbags?
To be effective, a sandbag dike must be built correctly. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offers these instructions on how to fill and stack sandbags. A video on the procedure.
A slide show on the proper way to use sandbags is posted here (the slide show file is about 9.4 MB in size – we recommend you right click and choose “save file as” or “save target as” to save it to your computer rather than trying to open it in your browser).
How is AMAFCA funded?
AMAFCA’s sole source of revenue is the ad valorem (property) tax. The capital improvement program is funding by General Obligation Bonds. A message from the Chairman of the AMAFCA Board of Directors regarding the 2014 General Obligation Flood Control Bonds can be found here. Additional funding originates from intergovernmental cooperative agreements, excess land sales, data sales, permit charges and interest.
How do I make a request under the Inspection of Public Records Act?
Notice Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its charge to protect life and property from flooding.
In general, the ADA requires each program, service and activity offered by AMAFCA, when viewed in its entirety, be readily accessible to and usable by qualified individuals with disabilities. AMAFCA builds and maintains flood control that protects life and property through a network of dams, channels, arroyos, ponds and pipes.
Employment: The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) does not discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices and complies with all regulations promulgated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under title I of the ADA.
Effective Communication: The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) will generally, upon request, provide appropriate aids and services leading to effective communication for qualified persons with disabilities so they can participate and interact equally with AMAFCA in its charge to protect life and property from flooding. This may include qualified sign language interpreters, documents in Braille, and other ways of making information and communications accessible to people who have speech, hearing or vision impairments.
Modifications to Policies and Procedures: The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) will make all reasonable modifications to policies and programs that do not conflict with its charge to protect life and property from flooding, to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in programs or activities provided by AMAFCA. For example, individuals with service animals are welcomed in the AMAFCA offices, even where pets are generally prohibited.
Anyone who requires the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers, or requires auxiliary aids to participate in programs or activities provided by AMAFCA should contact the AMAFCA office (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; voice: 505-884-2215) as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours before the scheduled event.
The ADA does not require AMAFCA to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its programs or services, or impose an undue financial or administrative burden.
Complaints that a program, service, or activity provided by AMAFCA is not accessible to persons with disabilities should be directed to (email: email@example.com; voice: 505-884-2215).
AMAFCA will not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of providing auxiliary aids/services or reasonable modifications of policy, such as retrieving items from locations that are open to the public but are not accessible to persons who use wheelchairs.
What is a 100-year storm?
The hundred-year storm is better defined as a storm that has a one percent chance of occurring in any given year. Over a 10-year period, there is almost a 10% chance of such a storm. Over a 30-year period (the length of a typical home mortgage), there is a 26% chance of such a storm. Depending on your location in Albuquerque, a hundred-year storm is defined as between 2.2 and 2.9 inches of rain within six hours.
How do I get trash cleaned up from an arroyo?
First check the Facilities Maintenance Map or AMAFCA’s Interactive Facilities Map to determine who maintains the arroyo. Then call us at 884-2215 if it is maintained by AMAFCA, or, if it is maintained by the City, call City Arroyo Maintenance at 857-8250 or City Storm Drain Maintenance at 291-6214. See the Reporting a Problem tab of the Contact Us page for more information and other contact numbers.
What mapping or design resources does AMAFCA have available for check-out?
You may check out hard drives containing digital orthophotos and digital surfaces at AMAFCA.