La Plata County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) so county residents can qualify for flood insurance underwritten by FEMA. To remain part of the National Flood Insurance Program, local governments are required to adopt regulations that meet or exceed FEMA’s minimum requirements. In addition to providing the minimum requirements, FEMA also assists local governments by promulgating Flood Insurance Studies and associated Flood Insurance Rate Maps for each participating local government. These maps assist local property owners, insurance agencies and financial institutions in determining flood hazard zones, and they provide technical, hydrological data that is used to administer floodplain management regulations and assure compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program. La Plata County’s floodplain management regulations are in Chapter 78 of the La Plata County Land Use Code, "Floods."
In May 2006, La Plata County began the effort to improve the County’s floodplain maps with $242,000 in funding from FEMA (80%) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (20%). New technology and aerial mapping processes have created better accuracy in determining the limits and depths of flood waters in the study area. After several public meetings and a public comment and appeal period,the flood plain maps developed for La Plata County became effective on August 19, 2010. The floodplain maps can be viewed on the County’s Interactive GIS mapping web site.