Many Golden Valley residents are already prepared for potential flooding. Those with homes near a floodplain have likely floodproofed their homes and purchased flood insurance, protecting themselves from costly damage. The information on this page can help you learn if your home or business is at risk for flooding and how to take action to prevent flood damage.
The City of Golden Valley has been working to manage flooding for decades. In 1969 the City joined seven western suburbs and Minneapolis to form an organization that later became the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission. The BCWMC worked with member cities, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies to build flood control structures on Bassett Creek.
- In Golden Valley, the Wisconsin Avenue Control Structure (2001) and the Boone Avenue Lift Station (2005) are two of many projects built to protect houses, businesses, and public infrastructure from flood waters. These structures operate automatically whenever the creek reaches dangerous levels. After heavy rains and during spring snow melt, Brookview Golf Course is one of several areas that serve as a flood water storage area to prevent Bassett Creek from overtopping its banks.
- All construction within the floodplain is regulated by section 113-125 of Golden Valley Code (Floodplain Management Overlay District). Within the regulatory floodplain, new construction and buildings that are cumulatively improved to more than 50 percent of the market value at the beginning of the project are required to be compliant with the City’s regulatory flood protection standards.
- All construction within Golden Valley requires permits. Get permit applications here.
Amid mounting costs associated with flood damage, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. Congress mandated that any home located in a community that participates in the NFIP and purchased with a federally backed mortgage must have flood insurance. Golden Valley residents can purchase flood insurance through this program because the City’s ordinances meet minimum NFIP guidelines.
Keep in mind that most homeowner's insurance policies don’t cover floods and that flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period before they begin. This is waived if insurance is purchased at the closing of a loan. Renters can buy flood insurance to cover the contents of their homes. For more information about floods and flood insurance, go to agents.floodsmart.gov/.
Flood insurance is purchased through local insurance agents. Call your agent or find one at https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance.
The purpose of the Flood Mitigation Cost Share Reimbursement Program is to increase community resilience by reducing flood risk and flood damages to properties located in flood prone areas throughout Golden Valley. Reducing flood risk and flood damage citywide will improve public health and safety, reduce public liability and cost, and preserve economic values, benefitting the entire community. Read the full policy here.
Applications must be received by October 1 of each year for implementation the following year. View the application here.
Applications must contain all required information, plans and exhibits, including all of the following criteria:
- elevation certificate completed by professional surveyor or engineer licensed in the State of Minnesota
- type of flood mitigation measure proposed and brief project description
- plan completed by a licensed design professional or contractor
- planning level cost estimate based on consultation with a professional engineer, architect, or contractor
- if applicable, supporting documentation showing evidence of previous flood damage insurance claims, invoices, photos, etc)
The City will review and evaluate applications in October and November to determine which projects will be selected to move forward for design, permitting, and construction the following year. Applicants will be notified in writing by November 30 as to 1) whether their project was selected to move forward, 2) next steps in the process, and 3) the maximum dollar amount for which their project is eligible.
Successful applicants shall accept or reject the selection by December 31. If the City does not receive confirmation of acceptance from an applicant by December 31, the approval may be withdrawn and the funds awarded to the next eligible applicant.
The City will award each successful applicant a one-time reimbursement incentive of 40 percent of the eligible flood mitigation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per property. The final not-to-exceed amount awarded to the applicant will be outlined in the flood mitigation agreement. The final reimbursement amount will be based upon actual cost once the project is complete.
This policy applies to existing primary structures located on residential single-family and duplex properties that meet at least one of the following two criteria:
- structure is identified as being at risk of flooding in a report or study completed or approved by the City of Golden Valley, Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission, State or Minnesota, or Federal agency (examples include the 2016 Medicine Lake Road & Winnetka Avenue Area Long Term Flood Mitigation Study, the 2002 Flood Damage Reduction Study, and drainage area studies completed for developments)
- structure is located in or adjacent to the floodplain and has a low opening elevation or lowest adjacent grade elevation that is below the base flood elevation as evidenced by an elevation certificate completed by a professional surveyor licensed in the State of Minnesota
Properties meeting the eligibility criteria above that have completed flood mitigation projects prior to adoption of this policy shall not be eligible for participation in the cost share reimbursement program.
This policy does not apply to properties located outside the floodplain that have experienced water intrusion from groundwater or sub-surface sources as determined by the City Engineer based on available evidence and data. This policy does not apply to new construction, or to accessory structures identified as being at risk of flooding.
- Flood Mitigation Cost Share Reimbursement Policy (PDF)
- Flood Mitigation Cost Share Reimbursement Application (PDF)
- Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission Flood Elevations (updated 2017) (PDF)
- FEMA NFIP Elevation Certificate and Instructions (PDF)
- Homeowner's Guide To Retrofitting: Floodproofing and Barriers (PDF)
Protect Your Property From Flooding Hazard
- Landscape your yard so surface water flows away from your home.
- Clean gutters and make sure eaves and downspouts are functional and pointing away from your home.
- Make sure your sump pump is working, and install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure.
- Install a water alarm to let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
- Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.
- Keep debris and trash out of nearby streams, ditches, and drainage ways.
- Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions, a copy of your insurance policy with your agent’s information, and copies of all other critical documents, and keep it in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box or waterproof container.
- Elevate furnaces, air conditioners and other utilities, above flood level.
Protecting Natural Flood Plain Functions
- Don’t dump things down the storm drains.
- Keep storm drains in your street free of leaves, garbage, and debris.
- Engineers and building inspectors can offer technical advice about flooding and drainage issues. Golden Valley staff is available at no charge for on-site visits to your home. Please call 763-593-8030 for an appointment.
- Golden Valley staff can provide information about whether your property is in the FEMA floodplain, FEMA floodway, or other flood areas as well as historical flood information (a small fee will be charged). This includes whether your property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on Hennepin County’s current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), which is the area that would be inundated by a flood having a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year, also known as the base flood. It also includes whether your property is in an area known to flood but not mapped on a FIRM, or is in an area that flooded in the past, and whether your property is in or near an area with a natural floodplain function (such as a wetland).
- Golden Valley staff can provide a floodplain search letter or additional flood insurance data, such as the FIRM effective date, panel number, flood zone designation, and the Base Flood Elevation or depth, if shown on the map (a fee of $25 will be charged for a floodplain search letter signed by the City engineer).
- The City can provide basic information regarding flood insurance requirements that can help people who need a mortgage or loan for a property in the SFHA, as well as elevation certificates for new and substantially improved structures in the SFHA.
- This FEMA website allows you to view Flood Insurance Rate Maps for any property in the city.
- If your home is threatened by flooding, grants may be available to help pay for the design and construction of berms or structural modifications to your home. Call Golden Valley Public Works at 763-593-8030 for more information.
- Base Flood: The flood having 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. This is also known as the 100-year flood.
- Flood: A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property) from one of the following:
- overflow of inland or tidal waters
- unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
- collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above
- Flood Insurance Rate Map: Official map of a community on which the Mitigation Division Administrator has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
- Flood Zone (Zone): A geographical area shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map that reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.
- Floodplain: Any land area susceptible to being inundated by floodwaters from any source.
- Floodplain Management: The operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage, including but not limited to, emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, and floodplain management regulations.
- Mandatory Purchase: Under the provisions of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, individuals, businesses, and others buying, building, or improving property located in identified areas of special flood hazards within participating communities are required to purchase flood insurance as a prerequisite for receiving any type of direct or indirect federal financial assistance (e.g., any loan, grant, guaranty, insurance, payment, subsidy, or disaster assistance) when the building or personal property is the subject of or security for such assistance.
- National Flood Insurance Program NFIP): A federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance protection against losses from flooding. This insurance is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.
- Preferred Risk Policy: A policy that offers fixed combinations of building/contents coverage or contents-only coverage at modest, fixed premiums. The PRP is available for property located in B, C, and X zones in Regular Program communities that meet eligibility requirements based on the property's flood loss history.
- Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA): A FEMA-identified high-risk flood area where flood insurance is mandatory for properties. An area having special flood, mudflow, or flood-related erosion hazards, and shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map as Zone A, AO, A1-A30, AE, A99, AH, AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/AH, AR/AO, AR/A1-A30, V1-V30, VE, or V.
Definitions are taken from www.floodsmart.gov/glossary.
Publications available at Golden Valley Library, on the FEMA website, and in brochure holders in Golden Valley City Hall:
- Above the Flood: Elevating Your Flood-Prone Home
- Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program
- Elevated Residential Structures
- Protecting Manufactured Homes From Floods and Other Hazards
- Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage
- Protecting Floodplain Resources
- Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding