Flood Protection Information

Flooding of stream systems has been, and in the absence of artificial flood control measures, may be expected to continue to be a common and natural occurrence in Ogle County. In portions of the watersheds, the streams overflow to occupy adjacent natural floodplains almost annually as a result of late winter-early spring snowmelt or snowmelt-rainfall events or in response to spring, summer, and fall thunderstorms. Damage from this flooding has been largely a consequence of the failure to recognize and understand the relationships that should exist between the use of land in both floodland and non-floodland areas of Ogle County, and the natural behavior of riverine and alluvial systems. This information page has been prepared by Ogle County to make you aware of any flood hazards in your area, and suggest possible actions you can take to protect yourself.

Flood Protection Information Directory

Current Watches, Warnings and Advisories
The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) is a program in NOAA’s National Weather Service designed to provide improved river and flood forecasting and water information. AHPS provides a suite of graphical and numeric products over the internet to assist community leaders and emergency managers in making better life and cost-saving decisions about evacuations and movement of property before flooding occurs. Current gage station data in cluding river stage and river stage forecast  is available for the Rock River at Byron.  Flood forecasts and warnings are issued as needed during times of high water.

Other sources for river and lake levels include:

Rock River stream gage data provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a site called Rivergages.com, which provides nation-wide water levels for lakes and streams.

Warning Systems in Ogle County (.pdf)

Emergency Preparedness
The Ogle County Emergency Management Agency (OCEMA) is responsible for coordinating the local emergency/disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation efforts of Ogle County.  OCEMA works to ensure that Ogle County will be adequately prepared to deal with natural or technological emergency and disaster causes to preserve the lives and property of the people of Ogle County and protect the public peace, health, and safety in the event of a disaster.

The National Flood Insurance Program – The National Flood Insurance Program’s official web site provides information regarding flooding and flood risks, flood insurance, emergency preparedness and recovery.

Flood Preparedness and Response – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on how to prepare for a flood, stay safe during a flood, and protect your health when you return home after a flood.

Ready.gov provides valuable information regarding preparing for a flood, what to do during and after a flood, flood insurance and more.

Flood Hazards and Safety Precautions (.pdf)

Flood Insurance

What you should know:

  • Flood losses are not typically covered under renter and homeowner’s insurance policies.

  • FEMA manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes federally-backed flood insurance available in communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage.  Ogle County is part of the NFIP and thus, residents are able to obtain flood insurance.

  • Flood insurance is available in most communities through insurance agents.

  • There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect, so don’t delay.

  • Flood insurance is available whether the building is in or out of an identified flood-prone area.

What you can do:

  • Find out if your home or business is at risk for flood and educate yourself on the impact a flood could have on you and your family. FEMA’s Flood Insurance Study compiled statistical data on river flows, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys to create flood hazard maps that outline your community’s different flood risk areas.

  • Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and determine if you need additional coverage.

  • Contact the NFIP. They can help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves if additional coverage is required. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. To find out more about the NFIP visit http://www.floodsmart.gov/.

Flood Maps

To identify a community’s flood risk, FEMA conducts a Flood Insurance Study (FIS). The study includes statistical data for river flow, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys. FEMA uses this data to create the flood hazard maps that outline your community’s different flood risk areas.  Ogle County, IL Flood Insurance Study (FIS).

Floodplains are shown as high-risk areas or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Some parts of floodplains may experience frequent flooding while others are only affected by severe storms. However, areas directly outside of these high-risk areas may also find themselves at considerable risk.

Every home owner or tenant should know if their home is located in a high-risk floodplain or Special Flood Hazard Area.  Flood maps are available from the following:

FEMA Map Service Center
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (Illinois Flood Maps)
Ogle County GIS

FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer for Google Earth

How to Request a Change to Your Flood Zone Designation:  If you believe your property was incorrectly included in a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identified Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you may submit an application to FEMA for a formal determination of the property’s location and/or elevation relative to the SFHA. The SFHA is the area that has a 1-percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year; this area is also referred to by some as the 1-percent-annual-chance floodplain, base floodplain, or the 100-year floodplain. After FEMA reviews the map change request, it will issue a Determination Document, either approving or denying the map change. If FEMA grants the map amendment or revision request, the property owner may no longer be required to pay flood insurance. The property owner may send the Determination Document to their lender and request that the Federal flood insurance requirement for the structure be removed.

Flood Map Information Service

As a public service, the Ogle County Planning & Zoning Department will provide you with the following information upon request:

  • Whether a property is in or out of a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for Unincorporated Ogle County, IL;

  • Additional flood insurance data for a site, such as the FIRM Zone, the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), if show on the FIRM;

  • Flood depth data and historical flooding information;

  • We have handout material on the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement that applies to people who are getting a federally-backed mortgage or loan for a property in the SFHA;

  • Access to Elevation Certificates that have been processed in Unincorporated Ogle County, IL if they exist for a particular property;

  • We have copies of Letters of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letters of Map Revision (LOMR) on file.

If you would like to make an inquiry, please have the subject property’s address and Property Identification Number (PIN) available. The Ogle County Planning & Zoning Department office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. (excluding legal holidays). The Planning & Zoning Department may be reached via telephone at (815) 732-1190 or via e-mail at planning&zoning@oglecounty.org.  You may also inquire in person at 911 Pines Road, Oregon, IL. The Staff of the Ogle County Planning & Zoning Department will be willing to assist you any way we can. There is no charge for this service.

Hazard Mitigation Planning

In 2011, the Ogle County (along with the cities of Byron, Oregon, Polo and Rochelle; and the villages of Creston, Forreston, Hillcrest, Leaf River, Mt. Morris and Stillman Valley) adopted a Multi-Jurisdictional All Hazards Mitigation Plan (MJAHP) which sets forth the most appropriate, feasible, and effective hazard (including flood) mitigation strategies for Ogle County.  The MJAHP is currently in the process of being updated.  The DRAFT updated MJAHP is available here.

Floodplain Management Plan Progress Report

Know Your Flood Risk

Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Knowing your flood risks can help prepare you to reduce your flood damage.  Visiting FEMA’s online Map Service Center (MSC) can help you locate your property on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map.  If your property is in or near a Special Flood Hazard Zone, talk to your local floodplain manager (Michael Reibel, Ogle County Planning & Zoning Department at 815-732-1190) or insurance agent to understand the necessary steps that need to be taken to protect your property.  Talk to your local floodplain manager about other important methods of floodplain management such as: regulations, ordinances, obtaining necessary building permits, and mitigating against certain hazards that are not available on flood maps such as storm water run-off and ponding.

Know How to Reduce Your Flood Risk

Everyone lives in a flood zone; it’s the flood risk that varies.  Reducing your flood risk can involve changes to your house and property. Once you know the flood hazard, taking the following steps can help reduce your exposure to such a risk.

1. Relocate utilities. Your washer, dryer, furnace, water heaters, and heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC) equipment can be damaged in the event of a flood and should be elevated above the risk.

2. Ensure you have proper flood openings below finished floors. This will allow for the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.

3. Floodproof propane and fuel oil tanks. Propane and fuel oil tanks that are not properly flood proofed can pose a serious threat to your family, house, public safety and environment. To prevent oil tanks from floating away they should be anchored to a cement slab heavy enough to keep the tank secure.

4. Personal property should be moved above the risk or stored in water tight containers. This will help reduce the damage and expense to replace damaged personal property.

Find out more information about how to reduce your flood risk by visiting the National Flood Insurance Program web site.

Know How to Insure Your Flood Risk

Since homeowner insurance does not cover flooding you should see your insurance agent for your flood insurance rates. See all of your available flood insurance options by visiting the National Flood Insurance Program website at www.floodsmart.gov or talking to your local flood insurance agent about the ways you can save on your flood insurance policy.

FEMA Region V updates can be found on Twitter at: twitter.com/femaregion5. Visit FEMA’s Facebook page to see how FEMA operates in communities across America. http://www.facebook.com/FEMA

Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains

Importance of Floodplains

Flood plains are areas adjacent to rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, and oceans that are periodically flooded at different points in time. Floodplains are hydrologically important, environmentally sensitive, and ecologically productive areas that perform many natural functions. They contain both cultural and natural resources that are of great value to society. Flooding occurs naturally along every river and coastal areas. Flood waters can carry nutrient-rich sediments which contribute to a fertile environment for vegetation. Floodplains are beneficial for wildlife by creating a variety of habitats for fish and other animals. In addition, floodplains are important because of storage and conveyance, protection of water quality, and recharge of groundwater.

Riverine Floodplains

Riverine systems such as the Rock, Kishwaukee, Kyte, and Leaf Rivers in Ogle County vary in steepness, width, flow, sediment deposition, and erosion. These riverine floodplains typically flood during the spring or summer, but are subject to periodic flooding due to excessive rainfall, ice jams or debris accumulation/jams. The flooding brings erosion and deposition of soils and can determine considerably the shape of the floodplain, the depth and composition of soils, the type and density of vegetation, the presence and extent of wetlands, richness and diversity of wildlife, and the depth of groundwater. The major flood component of a riverine system is the flood way. Flood ways are defined as that area of the watercourse that is necessary to carry the base flood without increasing the water surface elevation more than one foot. Development is heavily regulated in flood way areas. Riverine systems are important habitats for a variety of fish, reptiles, vegetation, and furbearing wildlife. These systems provide feeding and breeding grounds for these species.

Benefits to Humans

Floodplains provide cultural, educational, recreational, and scenic values to humans. The earliest Native Americans settled in and around floodplains, as they provided a wealth of food and provided the easiest means of travel. Consequently floodplains include many archaeological and historical sites. Floodplains also serve as a nature study center for scientific research. Due to the scenic value that they provide, floodplains are ideal locations for parks and campgrounds. Water-oriented sports and recreational activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, and camping are all dependent on floodplain areas. Wildlife resources in floodplains can be managed for observation, and recreational hunting and fishing. Natural floodplains are valuable in providing the “wilderness experience” that is an important part of American culture.


The importance of maintaining natural floodplains is not a difficult idea to understand. However, humans have always been attracted to floodplains because of their many sustaining attributes. Human development and industrialization take a toll on the natural functions of the floodplains. Development in the floodplains causes decreases in water quality, loss of wildlife habitats, and an increase in severity and frequency of flood losses. Understanding the importance of maintaining the natural functions of floodplains can lead to better floodplain management approaches that will better protect the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains.


The following resources and links can provide a better understanding of the importance of maintaining floodplains:

Protecting Floodplain Resources – A Guidebook for Communities

Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains