Floodplain Management


The City of Malibu is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This program provides subsidized flood insurance for all property owners, provided that the local government institutes adequate land use and development control measures for preventing and reducing property damage from flooding. In addition, the City must ensure that all development projects within the floodplain comply with FEMA regulations and the City's Floodplain Ordinance.  New development projects, including redevelopment, home remodels and repairs, are reviewed the the Public Works Department to verify that the project project meets FEMA Regulations and the City Floodplain Ordinance.

New FEMA Floodplain Maps - approved

On February 27, 2023 staff presented the Council with an update on the New FEMA Floodplain maps that were recently approved by FEMA.  The new FEMA floodplain maps will become effective 120 days after FEMA has notified the public through publication.


The City completed a final analysis of 14 separate cross sections within the City and concluded that flood levels in the FEMA April 14, 2021 revised flood maps should be lower.  FEMA preliminary approved the revisions and will create new revised maps.  A map and detailed description of the proposed changes are listed here and in the following "Resources" section.

In 2011, FEMA began the process of re-evaluating and re-mapping sections of Malibu along the coastline. These maps represent an important step towards increasing public safety by better equipping residents and property owners to make decisions about protecting themselves and their properties.  FEMA completed this process and the revised floodplain maps became effective on April 21, 2021.

With these maps, residents and businesses have up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible information about their flood risk on a property-by-property basis. Community planners, engineers, builders, and others will be better able to make important determinations about where and how new structures and developments are built.

Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Changes Viewer to view both the current and preliminary maps and learn if your property’s flood zone designation has changed under the preliminary maps. To learn more about FEMA’s flood zone designations, visit the FEMA website.

City's appeal to FEMA's RE-Mapping 

Prior to finalizing the revised floodplain maps, FEMA provided an opportunity to appeal the revisions to the re-mapped flood zones. During the appeal period, residents (and the City) were able to submit appeals and protests if they disagreed with the maps and believed an error had been made during the analysis and re-mapping. 

On November 6, 2017, the City submitted an appeal to FEMA describing the various challenges to the preliminary flood plain maps. Additional data and analysis was submitted to FEMA in February 2018.  FEMA has reviewed the City’s appeal and provided the City with a response on November 8, 2018.  The response provided the City with 30 days to provide additional comments regarding FEMA’s response.  Due to the Woolsey Fire, the City requested an extension to provide FEMA with comments regarding their November 8, 2018 letter.  On December 7, FEMA granted the City an extension.  The City received a letter from FEMA and the extension was granted to April 8, 2019.  On April 8, 2019, the City submitted a response to FEMA’s November 8, 2018 comments to the City’s appeal.

The City continues to work closely with FEMA regarding the City’s appeal of the revised FEMA flood maps.  The City’s consultant (Moffat & Nichol) has conducted several conference calls with FEMA regarding the City’s proposed methodology to determine the base flood elevations along the coastline. They also performed a new land survey and then re-calculated the depth of flooding along the coastline. 

Development in the fema flood zone

All development, redevelopment, remodels and repairs in a mapped FEMA Flood Zone must meet FEMA and City of Malibu Floodplain Ordinance.  All development projects submitted to the Planning Department will be reviewed by the Public Works Department to verify that the project will meet the FEMA Regulations and the City's Floodplain Ordinance.  Some projects may be required to elevate the structure above the flood base flood elevation and execute a FEMA Elevation Certificate.


For information regarding flood zones, flood insurance, Special Flood Hazard Area regulations, or copies of elevation certificates, contact the City’s Public Works Department.