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Floodplain development requirements:

  • Any work done in the 100-year floodplain requires review including:
    • New or expanded structures
    • Reconstruction
    • Any dirt work, such as boring, grading, or excavation
  • Floodplain determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • State review by the Iowa DNR
  • Local Floodplain Development Permit

State review:

  • Joint Application required to determine state permits required
  • State review must be completed before local review. 

Local Floodplain Information

Cerro Gordo County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. In order to ensure benefits of the program for county residents, we must make sure any work in a floodplain is up to DNR and local requirements. Local rules are established in Chapter 21 of the County Zoning Ordinance.


Floodplain Development Education: Flooding in Iowa

What is Flooding in Iowa?

Flooding in Iowa is a series of short videos, 6-12 minutes in duration that address five (5) broad topics:

  1. understanding flooding and its causes
  2. the history and purpose of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
  3. how floodplains are identified and mapped
  4. how floodplains are regulated
  5. the basics of flood insurance

The videos are intended for viewers without specialized experience in floodplain management, engineering, law, hydrology, or the NFIP.

  • Video 01: The National Flood Insurance Program - History
  • Video 02: The National Flood Insurance Program - The Purpose of the NFIP
  • Video 03: The National Flood Insurance Program - How do we join? What are the benefits?
  • Video 04: The National Flood Insurance Program - Community Responsibilities
  • Video 05: Watersheds, Rivers and Floodplains
  • Video 06: Types of Flooding
  • Video 07: Factors Affecting Flooding
  • Video 08: An Introduction to Floodplain Maps - Understanding Flood Maps and Flood Risk
  • Video 09: Floodplain Maps - Understanding the Features of a Floodplain Map
  • Video 10: Floodplain Maps - Understanding Flood Zones
  • Video 11: Changing Floodplain Maps - Letters of Map Change
  • Video 12: Floodplain Maps - Accessing Maps, Creating FIRMettes
  • Video 13: Overview of Regulatory Requirements - What is Development? When is Permit Required?
  • Video 14: Federal and State Floodplain Regulation
  • Video 15: Local Floodplain Development Regulations
  • Video 16: Substantial Damages and Substantial Improvements
  • Video 17: Local Floodplain Regulations - Variances
  • Video 18: Local Floodplain Regulations - Beyond Federal and State Minimums
  • Video 19: Flood Insurance - Is Purchase Required? What Can Be Insured?
  • Video 20: Flood Insurance - Purchasing, Premiums, and Other Benefits
  • Video 21: The Community Rating System

Videos brought to you in collaboration with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Contact Us

Cerro Gordo County Courthouse
220 N Washington Avenue
Mason City, IA, 50401

Phone: (641) 421-3075
Fax: (641) 421-3088

Ask a Question


8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Monday thru Friday
Closed Weekends

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