Course Introduction

Welcome to Hazard Mitigation (HM) Floodplain Management in Disaster Operations.

This course is designed for Hazard Mitigation cadre members with a requirement to perform in or collaborate with FEMA HM Floodplain Management in a disaster operation.

E/L/B 207/ Introduction to Hazard Mitigation Field Operations should be completed prior to taking this course.

 

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course you will be able to:

  • Identify the functions and services of HM Floodplain Management in a disaster operation.
  • Refer to key authorities, programs, and resources related to HM Floodplain Management in disaster operations.
  • Indicate people and organizations key to HM Floodplain Management and opportunities for collaboration.

If you have any questions on this material after completing this course, contact a HM Floodplain Management Technical Specialist or a HM Floodplain Management Crew Leader. He or she will be able to answer questions or direct you to appropriate resources.

Navigating Using Your Keyboard

Below are instructions for navigating through the course using your keyboard.
  • Use the “Tab” key to move forward through each screen’s navigation buttons and hyperlinks, or “Shift” + “Tab” to move backwards. A box surrounds the button that is currently selected.
  • Press “Enter” to select a navigation button or hyperlink.
  • Use the arrow keys to select answers for multiple-choice review questions or self-assessment checklists. Then tab to the Submit button and press Enter to complete a Knowledge Review or Self-Assessment.
  • Warning: Repeatedly pressing Tab beyond the number of selections on the screen may cause the keyboard to lock up. Use Ctrl + Tab to deselect an element or reset to the beginning of a screen’s navigation links (most often needed for screens with animations or media).
  • JAWS assistive technology users can press the Ctrl key to quiet the screen reader while the course audio plays.

Course Overview

This course includes five lessons.

The rest of this lesson focuses on the organization, functions, and products of HM Floodplain Management.

  • Lesson 2, Key Authorities and Programs addresses the authorities, regulations, and other guidance that relate to HM Floodplain Management.
  • Lesson 3, Key Resources covers resources which support HM Floodplain Management staff including the HM Field Operations Guide and the HM Disaster Workforce Website.
  • Lesson 4, Collaboration, focuses on identifying the stakeholders and organizations key to HM Floodplain Management and methods for successful collaboration with those stakeholders.
  • Lesson 5, Vignette Activities, provides an opportunity to review course concepts in the context of hypothetical disaster events and recall key points related to HM Floodplain Management.
  • Lesson 6, Course Conclusion, reviews the key learning objectives of the course and provides a link to the final exam for this course.

Lesson 1 Objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify where HM Floodplain Management fits within the Hazard Mitigation organization during disaster operations.
  • Describe the functions and services of the HM Floodplain Management organization in a disaster.

 

HM Floodplain Management in the HM Organization

HM Floodplain Management is part of HM Floodplain Management and Insurance.

Organization of HM Floodplain Management and Insurance

HM Floodplain Management and Insurance includes up to four sub-functions, depending on the nature and size of the event.

  • HM Floodplain Management – provides technical assistance to promote and facilitate community floodplain management in support of NFIP program objectives and requirements.
  • HM Floodplain Management Damage Determination – provides technical assistance to support communities in the collection of damage data, including use of the Substantial Damage Estimator tool or other tools as appropriate, and interpretation of data, all consistent with the requirements of the local Floodplain Management Ordinance.
  • HM Insurance – serves as a resource for NFIP flood insurance information for internal JFO staff, state and local officials, and citizens.
  • HM Insurance Hotline – operates the JFO Insurance Hotline when activated.

Positions within HM Floodplain Management and Insurance

The HM Floodplain Management and Insurance organization has a hierarchy of positions. Staffing varies based on the scope of a disaster and the needs of the communities affected and not all disasters will require all positions.

This graphic shows the hierarchy of positions within Floodplain Management and Insurance, and is not a staffing or organizational chart.

Functions of HM Floodplain Management

This course focuses on HM Floodplain Management functions , which are:

  • Promote floodplain management
  • Provide technical assistance on floodplain management regulations
  • Promote and disseminate NFIP information Floodplain

Management works with a variety of internal and external partners and stakeholders to carry out these functions. The scope and details of each function vary depending on the size and type of disaster event.

These functions are covered on the following three screens.

Promote Floodplain Management

One of the most important functions for HM Floodplain Management staff is to promote sound floodplain management during disaster recovery by:

  • Communicating flood risk
  • Encouraging and assisting communities to update and adopt flood damage prevention ordinances that exceed NFIP minimum requirements

Provide Guidance on Floodplain Management Regulations

HM Floodplain Management staff provide guidance to internal and external partners regarding the NFIP’s floodplain management regulations that support the Hazard Mitigation Strategy. These partners include:

  • FEMA incident workforce staff assigned to HM Insurance
  • FEMA incident workforce staff assigned to Individual Assistance (IA)
  • FEMA incident workforce staff assigned to Public Assistance (PA)
  • State/Tribal/Local Officials
  • Flood Insurance Claims Offices or Flood Response Offices
  • Communities

Click on the links for information on how HM Floodplain Management provides guidance to these partners.

Promote and Disseminate NFIP Information

HM Floodplain Management staff promotes and disseminates NFIP information to both internal and external entities during a disaster, including : Internal Hazard Mitigation entities:

  • HM Insurance
  • HM Community Education and Outreach (CEO)
  • HM Hazards and Performance analysis (HPA)

External entities:

  • FEMA External Affairs
  • Congressional Affairs Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA)
  • State/Tribal/Local Officials
  • Community Organizations

More information on how HM Floodplain Management promotes and disseminates NFIP information to these entities is listed below.

HM Floodplain Management staff may also promote NFIP through other Federal Agencies such as U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HM Floodplain Management Services

HM Floodplain Management provides a wide variety of critical services that are used by state, tribes, local community officials, individuals, JFO partners, etc.

These include:

  • Providing Flood Zone Determinations
  • Providing Base Flood Elevation Determinations
  • Inputting current information into the FEMA Community Information Systems (CIS) database
  • Providing technical assistance on methods for gathering damage information and for calculating damages to support substantial damage determinations
  • Providing information on Repetitive Loss Properties and documenting and updating information in the National Flood Mitigation Data Collection Tool

Click on the links above for more information on these critical services.

Lesson Summary

This ends lesson 1. This lesson covered:

  • Where HM Floodplain Management fits within the Hazard Mitigation organization during disaster operations
  • The functions and services of the HM Floodplain Management organization in a disaster

In lesson 2 you will learn about:

  • The history behind today’s floodplain management concepts, regulations, and authorities
  • The key authorities and programs related to HM Floodplain Management in disaster operations.

Lesson 2 Objectives

HM Floodplain Management responsibilities are authorized by laws, regulations, and FEMA guidance. This lesson will enable you to refer to the appropriate authorities or regulations and programs, as needed, to work in HM Floodplain Management.

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • Recognize that floodplain management concepts, regulations, and authorities in effect today evolved in response to disaster events and advances in flood mapping technologies.
  • Describe the key authorities and programs critical to HM Floodplain Management.

History Behind the Floodplain Management Authorities

Before specifically addressing the objectives for this lesson, it is important to understand the history behind today’s floodplain management concepts, regulations, and authorities:

  • U.S. floodplain management began in New Orleans during the 1800s to control and stabilize the banks of the regularly flooding Mississippi.
  • The prime focus of U.S. floodplain management throughout the 1800s and early 1900s was flood control through the construction of floodwalls and levees, mainly by the Army Corps of Engineers.

While floodwalls and levees were being built to help control bank flooding, little was done to slow development within floodplains. Consequently, flood losses escalated as Federal spending increased. The lesson learned was that flood control alone is not enough to reduce escalating flood damages.

In 1933 the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was the first Federal effort to mitigate flooding damages through land use regulation.

  • Although flood damages continued to grow elsewhere in the U.S. until the 1950s, TVA flood prone areas successfully limited flood damages
  • The success of the TVA model was attributed to land use regulations that limited development in flood prone areas.
  • The TVA best-practice model provided the precedent for NFIP regulation of land use.

The Authorities

The authorities, regulations and resources that were modeled on the success of the TVA are the basis for the three components of the NFIP. They are:

  • Risk Identification ( Flood Insurance Rate Maps)
  • Risk Management ( local floodplain management ordinances)
  • Risk Reduction (NFIP Insurance)

FEMA Floodplain Management Specialists primarily focus on risk management during disaster response and recovery operations.  They do this by assisting local community officials in understanding and complying with the requirements of the local ordinance.

The Authorities (cont.)

Details on each of the laws listed  are provided below.

  • National Flood Insurance Act, 1968
  • Flood Disaster Protection Act, 1973
  • Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), 1982 and 1990National Flood Insurance Reform Act, 1994
  • National Flood Insurance Reform Act, 2004
  • Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, 2012
  • Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act 2014
  • Executive Orders 11988,11990, and 13690

National Flood Insurance Act, 1968

This Act created the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), making flood insurance available to communities that adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. Congress intended to reduce the expenditure of disaster funds by providing an insurance mechanism not available through private sources for at-risk properties (i.e. private insurance companies were not writing flood insurance).

Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FHBM) developed in conjunction with this law were based on approximate flood areas.

Since the creation of the NFIP, the National Flood Insurance Act has been amended by several additional Acts; each is intended to clarify or enhance the NFIP.

Flood Disaster Protection Act, 1973

The purpose of the Act was to:

(1) Substantially increase the limits of coverage authorized under the national flood insurance program;

(2) Provide for the expeditious identification of, and the dissemination of information concerning, flood-prone areas;

(3) Require states or local communities, as a condition of future Federal financial assistance, to participate in the flood insurance program and to adopt adequate flood plain ordinances with effective enforcement provisions consistent with Federal standards to reduce or avoid future flood losses; and

(4) Require the purchase of flood insurance by property owners who are being assisted by Federal programs or by federally supervised, regulated, or insured agencies or institutions in the acquisition or improvement of land or facilities located or to be located in identified areas having special flood hazards.

Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), 1982 and 1990

CBRA was enacted to prohibit new Federal financial assistance, including Federal flood insurance and disaster assistance, in designated areas of undeveloped coastal barrier islands off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

  • Under the Act, no new development using Federal funding is permitted unless it is unavoidable, and functionally dependent as defined in 44 CFR Part 59.1.
  • US Fish and Wildlife is in charge of CBRA.

National Flood Insurance Reform Act, 1994

This Act strengthened requirements of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 by clarifying the responsibilities of mortgage lenders and by giving express authority to the lenders to require flood insurance under certain circumstances. Congress passed this Act because mortgage lenders had not been effective in requiring flood insurance for loans for properties in high-risk flood prone areas.

The Act further:

  • Requires people who receive Federal disaster assistance to purchase flood insurance
  • Prohibits people from receiving certain types of Federal disaster assistance if they were required to buy flood insurance on a prior disaster and did not buy the insurance or maintain a policy, or if the community in which they reside does not participate in the NFIP

National Flood Insurance Reform Act, 2004

At the time this Act was passed, approximately 1 percent of insured properties accounted for 25 to 30 percent of NFIP claim losses, as repetitive loss properties (two or more NFIP claims of over $1,000 each within a 10 year period).

This Act took steps to reduce the number of repetitive NFIP claims and reduce flood losses and costs associated with insurance claims.

This Act:

  • Authorized the Repetitive Flood Claims (RFC) pilot program.
    • Up to $10 million is available annually for FEMA to provide RFC funds to assist states and communities to reduce flood damages to insured properties that have had one or more claims to the NFIP.
  • Authorized the Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) program
    • The SRL program provides funding to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to SRL structures insured under the NFIP.

An SRL property is defined as a residential property that is covered under an NFIP flood insurance policy, and:

  • Has at least four NFIP claim payments (including building and contents) over $5,000 each, and the cumulative amount of such claims payments exceeds $20,000; or
  • For which at least two separate claims payments (building payments only) have been made with the cumulative amount of the building portion of such claims exceeding the market value of the building

Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

This 2012 Act:

  • Eliminated most subsidized premium rates for flood insurance
  • Required development of a process for determining when a flood event has commenced for the purpose of flood insurance coverage
  • Defined substantial improvement as any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 30 percent of the market value of the structure before the “start of construction” of the improvement
  • Removed limitations on state contributions to updated flood mapping (previously, there was a limit of a 50 percent state contribution to the costs of new flood maps)
  • Required development of flood data on a watershed basis
  • Authorized funding for the NFIP for 5 years, bringing some stability to the program that had been relying on short-term funding extensions for a number of years

Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014

This Act repealed and modified certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which was enacted in 2012, and made additional program changes to other aspects of the program not covered by that Act. Many provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act remained.

The Act:

  • Lowered rate increases on some policies
  • Prevented some future rate increases
  • Clarified and permitted policies to be grandfathered
  • Implemented a surcharge on all policyholders
  • Repealed certain rate increases that had already gone into effect and provided for refunds to those policyholders

The Act requires FEMA to designate a Flood Insurance Advocate to advocate for the fair treatment of NFIP policy holders. The Act further authorized additional resources for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to complete an affordability study.

Executive Orders 11988, 11990, and 13690

Executive Orders (EO) are signed by the President and apply to all Federal agencies and Federally funded projects.

EO 11988, Floodplain Management, and EO 11990, Protection of Wetlands, require Federal agencies to:

  • Avoid actions that adversely impact floodplains and wetlands
  • Avoid direct and indirect support of floodplain development when there is a practical alternative elsewhere

EO 13690 amended EO 11988 by implementing Federal Flood Risk Management Standards.

Regulations for Floodplain Management

Regulations are issued by Federal agencies, boards, or commissions. They explain how the agency intends to carry out a law passed by Congress and Executive Orders such as those previously described.

Federal regulations are created through a process known as “rulemaking” and are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations.

FEMA floodplain management regulations are found in Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): Emergency Management and Assistance.

Policies and procedures for Federal floodplain management are found in:

  • 44 CFR Part 9
  • 44 CFR Parts 59 to 78

These policies and procedures, implemented by FEMA, are explained next, beginning with Part 9.

44 CFR is also available in an electronic format.

44 CFR Part 9: Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands

Part 9 of 44 CFR provides policy, procedure, and responsibilities for implementing:

  • Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management
  • Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands

Section 9.6 includes an eight-step process that FEMA must utilize as part of the decision-making process for all projects that have potential impacts to or within the floodplain or wetland.

  • For example, during preparation of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program project applications and review of Public Assistance Project Worksheets, an environmental review is required to ensure selected projects adequately protect wetlands, floodplains, and the environment.

FEMA has no oversight or regulatory authority over other Federal agencies as it pertains to implementing the Order.

Both FEMA HQ and FEMA Regional staff, including Floodplain Management Specialists, provide consultation and guidance to other Federal agencies on a request basis.

44 CFR Part 59: General Provisions

44 CFR Part 59 identifies flood management requirements communities must satisfy before flood insurance becomes available, and defines floodplain management terms.

  • The HM Floodplain Management Specialist should be familiar with the general requirements for NFIP participation to be able to recognize situations of noncompliance that may cause a community to be either placed on probation or suspended from NFIP participation.
  • Understanding the terms defined in 44 CFR Part 59 allows the FPM Specialist assigned to a disaster to accurately advise community officials so they may properly enforce the local floodplain management ordinance. There are several key terms, definitions, and important facts which every FPM Specialist must know. They are available on a single-sheet job aid. Download and review this job aid before proceeding in this lesson.

 

Download 44 CFR Key Terms by clicking here.

Key Terms

Area of Special Flood Hazard            

DEFINITION: Area of special flood hazard, commonly known as Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is the land in the flood plain within a community subject to a 1 percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year. The area may be designated as Zone A on the Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM). After detailed ratemaking has been completed in preparation for publication of the flood insurance rate map, Zone A usually is refined into Zones A, AO, AH, A1-30, AE, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A, VO, or V1-30, VE, or V. For purposes of these regulations, the term “special flood hazard area” is synonymous in meaning with the phrase “area of special flood hazard”.

IMPORTANT FACT: The SFHA on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or FIRM is indicated with hash marks in a dark shared area.

Base Flood            

DEFINITION: Base flood means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.

IMPORTANT FACTS: Base flood is often referred to by the term “100 year flood.”  This term is often misunderstood. “One percent annual chance flood” is more descriptive and accurate. A common misperception is that property located in the 100 year floodplain is at risk for flooding once every 100 years. Rather, in a 100 year floodplain there is a one percent chance of flood every year, equating to a 26 percent chance of flooding during the life of a 30 year mortgage. Everyone lives in a designated flood zone – any area has either a high, medium, or low risk of flooding.

The computed  elevation to which flood water is anticipated to rise during a base flood is called the “base flood elevation.”

Development      

DEFINITION: Development means any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials.

IMPORTANT FACT: When reviewing local floodplain ordinances, be sure “development” is defined in a manner consistent with the NFIP definition in the CFR.

Lowest Floor       

DEFINITION: Lowest Floor means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). An unfinished or flood resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage in an area other than a basement area is not considered a building’s lowest floor; provided, that such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of the applicable non-elevation design requirements of §60.3.

IMPORTANT FACT: An unfinished or flood resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage in an area other than a basement area is not considered a building’s lowest floor if certain conditions are met. The lowest floor is sometimes confused with finished floor or lowest habitable (finished or used as living or work area) floor. An unfinished floor may be considered the building’s “lowest floor” if the non-elevation design requirements are not met.

Regulatory Floodway         

DEFINITION: Regulatory floodway means the channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height.

IMPORTANT FACT: A one foot rise is a standard for floodway surcharge amount. Many states have chosen to adopt a lesser surcharge amount (stricter standard). Always check to see how the floodway was computed in the state in which you are working.

Substantial Damage           

DEFINITION: Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

IMPORTANT FACT: The provisions apply when a structure sustains damage/improvements of any origin and the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damage condition, and/or the cost of the improvements, would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage/improvement occurred.

Substantial Improvement

DEFINITION: Substantial improvement means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the “start of construction” or the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred substantial damage, regardless of the actual repair work performed.

IMPORTANT FACT:  Substantial improvement does not include either any project for improvement of a structure correcting existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions OR, any alteration to a historic structure provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a historic structure.

Additional Key Terms

Two other terms you should be familiar with are “Floodway Fringe” and “Sanctioned Community.”

Floodway Fringe

Floodway fringe is the remainder of the floodplain after the floodway has been determined. Generally floodway fringe includes the slower velocity backwater area of the floodplain.

Sanctioned Communities

Some communities choose not to join the NFIP after the data has been provided upon which a floodplain regulation can be based, or do not fulfill their obligations to the NFIP program.

These communities may be “sanctioned” and are also identified as non-participating communities.

In “sanctioned” communities:

  • Residents are denied the opportunity to purchase NFIP flood insurance.
  • Federal agencies are prohibited from approving any financial assistance for acquisition or construction in SFHA. This includes Federal agencies making loans or grants for the permanent repair of damaged buildings.

44 CFR Parts 59-78

The next part of this lesson explores important provisions in Parts 59-78 which a HM FPM Specialist must understand to properly advise local community officials.

Part 59.2: Community Participation in NFIP

44CFR Part 59.2:

  • Briefly describes the National Flood Insurance Program
  • Summarizes the community requirements to qualify for the sale of Federally-subsidized flood insurance

Part 59.2 also states that to qualify for the sale of this flood insurance, a community must:

  • Adopt and submit to the Federal Insurance Administrator as part of its application, floodplain management regulations
  • Satisfy, in the regulations, at a minimum, the criteria set forth at 44 CFR Part 60, designed to reduce or avoid future flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) or flood-related erosion damages
  • Include, in these regulations, effective enforcement provisions

44 CFR Part 60: Criteria for Land Management and Use

44 CFR Part 60 contains requirements for floodplain management regulations.

Part 60.3 prescribes the floodplain management criteria for flood-prone areas. It is the basis of the local community’s floodplain management ordinance and provides the minimum requirements associated with particular regulations. The level of regulation and the requirements a community belonging to the NFIP must follow depend on available mapping data.

Based on the mapping data developed, communities must comply with the following requirements:

60.3a: No Map

  • 60.3b: FHBM OR FIRM only showing A zones
  • 60.3c: FIRM with BFEs computed
  • 60.3d: FIRM with BFEs and Floodway computed
  • 60.3e: Coastal hazard areas computed
These requirements are cumulative. For example, a community with a Flood Insurance Rate Map with calculated BFEs, which follows the requirements of 60.3(c), must also comply with the requirements for 60.3(a) and 60.3(b).

“The Regulation Staircase”

This graphic illustrates the cumulative effect of the regulations. You can think of the regulations for a community in the NFIP as a staircase:

  • Regulations build in increments according to available flood hazard data and flood zone designations.
  • Each step adds more stringent regulations as the identification of the flood hazard is more narrowly honed.

When a community joins the NFIP:

  • It enters at a level relative to the type of mapping data available for that community.
  • The degree of regulation the community needs to adopt and enforce is based upon this level.

The next few screens look at each step of the staircase individually.

60.3(a): No Map

60.3(a) When the Federal Insurance Administrator has not defined the special flood hazard areas within a community, has not provided water surface elevation data, and has not provided sufficient data to identify the floodway or coastal high hazard area, but the community has indicated the presence of such hazards by submitting an application to participate in the NFIP, the community has certain responsibilities:

  • Community Responsibilities in all areas (60.3a)
  • Community Responsibilities in Flood-prone areas

Click on the links above for details on community responsibilities outlined in 60.3(a)

Community Responsibilities in All Areas

  • Require permits for all development
  • Ensure all permits have been received
  • Review permit applications to determine if buildings will be reasonably safe from flooding
  • Review new development proposals to determine if reasonably safe from flooding

Community Responsibilities within Flood-prone Areas

  • Ensure water supply systems minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems
  • Locate onsite waste disposal systems to avoid system impairment or contamination from flooding
  • Ensure sewage and waste disposal systems minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems, and of discharges from the systems into flood waters

60.3(b): FHBM OR FIRM only showing A zones

60.3(b) When the Federal Insurance Administrator has designated areas of special flood hazards (A zones) by the publication of a community’s FHBM or FIRM, but has neither produced water surface elevation data nor identified a floodway or coastal high hazard area, the community has additional responsibilities:

  • Community Responsibilities in All Areas
  • Community Responsibilities in Riverine Situations

Click on the links above for details on community responsibilities outlined in 60.3(b)

Community Responsibilities in All Areas

  • Require permits for all proposed construction/development within Zone A
  • Apply all standards from 60.3(a) (2)-(6)
  • Require all proposals for subdivision/development greater than 50 lots or 5 acres, whichever is less, include BFE data
  • Require development to meet certain requirements of 60.3 (c) and (d) when BFEs are utilized
  • Where BFE data are used:
    • Obtain the elevation (in relation to mean sea level) of the lowest floor
    • If floodproofed, obtain elevation to the level which is floodproofed
    • Maintain official records such as Elevation or Floodproofing Certificates

Community Responsibilities in Riverine Situations

  • Notify adjacent communities and State Coordinating Office prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse.
  • Assure flood carrying capacity in altered/relocated portion of any watercourse is maintained.
  • Ensure manufactured homes are installed using methods and practices which minimize flood damage, and in conjunction with local/state wind tie-down regulations.

60.3(c): FIRM with BFEs Computed

60.3(c) applies when the Federal Insurance Administrator has provided a notice of final flood elevations for one or more special flood hazard areas on the community’s FIRM and, if appropriate, has designated other special flood hazard areas without base flood elevations on the community’s FIRM, but has not identified a regulatory floodway or coastal high hazard area.

60.3(c) addresses multiple circumstances; this course will deal with the many individual topics relevant to HM Floodplain Management. The next several screens will focus on 60.3(c) before moving on to 60.3(d)

60.3(c) Paragraphs 2-9

There are different types of 1% flood, or A zones outlined in 60.3(c):
  • • A1-30 and AE: BFE determined
  • • AH: Shallow ponding (1-3 ft. BFE shown)
  • • AO: Shallow sheet flooding (1-3 ft. average depths shown)
  • • A99: Protected by flood protection system under construction
Paragraphs 2-9 of 60.3(c) address the elevation requirements for the lowest floor for residential, non-residential, and manufactured homes that are either new construction or substantial improvements within these A Zones. NFIP participating communities must comply with these requirements. They are summarized below:

60.3(c) Paragraphs 10-14

Paragraphs 10 and 13 limit any construction in the SFHA that will increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than one foot at any point within the community, unless an application for a conditional FIRM revision is approved.

Paragraph 11 requires adequate drainage paths around structures on slopes, to guide floodwaters around and away from proposed structures within Zones AH and AO.

Paragraph 12 addresses elevation requirements for manufactured homes located in an existing manufactured home park (refer to definitions in Part 59.1).

Paragraph 14 deals with recreational vehicles (RVs); in Zones A1-30, AH, and AE. This part of the regulations says that an RV may be on site a maximum of 180 consecutive days, OR be fully licensed and ready for highway use, OR meet the requirements for installation of manufactured homes.

Raising Structures to Meet or Exceed BFE

Raising structures in zones A1-30, AE and AH to at/above BFE can occur in a variety of ways.
  • • Fill
  • • Perimeter walls
  • • Posts
  • • Piles, columns, or piers
The method of elevation is determined by a variety of factors.

Click here to view a list of factors that may determine the method of elevation.

Factors that may determine the method of elevation include:
  • • Depth of flooding
  • • Flood velocities
  • • Construction style
  • • Other area hazards like wind or seismic zones
  • • Soil type
  • • Topography

60.3(c)(7): Lowest Floor Elevation, Zone AO

60.3(c)(7) covers structures in Zone AO, and states that the elevation for the lowest floor must be elevated above the highest adjacent natural grade by the depth number specified in feet on the FIRM or a minimum of 2 feet if no depth number is specified.

This graphic of a building shows the highest adjacent natural grade.

It is important to remember that it is the highest adjacent natural grade prior to the start of construction, not after the site has been re-graded.

Another permissible elevation technique is to use perimeter walls with lower enclosed areas.

Elevated Home on Perimeter Walls

These lower areas:

  • Can only be used for parking, building access, and storage
  • Are subject to additional requirements, including the use of flood-resistant materials below the BFE and the placement of permanent openings, frequently called flood openings, on the wall of the structure

Some communities require the owner or developer to sign a non-conversion agreement to ensure the lower level is not converted for uses other than parking, storage, and building access in the future.

 

This photo shows a home elevated with a perimeter wall.

60.3(c)(2) and (3): Lowest Floor, Zones A1-30 and AE

Paragraph 60.3(c)(2) requires that all new construction and substantial improvements of residential structures within Zones A1-30, AE and AH on the community’s FIRM have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated to or above the base flood level.*

*Note: Some communities may have been granted an exception by the Federal Insurance Administrator.

60.3(c)(2) and (3): Lowest Floor, Zones A1-30 and AE (cont.)

Paragraph 60.3(c)(3) requires that all new construction and substantial improvements of non-residential structures within Zones A1-30, AE and AH zones on the community’s firm have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated to or above the base flood level.

Paragraph 60.3(c)(3) requirements can also be met by designing new construction and substantial improvements to non-residential structures, and their attendant utility and sanitary facilities, so that they are watertight below the base flood level. Walls are required to be substantially impermeable to the passage of water, with structural components having the capability of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy.

Floodproofing also requires that the floodproofed building have a maintenance and operational plan.

60.3(c) (5)

Section (5) of 60.3(c) addresses flood opening ( also known as “crawl space”) and requires that:

  • Hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls be automatically equalized by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwaters
  • There be a minimum of at least two flood openings, located on at least two different walls, per crawl-space enclosure
  • Non-engineered flood openings have one square-inch of flood opening per every square-foot of enclosed area
  • The bottom of a flood opening be located no more than one foot above grade
  • Engineered flood openings are certified by a registered professional engineer or architect to equalize the hydrostatic pressure on both sides of the walls of enclosed areas in high risk flood areas

60.3(c)(3) and (4): Floodproofing in Zones A1-30 and AE

The floodproofing standards in 60.3(c) (3) and (4) apply ONLY to non-residential structures in lieu of elevation.

“Dry floodproofing” means the building is water tight: water can reach the building but no water is able to enter the building.

The structure owner is required to have a floodproofing certificate on file, signed and sealed by a state-licensed design professional.

60.3(c)(3) and (4): Floodproofing in Zones A1-30 and AE (cont.)

Dry floodproofing does not include a berm, levee, or floodwall around the building’s perimeter.

The level of floodproofing may affect flood insurance rates; there is an automatic deduction for one foot of floodproofing to account for wind or wicking effects. This deduction will cause insurance rates to rise.

  • For a floodproofed non-residential building to receive the same flood insurance rate as if its lowest floor is elevated to the BFE, it must be floodproofed to one foot above BFE.

Floodproofing of residential structures is generally not considered to be a substitute for having the lowest floor at or above the BFE.

  • Floodproofing of residential buildings is not recognized by either floodplain management or flood insurance rating.

60.3(c)(6) and (12)

Manufactured Homes, Zones A1-30 and AE, have special regulations under 60.3(c)(6) and (12).

Manufactured housing and recreational vehicles have more specific anchoring requirements because during a flood event they can incur floatation or lateral movement. When this occurs it may:

  • Place residents in danger of injury or death
  • Result in debris that damages or blocks bridges, or dams up waterways causing additional flooding damages

For example, manufactured homes must be anchored and elevated to minimize damage from wind and seismic hazards, as well as from flooding.

60.3(c)(10)

60.3(c)(10) states that until a regulatory floodway is designated:

“no new construction, Substantial Improvements, or other development (including fill) shall be permitted within Zones A1-30 and AE unless cumulative effect of the proposed development, when combined with all other existing and anticipated development, will not increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than one foot at any point within the community.”

Once FEMA has mapped a floodway, then no development in the floodway can cause increases to the BFE.

60.3(c)(11)

60.3(c)(11) requires adequate drainage paths around structures on slopes, to guide floodwaters around and away from proposed structures within Zones AH and AO.

Grading is considered development and requires a permit.

60.3(c)(14): Recreational Vehicles on Beach Site

This section covers recreational vehicle requirements. It requires that recreational vehicles placed on sites within Zones A1–30, AH, and AE on the community’s FIRM either:

(i) Be on the site for fewer than 180 consecutive days,

(ii) Be fully licensed and ready for highway use, or

(iii) Meet the permit elevation and anchoring requirements

Placement should be limited to 180 days.

The 180 day RV placement requirement is difficult to enforce and is done mostly on a complaint basis.

60.3(c)(14): Recreational Vehicles on Beach Site (cont.)

During disaster recovery, FEMA Housing Programs may place manufactured homes for periods longer than 180 days. This may occur when there is no suitable alternative.

The eight-step process prescribed in 44 CFR Part 9.6 and following is the best tool to use to make decisions about these time periods.

60.3(d): FIRM with BFEs and Floodways Computed

60.3(d) applies when the Federal Insurance Administrator has provided a notice of final base flood elevations within Zones A1-30 and/or AE on the community’s FIRM and, if appropriate, has designated AO zones, AH zones, A99 zones, and A zones on the community’s FIRM, and has provided data from which the community designates its regulatory floodway.

Under 60.3(d), the community has additional responsibilities. As 60.3(d) is another step higher on the regulatory staircase, all requirements from (c) must be met. Additional requirements under 60.3(d) can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

Community Responsibilities under 60.3(d)

Community Responsibilities under 60.3(d)

  • Design the regulatory floodway to keep water surface elevation increase of base flood to 1 foot maximum surcharge, unless a higher standard has been adopted by a state
  • Prohibit encroachment of floodway if the encroachment would increase flood levels (also called a “no-rise” requirement) throughout the community during the base flood discharge
  • Allow application process for exception of encroachment rule

60.3(d)(3)

60.3(d)(3) prohibits encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements, and other development within the adopted regulatory floodway unless it has been demonstrated through hydrologic and hydraulic analyses (performed in accordance with standard engineering practice) that the proposed encroachment would not result in any increase in flood levels within the community during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.

There are still communities that have separate FIRM and floodway maps.

60.3(d)(3): Floodway Surcharge

A designated floodway has the surcharge already calculated and is different than the cumulative standards found in 60.3(c)(10).

During a post-disaster visit to a local community, HM Floodplain Management Specialists should point out that the floodway requirements reflect stringent regulations while the floodway fringe requirements are less stringent.

Community officials may want to consider trading community-owned property out of the floodplain for property in the floodway, and then deed-restricting the floodway property.

60.3(e): Coastal Hazard Areas Computed

Under 60.3(e) a community has additional responsibilities when the Federal Insurance Administrator has provided a notice of final base flood elevations within Zones A1-30 and/or AE on the community’s FIRM and, if appropriate, has designated AH zones, AO zones, A99 zones, and A zones on the community’s FIRM, and has identified on the community’s FIRM coastal high hazard areas by designating Zones V1-30, VE, and/or V.

Key elements of 60.3(e) and the related community responsibilities are covered on the next several screens.

60.3(e): V Zone vs Riverine A or AE Zone

Community responsibilities under 60.3(e) differ between a coastal V Zone and riverine A or AE Zone. For example communities must:

  • Require that in coastal areas the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member, rather than the lowest floor, is elevated above the BFE
  • Allow only engineered breakaway walls in lower area enclosures in coastal areas, if permitted in the local floodplain management ordinance
  • Allow no fill to be placed in coastal V Zones as any kind of structural support
  • Discourage use of fill in riverine areas (elevation on fill is not encouraged but is still an option)

Coastal Barrier Resources Act and Other Included Area (CBRA Zones)

Flood insurance is not available in designated coastal barrier areas for new / Substantially Improved structures after the date of designation.

The local community should be able to determine the date of designation. If not, refer them to the appropriate FEMA Regional contact or State NFIP Coordinator.

Coastal Barrier Resources Act and Other Included Area (CBRA Zones) (cont.)

It’s important to remember the difference between the impact of wave action and still-water elevation in coastal flooding as depicted in the graphic below.

This cross-section shows elevations along one line, or transect, extending inland from the coast. Elevation values along this transect were included in the Flood Insurance Study.

A number of adjacent transects will be included in a study, and elevations between transects are interpolated.

 

Full description of image available here

60.3(e)(2): Zones VE and V1-30

In a V Zone, the community is required to ensure that the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member is elevated above the BFE to ensure that the wave action of the storm surge passes under the structural members.

This increases the likelihood that the structure will not be damaged by the force of the wave action.

60.3(e)(3): Location of New Construction

60.3(e) requires communities to ensure that all new construction is within Zones V1-30 or VE, and is located landward of the reach of mean high tide.

60.3(e)(4): Foundations, Zone V

60.3(e)(4) requires communities to ensure that pile/column foundation and attached structures are anchored to resist flotation, collapse, and lateral movement due to the effects of wind and water loads acting simultaneously on all building components. V Zone foundation design must be certified (signed and sealed) by a registered professional engineer or architect.

V Zone Certification

It is recommended but not mandatory that FEMA’s V-Zone certification be used or that all of the criteria in the certification be included if a substitute certification is used. There is now a two-page version of this certification available in the Coastal Construction Manual. This image shows a non-FEMA sample certificate a community may use.

60.3(e)(5): Space Below Lowest Floor

60.3(e)(5) requires communities to ensure that in both new construction and Substantial Improvements the space below the lowest floor must either be free of obstruction or constructed with:

  • Non-supporting breakaway walls
  • Open wood lattice-work
  • Insect screening

60.3(e)(5): Space Below Lowest Floor (cont.)

According to 60.3(e)(5), materials should break away under wind and water loads without causing damage to the elevated portion of the building or supporting foundation system through:

  • Collapse
  • Displacement
  • Other structural damage
These visuals show a structure with breakaway walls, before and after a flooding event. The walls have performed as designed. Open wood lattice-work is acceptable for enclosing the space below the lowest floor.

60.3(e)(6): Use of Fill

Communities must prohibit the use of fill for structural support of buildings according to 60.3(c)(6).

Fill is prohibited because if the fill under the structure washes away, it may cause the collapse of the floor system of the building.

60.3(e)(7)-(9)

60.3(e) also stipulates that communities:

(7) Prohibit man-made alteration of sand dunes and mangrove stands

(8) Require that manufactured homes be subject to the same rules that have been discussed with (e)(2)-(7)

(9) Require that RVs must be road-ready, licensed and only in position for fewer than 180 consecutive days, and be subject to the regulations (e)(2)-(7)

Note: A mangrove stand is defined by FEMA as: “An assemblage of mangrove trees which are mostly low trees noted for a copious development of interlacing adventitious roots above the ground and which contains one or more of the following species: Black mangrove, red mangrove, white mangrove, and buttonwood. Mangrove stands provide significant flood protection in some coastal areas by protecting landward areas from wave impacts. Human alteration of mangrove stands within V Zones is prohibited unless it can be demonstrated that such alteration will not increase potential flood damage.”

HM Floodplain Management Specialists should verify if the state or local community has adopted higher standards for construction in coastal high hazard areas. Being familiar with the higher standards allows the proper assistance to local communities.

Other Floodplain Management Regulations

There are other floodplain management regulations in the CFR.

It is important for Floodplain Management Specialists to recognize the title and purpose of these regulations to be able to refer to those documents.

44 CFR Part 64: Communities Eligible for the Sale of Insurance

44 CFR Part 64 describes requirements for flood insurance studies and the mapping of flood risks in communities as an eligibility requirement of the sale of flood insurance.

The purpose of this part is to define the types of zones which will be used for identifying the hazard areas on maps.

Other regulations apply to insurance regulations and community participation. Refer to 44 CFR for more information.

Flood Hazard Mapping Regulations

44 CFR Parts 65 to 70 provide guidance for the development and adoption of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

  • As was discussed in the Introduction to Hazard Mitigation Field Operations course, flood maps provide the information communities need to manage their floodplains.
  • FEMA NFIP provides flood maps when communities join the program.
  • HM Floodplain Management Specialists will need to be able to read and understand the flood maps.

44 CFR Parts 65 to 70: Flood Mapping

The CFR Parts 65-70 address areas specific to flood mapping. HM Floodplain Management staff should know what these regulations address.

Click on the links below for a summary of the following four key parts.

• 44 CFR Part 65: Identification and Mapping of Special Hazard Areas

• 44 CFR Part 66: Consultation with Local Communities

• 44 CFR Part 67: Appeals from Proposed Flood Map Elevation Determination

• 44 CFR Part 70: Procedures for Map Correction

44 CFR Part 65: Identification and Mapping of Special Hazard Areas

44CFR Part 65 addresses the steps a community needs to take in order to assist FEMA’s effort to provide up-to-date identification and publication of:

  • Special Flood Hazard Areas
  • Mudslide (i.e., mudflow) hazard areas
  • Flood-related erosion hazards

This includes procedures for issuing:

  • Letters of Map Revision (also referred to as LOMRs)
  • Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill (also referred to as LOMR–Fs)

44 CFR Part 66: Consultation with Local Communities

44 CFR Part 66 establishes procedures for flood elevation determinations of Zones A1–30, AE, AH, AO and V1–30, and VE within the community.

44 CFR Part 67: Appeals from Proposed Flood Map Elevation Determination

44 CFR Part 67 establishes procedures for:
  • • NFIP proposal of flood elevation determinations
  • • Owner or lessee appeal of a proposed flood elevation determination

44 CFR Part 70: Procedures for Map Correction

44 CFR Part 70 provides a process for review of the scientific or technical submissions of an owner or renter who believes his or her property has been inadvertently included in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area.

Part 70 applies when there is technical difficulty in accurately delineating the curvilinear line on either a FHBM or FIRM. It does not apply when there has been any kind of alteration of the topography since the effective date of the map.

CFR 44 Parts 71, 73, and 78: Implementation of Legislation

HM Floodplain Management staff may have reason to refer to other Parts of 44 CFR which describe how specific legislation is implemented.

Click on the links below for a summary of these parts.

  • 44 CFR Part 71: Implementation for Coastal Barrier Legislation
  • 44 CFR Part 73: Implementation of Sec. 1316 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968

44 CFR Part 78: Flood Mitigation Assistance

HM Floodplain Management Specialists should also know that 44 CFR Part 78 prescribes actions, procedures, and requirements for administration of the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program. FMA funding provides 75 percent Federal funding and 25 percent state/local cost sharing of home elevation, relocation, and demolition of substantially damaged homes.

44 CFR Part 71: Implementation for Coastal Barrier Legislation

44 CFR Part 71 includes development restrictions of property in coastal barrier areas.

44 CFR Part 73: Implementation of Sec. 1316 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968

44 CFR Part 73 addresses situations that may cause individual policy holders to lose their insurance coverage.

No new flood insurance can be provided for a property in violation of state or local laws, regulations or ordinances which are intended to discourage or otherwise restrict land development or occupancy in flood-prone areas.

Summary

This ends Lesson 2. This lesson covered:

  • The history behind today’s floodplain management concepts, regulations, and authorities
  • The key authorities and programs critical to HM Floodplain Management

In Lesson 3 you will learn about the key resources available to HM Floodplain Management Specialists.

Lesson 3 Objectives

In addition to regulations, legislation and program information, there are other resources for staff working in HM Floodplain Management.

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • Recognize key resources related to HM Floodplain Management in disaster operations.
 

HM Disaster Workforce Website

HM Floodplain Management resources may be easily accessed through the Hazard Mitigation Disaster Workforce Website (HMDWW).

This lesson focuses on two key elements of the website:

  • Demonstration of the electronic version of the Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide
  • Review of key HM Floodplain Management resources as accessed through the HM Disaster Workforce Website

The HM Disaster Workforce Website is accessible by the FEMA Intranet at: http://on.fema.net/components/fima/Pages/rds-hmdww.aspx

 

Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide (HMFOG)

The HMFOG is intended to assist Hazard Mitigation disaster workforce employees to carry out job tasks.

Section 4 of the HM Field Operations Guide describes how to accomplish the major responsibilities associated with HM FPM & Insurance.

An up-to-date copy of the HMFOG can be accessed on the Hazard Mitigation Disaster Workforce Website. It can be printed or used electronically on the Website.

 

Brief Tour of the Electronic Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide (HMFOG):

1. Locate the HMFOG on your computer and open the file.

2. Go to the Table of Contents. Point and click on the first section, Introduction to the Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide.

3. Read this Introduction section, which explains the foundation of the HMFOG and provides an overview of its contents.

4. Return to the Table of Contents. Locate and click on HM Floodplain Management and Insurance. The first three parts of this section are:

  • Overview, which briefly describes mission of HM Floodplain Management and Insurance
  • Functional Responsibilities, which lists the post-disaster functions performed by HM Floodplain Management and Insurance
  • Organization, which describes the sub-functions of HM Floodplain Management and Insurance

5. Return to the Table of Contents. Locate the HM Floodplain Management and Insurance Task Lists. The task lists describe the responsibilities assigned to positions within the HM functional group.

6. Locate and click on the Task List for your assigned position. The major tasks (shaded rows) and subtasks are on the left side. Any relevant operating procedures are listed on the right side.

7. Return to the Table of Contents. Locate HM Floodplain Management and Insurance Operating Procedures and review the list. The operating procedures describe how to accomplish tasks for which the HM functional group is responsible.

8. Locate and click on an Operating Procedure relevant to your assigned position. Every operating procedure includes standard components used to accomplish key activities:

  • Purpose
  • Procedure
  • Resources/Tools

9. Return to the Table of Contents. Locate HM Floodplain Management and Insurance Job Aids and review the list. The job aids help Hazard Mitigation staff implement defined tasks efficiently and effectively. The data collection job aids are not official FEMA forms; they were developed and used by HM Insurance field staff as helpful job tools.

Note: Some job aids are “fillable,” allowing staff to fill out the form and print it b. These job aids/ forms can be modified and saved for use without having to recreate the document.

Other Key Resources

FEMA and the NFIP have many excellent resources that are invaluable to HM Floodplain Management in a JFO. Becoming familiar with and knowing how to find these resources is essential to working in HM Floodplain Management.

These are also located on the Hazard Mitigation Disaster Workforce Website and include:

  • Mitigation Best Practices
  • NFIP Community Status Book
  • NFIP Floodplain Management References and Websites

The next screens will review some of these resources.

Mitigation Best Practices

The FEMA Mitigation Best Practices Portfolio consists of mitigation stories submitted by individuals and communities that describe measures they have taken to reduce the loss of life and property from disasters.

These Best Practices are meant to provide ideas and concepts about reducing losses and to encourage others to evaluate their own risk and consider mitigation as a long-term solution to reducing that risk.

Many best practices relate to floodplain management.

NFIP Community Status Book

The Community Status Book lists communities by state and by category of participation in the NFIP:

  • Communities that adopt floodplain management ordinances and are in good standing with NFIP
  • Communities that have failed to meet administrative requirements and are placed on “probation”

The Community Status Book also provides the following community-specific information:

  • Date of initial Flood Hazard Boundary Map
  • Date of initial Flood Insurance Rate Map
  • Date of current effective map
  • Date entered the NFIP
  • Whether the community is tribal or non-tribal

This information may be important to HM FPM Specialists when advising local authorities on their floodplain management ordinances. Community specific information may need to be updated to reflect current information.

NFIP Floodplain Management References

Other resources HM FPM Specialists should be aware of and which are available on the HMDWW include:

  • “What is Floodplain Management?” Webpage
  • NFIP Technical Bulletins
  • Association of State Floodplain Managers
  • FEMA Map Service Center
  • Elevation Certificates
  • FIRM Tutorial (How to read a FIRM)

 

Information on these resources appears below.

NFIP Technical Bulletins

The Technical Bulletins provide guidance on building performance standards of the NFIP.

The bulletins are intended for use by:

  • • State and local officials responsible for interpreting and enforcing NFIP regulations
  • • Members of the development community, such as design professionals and builders
The bulletins do not create regulations; rather they provide specific guidance for complying with the minimum requirements of existing NFIP regulations.

Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM)

The Association of State Floodplain Managers is an organization of professionals in:
  • • Floodplain management
  • • Flood hazard mitigation
  • • National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
  • • Flood preparedness, warning and recovery
ASFPM’’s mission is to:

“Promote education, policies, and activities that mitigate current and future losses, costs, and human suffering caused by flooding, and to protect the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains – all without causing adverse impacts.”

FEMA Map Service Center

If a FEMA, state, or local official wants to view the flood map of an area, a copy of the area Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) can be obtained through the FEMA Map Service Center (MSC).

This should be coordinated with the Floodplain Management Crew.

The MSC can also be contacted at: 1-877-FEMA-MAP

Elevation Certificates

A community’s permit file must have an official record that shows new buildings and Substantial Improvements in all identified Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are properly elevated.

This elevation information is needed to show compliance with the floodplain management ordinance.

FEMA encourages communities to use the Elevation Certificate developed by FEMA to fulfill this requirement since it also can be used by the property owner to obtain flood insurance.

Communities participating in the Community Rating System (CRS) are required to use the FEMA Elevation Certificate.

 

How to Read a FIRM

This resource provides a tutorial on how to read a Flood Insurance Rate Map.

Non-Regulatory Flood Risk Products

FEMA began Risk MAP in 2009.

The vision for Risk MAP is to deliver quality data that increases public awareness and leads to action that reduces risk to life and property.

Regulatory vs. Non-Regulatory Products

The Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) are the regulatory flood risk products that govern construction in the floodplain.

Risk MAP non-regulatory flood risk products (shown below) do not replace, but augment the regulatory products in aiding communities to better understand and mitigate flood risk.

Flood Risk Datasets and Products

Three Flood Risk Products are generated from four Flood Datasets. Click on the links below for details on these Flood Risk Datasets and Flood Risk Products:

Flood Risk Datasets:

  • Flood Depth & Analysis Grids
  • Flood Risk Assessments
  • Changes Since Last FIRM
  • Areas of Mitigation Interest

Flood Risk Products:

  • Flood Risk Database
  • Flood Risk Report
  • Flood Risk Map

NOTE: Under Risk MAP, FEMA produces flood risk products along with regulatory flood map updates. FEMA undertakes a limited number of flood risk projects each year that take several years to complete. As a result, flood risk products are not available in all communities.

Flood Depth & Analysis Grids

  • • Illustrate not only where the floodplain may lie, but also the depth of flooding that can occur for different flood frequencies.
  • • Expresse potential flood levels in more understandable terms, e.g. “5 ft.” versus “BFE of 112.”

Flood Risk Assessments

  • • Combines probabilities with consequences in a way that quantifies the flood risk in terms of potential dollar losses.

Changes Since Last FIRM

  • • Identifies specific changes between a new FIRM and the one it replaces.

Areas of Mitigation Interest

  • • Helps provide specific, actionable options for the community to capture in its local and state-level hazard mitigation plans, and how to implement to comply with the NFIP.

Flood Risk Database

  • • All data resides in this database, which is then used to create the Flood Risk Map and the Flood Risk Report.

Flood Risk Report

  • • Provides holistic understanding of flood hazard and risk within watersheds.
  • • Includes overview and visual representation of datasets.

Flood Risk Map

  • • Generated from Flood Depth & Analysis Grids.

Summary

This concludes Lesson 3. This lesson covered:
  • • Floodplain management authorities
  • • Part 9 and Section 59 to 78 of 44 CFR
  • • Executive Order 11988 and 11990
  • • Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide
  • • Resources for HM Floodplain Management and how to find them on the HM Disaster Workforce Website
Lesson 4 will cover HM Floodplain Management collaboration in disaster operations.

Lesson 4 Objectives

This lesson describes the key people and organizations with whom HM Floodplain Management staff collaborate during disaster operations:

  • Hazard Mitigation co-workers
  • Other JFO organizations
  • State government
  • Local government

This collaboration is necessary for HM Floodplain Management staff to perform their jobs and achieve Hazard Mitigation objectives.

At the conclusion of this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the people and organizations key to HM Floodplain Management.
  • Discuss opportunities for collaboration with these people and groups to achieve Hazard Mitigation objectives for the disaster.

Collaboration Requirements

In all disasters, HM Floodplain Management staff is expected to provide information and assistance on questions related to floodplain management.

In large flood disasters, interaction and collaboration with Hazard Mitigation co-workers, other JFO organizations, state and tribal governments, and local governments may be complex.

The foundation for successful collaboration in any situation is building good working relationships. The key to building and maintaining relationships is communication.

The Importance of Collaboration

Collaboration is essential in the success of the following HM Floodplain Management responsibilities:

  • Serving as the JFO point of coordination and as the resource on all floodplain management functions
  • Promoting community participation in the NFIP
  • Helping to ensure compliance with NFIP floodplain management regulations during disaster response and recovery
  • Providing floodplain management information to local, state, tribal, and JFO partners

Successful Collaboration

Every interaction is an opportunity to build relationships, educate, and promote mitigation.

Building Trust

Trust is essential to accomplishing FEMA’s mission and to meeting the goals of Hazard Mitigation. When there is a high degree of trust, people:

  • Openly ask for help and give assistance when needed
  • Are reliable about keeping agreements they make
  • Feel free to express ideas and opinions

This graphic shows the results possible when there is a high degree of trust in a group. Key among these are positive working relationships and communication and information flow.

The following screen describes these in more detail.

Positive Working Relationships

A high level of trust results in strong positive working relationships.

People are sincere in their concern for one another and are motivated to do what is necessary to work together and get the job done.

Communication and Information Flow

When working relationships are strong:

  • Communication and information flow will be strong.
  • People will have access to the critical information they need to do their jobs.
  • People are more likely to honestly assess and provide constructive feedback.

Finally, when communication and information flow are strong, the mission and goals of the organization are more easily accomplished.

Lesson Summary

This concludes lesson 4. This lesson has covered:

  • Identifying the people and organizations key to HM Floodplain Management
  • Tips to facilitate successful interactions with organizations from which HM Floodplain Management staff will solicit cooperation or assistance

Lesson 5 will present you with scenarios that require you to apply what you have learned in this course.

Lesson 5 Objectives

This lesson presents vignettes that require you to apply what you have learned. It introduces situations that HM Floodplain Management staff may encounter.

At the conclusion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Apply concepts and resources covered in the course.
 

Lesson Summary

This lesson covered:

• Application of concepts discussed in this course

 

The next lesson summarizes key points presented in this course and provides a link to the final exam.

Course Conclusion

This workshop has covered a large amount of information and some of the important skills needed to be a successful HM Floodplain Management staff member. The objectives of this course were to enable you to:

  • Identify the functions and products of HM Floodplain Management.
  • Refer to key authorities, programs, and resources related to HM Floodplain Management in disaster operations.
  • Indicate people and organizations key to HM Floodplain Management and opportunities for collaboration.

Lessons Review

Lesson 1, Introduction, identified where HM Floodplain Management fits within the Hazard Mitigation organization during disaster operations and described the functions and services of the HM Floodplain Management organization in a disaster.

Lesson 2, Key Authorities and Programs, addressed the authorities, regulations, and other guidance that relate to HM Floodplain Management.

Lesson 3, Key Resources, described key resources available to the HM FPM Specialist, including the HM Field Operations Guide and the HM Disaster Workforce Website that support HM Floodplain Management.

Lesson 4, Collaboration, identified the people and organizations key to HM Floodplain Management and presented methods for successful collaboration with them, to achieve floodplain management objectives for the disaster.

Lesson 5, Vignette Activities, provided an opportunity to review workshop concepts in the context of hypothetical disaster events.

 

Lesson 3 Review

Lesson 3, Key Resources, described key resources available to the HM FPM Specialist, including the HM Field Operations Guide and the HM Disaster Workforce Website that support HM Floodplain Management.

Lesson 4 Review

Lesson 4, Collaboration, identified the people and organizations key to HM Floodplain Management and presented methods for successful collaboration with them, to achieve floodplain management objectives for the disaster.

Lesson 5 Review

Lesson 5, Vignette Activities, provided an opportunity to review workshop concepts in the context of hypothetical disaster events.

Course Completion

Congratulations on having completed the final lesson. To receive credit for this course, you must take the final exam and answer 75% of the questions correctly. To take the exam:

    • At the Knowledge Center (KC) functions drop-down menu, select the Assessment Center and click GO. The Select a function drop-down menu is in the upper-right corner of the KC interface.
    • At the Assessment Center, click on the Web Based Training link.
    • Finally, click the link for the final exam for this course.

Click this link to print these instructionsYour test results will be automatically submitted to the Independent Study Program for a certificate of completion. This certificate is mailed within 5 working days of passing the exam. If you do not pass the exam, you will receive a letter with that information rather than a certificate. You may retake the exam as often as necessary.

CRBA Zone Image Description

Graphic depicts the elements related to coastal flooding. The graphic is a cross-section showing elevations of water along one line, called a transect, that extends inland from the coast. This transect generally is situated perpendicular or nearly perpendicular to the coast line. Elevations values, which describe the base flood elevation of the 1 percent annual chance flood, are identified along the transect and are included in the Flood Insurance Study.

A number of adjacent transects will be included in a study, and the elevations between transects are interpolated.

The graphic describes a typical cross section of a coastal beach when looking parallel to the ocean water along the shoreline. The ocean water is located on the left. The ocean meets the shoreline at mean sea level as identified by the Datum used for the Flood Insurance Rate Map. Datum is the fixed starting point for measuring vertical elevation and is equal to 0.0 feet at mean sea level. Moving to the right from the shoreline the land rises and includes various typical features in the following order:

  • A sand beach
  • Buildings, which are either properly elevated on post, piling or pier foundations or un-elevated buildings constructed before a community entered the NFIP
  • An overland wind fetch, which is an area of the ocean surface, inland from the shoreline without buildings or vegetation during the base flood event, over which the wind blows in an essentially constant direction, thus generating waves
  • A vegetated region, and
  • The limit of the Special Flood Hazard Area, where the elevation of the land is equal to the height of the 100-year stillwater elevation.

The base flood elevation of the ocean is the level of the water without wave effects and is called the 100-year stillwater elevation. Above the 100-year stillwater elevation is the additional elevation of water from wave effects, thus defining the Base Flood Elevation (the height of the 100-year stillwater elevation plus the wave height).

As water from the base flood event moves inland, the wave effects decrease as the distance inland increases, while the 100-year stillwater level remains constant relative to the mean sea level datum.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps define the V zone as that point along the transect from the shoreline inland in which wave heights are greater than or equal to 3 feet above the 100-year stillwater level.

The point along the transect where wave heights are less than 3 feet but greater than 1.5 feet above the 100-year stillwater level is defined as the Coastal A zone. The point along the transect where wave heights are exactly 1.5 feet above the 100-year stillwater level is defined as the Limit of Moderate Wave Action or LMWA. The point along the transect where wave heights are less than 1.5 feet above the 100-year stillwater elevation is defined as the A zone.

The area inland from the limit of the Special Flood Hazard Area is defined as the X zone.