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Coastal Resources for Community Officials

This page provides information about ongoing coastal analysis and mapping activities to local officials in communities at risk from coastal flood hazards, and resources they can use to reduce risk and losses.

Photo of a FEMA Staff member at press conference

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The NFIP regulations and enabling legislation require active involvement and cooperation from local communities that choose to join the program. To help communities become more disaster resilient, an agreement is made between local communities and FEMA wherein a community adopts and enforces local floodplain management standards that meet or exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. In exchange, flood insurance through the NFIP is available to the community.

As a community official, it is your responsibility to ensure that your community's residents and business owners are well educated on the coastal flood risk studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). This information should be used as a framework to guide development and reduce future flood risk and losses. 

What You Should Know and Why

  • Risk MAP (Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning) is an effort by FEMA to deliver quality data that increase public awareness and lead to action that reduces risk to life and property. Updated digital FIRMs in coastal areas are a product of Risk MAP. By providing updated coastal flood hazard information, FEMA aims to help you increase your community's understanding of local flood risk, encourage mitigation efforts, and improve your community’s resilience to flood losses (life, property, and business) in coastal areas. 

  • To find out the progress of your community’s coastal mapping project, please visit the Risk MAP Progress Website available through the Risk MAP webpage. This website offers an interactive map that allows users to zoom in, locate their community, and click to learn about the project status (i.e., the time frame for their preliminary and effective maps). For additional information on the flood risk studies in your area, refer to the Coastal Flood Risk Study Process webpage.

  • Flooding occurs not only in high-risk areas known as “Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs)” or  "the floodplain," but also in low- to moderate-risk areas (Zone X). Approximately 20 to 25 percent of all flood insurance claims nationwide come from areas that are outside of the floodplain.

  • All NFIP participating communities must adopt and enforce minimum standards for managing construction and development in mapped SFHAs. When communities implement floodplain management activities that exceed the NFIP minimums, they can get credit for this effort by becoming a participant in FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS). The higher the community's CRS rating, the deeper the discount community residents will receive on their flood insurance premiums. The CRS recognizes communities for their additional efforts to (1) reduce flood damage to insurable property; (2) strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP; and (3) encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management. For more information about the CRS, please visit the FEMA CRS webpage.

  • Note that post-disaster recovery and mitigation planning are credited under the Community Rating System, as well.

  • Knowing and understanding your community’s flood risk is the first step toward making your community more disaster resilient. As a community official, this knowledge will aid you in making more informed decisions on where to build and how structures should be constructed; which will decrease the chances of flood losses (life, property, and business) in your jurisdiction.

  • Outreach efforts should be initiated at the onset of a coastal flood risk study and continued throughout the study process. As a local official, you should strive to identify and engage stakeholders through the local media and via electronic announcements, mailings, public meetings, and other avenues. Fostering early discussions about the study will result in a better, more accurate outcome and increased awareness of, and support for, mitigation actions that reduce your community's coastal flood risk and improve its resilience.

  • FEMA relies on you to help effectively communicate flood risk and create mitigation plans in your community. Contact your local FEMA Regional representative to determine the status of the coastal flood map update for your community.


Steps You Can Take


 For More Information

For localized information and tools to assist your community during the coastal flood risk study process, please visit the following websites:


Last Updated: 
09/12/2016 - 14:00