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Floodplain Management

Welcome to Floodplain Management

Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of preventive and corrective measures to reduce the risk of current and future flooding, resulting in a more resilient community. These measures take a variety of forms, are carried out by multiple stakeholders with a vested interest in responsible floodplain management and generally include requirements for zoning, subdivision or building, building codes and special-purpose floodplain ordinances. While FEMA has minimum floodplain management standards for communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), adopting higher standards will lead to safer, stronger, more resilient communities.  

FEMA’s Floodplain Management Branch provides tools and resources to help communities navigate NFIP requirements and implement higher standards of floodplain management. State and federal agencies, tribal governments, local communities and property owners have a role in reducing flood risk and helping communities become more resilient. From states providing strong model ordinances, to communities adopting and enforcing higher-standard building practices, to property owners elevating their homes, everyone can play a part in making communities safer and more resistant to flood disasters.

Draft FEMA Policy:  Floodplain Management Requirements for Agricultural Structures and Accessory Structures

Policy Overview

This policy intends to provide clarification and technical assistance to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) State Coordinators, local floodplain administrators, and builders to meet minimum NFIP construction requirements for agricultural or accessory structures in floodprone areas.

It also acknowledges stakeholder concern that agricultural and accessory structures have a unique construction and function that merits separate consideration.  The policy clarifies the definitions of agricultural and accessory structures and outlines a consistent process for ensuring compliance with NFIP requirements.

The principles of the policy are:

  • The policy is only applicable to agricultural and accessory structures, as defined in the policy.
  • Agricultural structures are not exempt from floodplain management.
  • The policy was developed in accordance with requirements outlined in 44 C.F.R. and the National Flood Insurance Act.
  • The policy focuses on construction measures in accordance with 44 C.F.R. 60.3(c)(5) using implementation methods outlined in 44 C.F.R. 60.6.

The effectiveness of this policy shall be monitored as a joint effort of local floodplain administrators, NFIP State Coordinators, and FEMA through data and documentation available from regular inspections of structures, monitoring, and recording of building performance.  It will also be evaluated during Community Assistance Visits and Contacts conducted by FEMA or State NFIP personnel, permit and variance records, insurance policy data and the Community Information System.

Download a Copy of the Draft Policy

How to Comment

The public is invited to provide comments on the draft policy by emailing FEMA at  FEMA will accept comments until January 21, 2019.

Steady State

FPM Local Govt Steady Icon - VERSION 3     FPM State Govt Icon Steady - VERSION 3     FPM Individual Steady Icon - Version 2       FPM Tribal Steady Icon - Version 2

Disaster State

FPM Local Govt Disaster Icon - VERSION 3     FPM State Govt Icon - VERSION 3     FPM Individual Disaster Icon - Version 2     FPM Tribal Disaster Icon - Version 2

NFIP Policy Index

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Policy Index is a compendium of floodplain management regulations, policies, technical bulletins, and guidance which the user navigates by key word. The NFIP Policy Index also provides the user with definitions of floodplain management terms.

Featured Resources

These documents have recently been added to the FEMA Library:

  • Critical Facilities - for local community officials and emergency managers to learn the basic requirements of critical facilities when they are located in or near a high flood hazard area. It discusses mitigation options and design guidance information to providing enhanced protection to critical facilities.
  • Higher Standards - for local community officials and gives an introduction of what it means to go above and the beyond the minimum required standards to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It also explains why it is beneficial to utilize higher standards in their community, and how they can save their citizens money by reducing their flood insurance premiums if they adopt higher standards and join the Community Rating System (CRS).
  • LiMWA - for local officials and coastal property owners to explain wave effects, the limit of moderate was action zone, and why it is important to design structures to a coastal standard in those areas. It provided LiMWA Quick Facts to illustrate basic concepts of the LiMWA and provides helpful links to learn more.
Last Updated: 
09/16/2019 - 10:27