Maintaining minimum floodplain management standards and promoting higher standards usually starts at the state level. States can legislate higher floodplain management standards such as 1- or 2-foot freeboard. In fact, approximately 26 states have some sort of freeboard requirement. Through community visits and contacts, states can help communities maintain eligibility, continually promote the adoption of higher standards, help identify mitigation projects that may qualify for grants and encourage proactive community planning to include increasing open space in floodplains.
The Community Rating System (CRS) is a program that rewards participating communities that go beyond the minimum floodplain management requirements. Communities can earn credits for mitigation and outreach activities that result in a safer, more resilient community and receive discounts (up to 45 percent) on flood insurance premiums for property owners. States should strongly encourage communities not only to join but to improve their current CRS rating.
States should actively use the Community Assistance Program – State Support Services Element (CAP-SSSE) program which offers funding for states to provide technical assistance to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) communities and to evaluate community performance in implementing NFIP floodplain management activities. Funding is provided for ordinance assistance, community visits and contacts, outreach, training, mapping coordination and community disaster response assistance.
States are valuable resources to communities and can provide information on federal funding opportunities and coordinate with other state agencies. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants can provide funding either directly or through states for mitigation projects, both before and after disasters.
States should encourage community floodplain managers to participate in training opportunities offered by CAP-SSSE, the Emergency Management Institute, the Association of State Floodplain Managers or their state chapters and other related organizations.
By encouraging the adoption and continual enforcement of higher floodplain management standards, states can help create safer, stronger and more resilient communities.