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Floodplain Managers: Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides answers to the questions most frequently asked by floodplain managers on flood hazard mapping and understanding their role at the community level. This page contains FEMA technical references and guidance for State and local floodplain managers, including information on National Flood Insurance Program regulations, FEMA’s Letter of Map Change processes, and the Cooperating Technical Partners program.

1. By signing the Community Acknowledgement Form (MT-1 Form), to what am I attesting? What is the difference between Sections A and B?

A signed community acknowledgement of fill placement form provides written assurance that the participating community has complied with the appropriate minimum floodplain management requirements. That is, any existing or proposed structures within the area to be removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area are (or will be) reasonably safe from flooding, as required under the current minimum floodplain management regulations under Subparagraph 60.3(a)(3) of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations. Subparagraph 60.3(a)(3) and other portions of the NFIP regulations may be accessed through the Guidance Documents and Other Published Resources page on the FEMA website..

Section A, which pertains to requests involving the placement of fill, must be signed by a community official responsible for floodplain management to certify that the request meets all applicable NFIP regulations.

Section B is required for all requests involving inadvertent inclusions in the regulatory floodway. It must be signed by a community official responsible for floodplain management to acknowledge the community's acceptance of a revision to a regulatory floodway within the community.

2. Where can I obtain a copy of the Federal Regulations and the advisory Technical Bulletins?

The laws and regulations for the National Flood Insurance Program can be found on the Guidance Documents and Other Published Resources page on the FEMA Website. Technical bulletins may be viewed or downloaded from the Technical Bulletins page on the FEMA Website.

3. What are the community's responsibilities in the Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) process and after the project is completed?

A CLOMR is FEMA's comment on a proposed project that would, upon construction, affect the hydrologic or hydraulic characteristics of a flooding source and thus result in the modification of the existing regulatory floodway, the effective Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), or the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The letter does not revise an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). It indicates whether the project, if built as proposed, would be recognized by FEMA. Building permits cannot be issued based on a CLOMR, because a CLOMR does not change the FIRM.

NFIP regulations do not require conditional approval for all projects in the regulatory floodway or SFHA. A CLOMR is required only for those projects with the following results:

  • An increase in the base flood water-surface elevation (WSEL) of greater than 1.00 foot for streams with BFEs specified but no regulatory floodway designated; or
  • Any base flood WSEL increase from proposed construction within a regulatory floodway.

Once a project has been completed, the community must request a revision to the Flood Insurance Rate Map to reflect the project. "As-built" certification and other data must be submitted to support the revision request. The request should be accompanied by the appropriate portions of the MT-2 application/certification forms package, entitled Revisions to National Flood Insurance Program Maps (FEMA Form 81-89 Series), and the required supporting information.

4. What are the community's responsibilities during the development, distribution and approval of new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs)?

If a community will receive a new or revised FIRM as part of a Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) project, the floodplain administrator and other community officials should be involved with FEMA from the initial Discovery phase of the flood risk project all the way through to the adoption of the effective FIRM and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report into their floodplain management ordinance. This involvement may include validating map update needs; participating in Discovery and other Risk MAP meetings before, during and after the preparation of the FIRM; identifying topographic and base map data sources; reviewing data and mapping products; providing outreach materials to the general public; and serving as the local repository for historic and effective Flood Hazard Boundary Maps, FIRMs, FIS reports, and Letters of Map Change.

Each time FEMA provides a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) participating community with new flood hazard information, the community is required to adopt or amend its floodplain management ordinances based on the new data. The newly adopted or amended ordinances must adopt the revised data and meet or exceed the minimum requirements of the NFIP for that type of data. FEMA, working closely with the NFIP State Coordinator and the community, will ultimately determine whether the community has compliant floodplain management ordinances through a review and approval process.

A Risk MAP project does not necessarily include an updated FIRM. For more information about Risk MAP and the types of activities involved in a flood risk project, visit FEMA’s Risk MAP Flood Risk Project Lifecycle page on the FEMA website.

5. How do I obtain a list of all the map actions that have occurred in my community?

The FEMA 2013 Compendium of Flood Map Changes lists all changes made to National Flood Insurance Program maps, including Physical Map Revisions, Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs), and Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs), during a given 6-month period. The list is updated every six months and is published in the Federal Register. Available Compendiums are provided in PDF format. To obtain a list of map actions before the first Compendium of Flood Map Changes was published, you should contact the Consultation Coordination Officer in the appropriate FEMA Regional Office.

6. As a local official, I am interested in requesting a map update or revision, and I would like to be involved in the process. I have heard about the FEMA Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) program. Where can I get more information about that program?

Maintaining the most current information on Flood Insurance Rate Maps is a challenge, as the National Flood Insurance Program currently has over 20,000 participating communities. One of the best ways to facilitate new mapping for your community is to consider becoming a participant in the FEMA CTP Program.

7. What is the Biennial Report, and what are my responsibilities with regard to that report?

Every 2 years, communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) must complete and submit a Biennial Report. The report describes the community's progress in implementing floodplain management measures over the previous 2 years and its needs for remapping and technical assistance. FEMA sends a Biennial Report form to local community officials. Submission of this report is required as part of a community's participation in the NFIP.

For more information, please visit FEMA's Biennial Report Page.

Last Updated: 
12/15/2017 - 15:10