510 Floodplain Management Planning
400 Mapping and Regulations

Floodplain Management Planning

Well thought out floodplain management plans can help communities make crucial decisions about how to allocate resources and invest in strategies to meet mitigation goals.

Floodplain management planning (FMP)

Does your community have a Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) or a similar planning document?

Level of effort = highThis element is required for CRS Class 4


Floodplain management can be very complex. As such, the CRS awards credits to communities for preparing a community-wide floodplain management plan through a standard planning process. Hazard Mitigation Plans fulfill this element’s credit criteria if those plans follow the CRS planning process.

For these credits, you must follow 10 planning steps, and identify where the steps are in the plan using the CRS planning credit activity checklist. The 10 planning steps are separated into three phases:

Phase 1 - Planning Process

  1. Organize

    1. Involve your community’s land use and comprehensive planning office (4 credits)
    2. Include your community departments that implement the activities listed in Step 7 in the planning committee, such as building department, code enforcement, engineering, land use planning, zoning, public works, emergency management, public safety, public information, environmental protection, public health, parks and recreation, housing and community development, and council members (9 credits)
    3. Have at least one meeting for steps 4 through 8 (required)
    4. Formally recognize the planning process and/or committee through the governing body (2 credits)
  2. Involve the public

    1. Include members of the public on the planning committee. If the public includes community staff, at least 50% of the committee must be members of the public. The committee must hold at least one meeting for steps 4 through 8. All meetings must be open to the public and publicly posted. (required)
    2. Share the plan with the public before approval (reacquired). Hold one or more public meetings at least 2 weeks before submitting the plan to the governing body for input (15 credits).
    3. Conduct outreach projects to share the planning process, such as a website with meeting times, surveys about the plan, brochures, mailers, etc. (5 credits for each project, 30 credits maximum).
    4. You must get 50% of the credit in this step to be a Class 4.
  3. Coordinate

    1. Review existing plans and community information, including needs and goals, past flood studies, disaster damage reports, natural area plans, and other documents (5 credits, required).
    2. Coordinate with agencies and organizations outside your community’s governmental structure by recording specific contact, asking for data or about projects that could impact flooding, or asking for committee participation (1 credit for each agency, 2 credits for each meeting/conversation, maximum of 30 credits)

Phase 2 - Risk Assessment

  1. Assess the hazard

    1. Include an assessment of the flood hazard (5 credits), including the Special Flood Hazard Area (5 credits), repetitive loss areas, historically flooded areas (5 credits), and flooding identified in other studies (15 credits, required).
    2. Assess less frequent flood hazards by identifying the hazards, mapping the impacted areas, and summarizing the hazards in plain language (10 credits)
    3. Identify areas likely to flood due to changes in development or climate change (5 credits)
    4. Include a description of all natural hazards, such as the magnitude, severity, and the probability of future events (5 credits)
  2. Assess the problem

    1. Include a summary of the vulnerability to each hazard and impact on your community (2 credits, required)
    2. Include a description of the impact the hazards from Step 4 have on warning and evacuation (5 credits), public health (5 credits), critical facilities and infrastructure (5 credits), economy and employers (5 credits), number and types of buildings (5 credits), historical damage to buildings (5 credits, required for Category B and C repetitive loss communities), describe areas that provide natural floodplain functions (5 credits), describe areas of development and population trends (7 credits), include a description of the impact of future flooding (8 credits)
    3. You must get 50% of the credit in this step to be a Class 4.

Phase 3 - Mitigation Strategy

  1. Set goals

    1. Include goals of your floodplain management or hazard mitigation program. Address all the major hazards identified in Step 5 (2 credits).
  2. Review possible activities

    1. Review potential mitigation activities, list the pros and cons of each activity, discuss the ability to fund and implement the activity, note the achievements of current programs, and discuss the status of previously credited activities (max=35 credits)
    2. Review higher regulatory standards such as zoning, regulations, and ordinances, including what the current standards are, whether your community should revise those standards, and how revised standards can reduce losses (5 credits, required)
    3. Review if the floodplain management regulatory standards properly mitigate current and future conditions (5 credits)
    4. Review property protection activities, such as acquisition, retrofitting, and flood insurance (5 credits)
    5. Review activities to protect natural floodplain functions (5 credits)
    6. Review emergency response activities such as warning and sandbagging (5 credits)
    7. Review structural projects such as levees and reservoirs (5 credits)
    8. Review public information activities (5 credits)
  3. Draft an action plan

    1. Identify the person responsible, the estimated time of completion, and the funding for each recommendation
    2. Prioritize the mitigation actions
    3. List an action item for each goal in Step 6
    4. Include a recommendation on floodplain recommendations (additional credit for exceeding minimum NFIP requirements)
    5. A discussion on the method used to acquire properties, if applicable
    6. For multi-jurisdictional plans, include recommendations from at least 2 of the 6 categories for each community
    7. For multi-hazard plans, include a process for incorporating recommendations into comprehensive or capital improvement plans
    8. Credit is based on the number of categories in Step 7 that the action items address
    9. Revise post-disaster redevelopment mitigation policies and procedures (10 additional credits)
    10. Include action items to mitigate other natural hazards identified in Step 4 (5 additional credits)
    11. You must get 50% of the credit in this step to be a Class 4.

Phase 4 - Plan Maintenance

  1. Adopt the plan

    1. Have the plan adopted by the governing body (2 credits, required)
  2. Implement, evaluate, revise

    1. Identify a monitoring and reviewing procedure (2 credits, required)

      1. Describe the monitoring, evaluation, and revision process, including the person responsible, how they will complete the process, and when they will complete it. Provide an annual evaluation report (include an evaluation of your community’s action items from the multijurisdictional plan, if applicable). Update the plan at least every 5 years.
    2. Use the original planning committee, or a committee with similar membership, to evaluate the plan

      1. Ask the committee to meet annually (6 credits), or
      2. Ask the committee to meet twice a year (12 credits), or
      3. Ask the committee to meet quarterly (24 credits)

The 5 year update of the plan must:

  • Use the original planning committee, or a committee with similar membership
  • Use the same public involvement process
  • Include a review of new plans, studies, needs and goals
  • Bring hazard assessments up to date for new floodplain or hazard mapping, new flood-prone areas, additional repetitive loss properties, increased development in the floodplain, new flood control projects, major floods or disasters, and any other changes in flooding or hazards
  • Review the original goals
  • Revise the action plan by updating the mitigation projects
  • Have the update adopted by the governing body


If your community already has a Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP), this element is relatively straightforward. If you don't, this element is a big lift.


To receive credit for this element, communities must provide:

  • Community Certifications of Compliance with Environmental and Historic Preservation Requirements (CC-EHPs)(if implemented after April 1, 2013)
  • A copy of the plan
  • A list of the community departments paticipating in Hazard Mitigation Planning with their mitigation expertise
  • A copy of the resolution recognizing the planning process and listing the committee members
  • The names of the committee members, including their titles and organizations
  • A copy of the meeting notifications
  • Notes where the plan uses the information from existing plans or studies
  • A record of agency contacts and meetings
  • A copy of the resolution or adoption action

For annual recertification, you must provide:

  • A copy of the annual evaluation report

Credit Calculation

Max: 382

Your community only gets a minimum of 50 credits for your Hazard Mitigation Plans if the CRS planning process is not followed. To receive credit for a Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, your community must send at least 2 representatives to the planning committee, and have at least half of the representatives attend all of the committee meetings. The planning committee should also include representatives from offices that can implement activities listed in Step 7.

The planning process is credited as follows:

Element Maximum Credits
1. Organize 15
2. Involve the public 120
3. Coordinate 35
4. Assess the hazard 35
5. Assess the problem 52
6. Set goals 2
7. Review possible activities 35
8. Draft an action plan 60
9. Adopt the plan 2
10. Implement, evaluate, revise 26

Repetitive loss area analysis (RLAA)

A repetitive loss area analysis (RLAA) can give your community insight into how you can implement mitigation measures to reduce damages

Level of effort = highCategory C Repetitive Loss Communities must complete this element


A repetitive loss area analysis is a flood mitigation plan for a specific area that experiences repetitive flooding. Your community should review and update the repetitieve lost list before conducting an analysis.

To complete a repetitive loss area analysis (RLAA), first map the repetitive loss area. This is important, as every building in the identified area needs to be included in the analysis (but repetitive loss status must be kept private per the Privacy Act). Category C communities must complete RLAAs for all repetitive loss areas for the repetitive loss planning prerequisite.

After mapping, you should complete the following steps:

  1. Reach out to all of the properties in the analysis area to notify them of the analysis and to solicit their feedback/input(refer to the Privacy Act for specifics about what can and cannot be disclosed during outreach).
  2. Contact organizations and agencies working in the area to acquire any existing plans or studies that impact the area.
  3. Visit each building in the area and collect basic data.
  4. Review mitigation actions and determine the viability of potential measures.
  5. Document your findings.

The RLAA report should include the following:

  • A summary of the analysis process
  • The problem statement and map
  • A list of each building in the area
  • The reviewed mitigation approaches
  • Recommendations that include who is responsible, when it will be complete, and the funding mechanism involved
  • The report should be shared with the media and the public, and adopted by your governing body. Beyond the initial Repetitive Loss Area Analysis (RLAA) you should also prepare an annual evaluation report of the RLAA reviewing the mitigation actions. The RLAA will need to be reviewed and updated along with the repetitive loss list for each cycle visit.


Analysis for this element requires updating annually. To get credit, your community should have at least one repetitive loss area. For Category C Repetitive Loss Communities, element is required for participation in the CRS.


To receive credit for this element, communities must provide:

  • A copy of the Repetitive Loss Area Analysis (RLAA) report
  • Documentation of the notification sent to homeowners
  • Documentation of how the report was shared with the media and the public
  • A copy of the adoption resolution

At annual recertification:

  • The evaluation report

Credit Calculation

Max: 140

The impact adjustment is calculated as follows:

Buildings in the RLAA / All buildings in repetitive loss areas

Natural floodplain functions plan (NFP)

To supplement the work described in Series 400, credits are awarded for producing and adopting a plan for protecting natural floodplain functions.

Level of effort = moderate


Your community can receive credit for adopting plans that protect natural functions in the floodplain, such as conservation plans, habitat protection or restoration plans, green infrastructure plans that identify open space corridors, or community level watershed plans.

To receive credit, the plan must identify the natural floodplain functions, list the species or habitats with mitigation actions, and include an implementation plan. You can get credit for a comprehensive inventory of the floodplain habitat (NFP1), or just for a certain section of the floodplain (NFP2).


The natural floodplain functions plan must be updated every 10 years. You cannot get credit for water quality issues plans prepared for the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.


To receive credit for this element, you must provide:

  • A copy of the plan
  • A copy of the resolution or adoption

Credit Calculation

Max: 100

Up to 100 credits can be awarded for NFP1. Alternatively, credit can be calculated by multiplying the number of plans credited in NFP2 by 15 (for a maximum of 60 credits). There is no impact adjustment for this element.

This CRS guide was produced by CRS professionals and Certified Floodplain Managers to help you navigate the Community Rating System. It is not meant to replace FEMA's official CRS Coordinator's Manual, nor should it supersede the instructions given by your ISO/CRS Specialist.

For additional resources, visit https://crsresources.org/ .