Floodplain Management

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Flood Hazard Management Program (FHMP) is the State Coordinating Office for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Table of Contents

Massachusetts Flood Hazard Management Program (FHMP)

FHMP program staff work with FEMA and officials from National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) participating communities to implement the NFIP in Massachusetts. The FHMP is a technical assistance program and has no regulatory authority.

Program staff is available to provide guidance to all interested parties. Topics include the NFIP, floodplain management, flood resistant construction, floodplain mapping, flood mitigation, flood insurance and flood risk awareness and education.

The National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program exists to transfer the cost of flood damages from the public to the private sector. It does so by providing federal flood insurance to property owners and by requiring communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.

Helpful links to more information:

Massachusetts NFIP Communities list

Answers to Questions About the NFIP

NFIP Desk Reference Guide for State Insurance Commissioners & Others

Elected Officials Flood Risk Guide

Floodplain Management

Flood-resistant Construction

Every NFIP community has local codes, ordinances, and/or by-laws that describe and direct development in local floodplains. Because Massachusetts has a statewide mandatory building code, local MA communities typically hold additional, non-construction type regulations in their by-laws.  In addition to the provisions found in the building code and Wetlands Protection Act, other flood-resistant construction requirements may be found in:

Massachusetts Title V regulations

Local Floodplain District requirements (contact the appropriate municipal staff)

9th Edition Massachusetts Residential Code Requirements in Floodplains

Guidance for residential additions in the Floodplain

Multiple Permits in Substantial Improvement

Base Code Lateral Additions in Floodplain

FEMA Requirements & Technical Guidance

Local Substantial Damage Planning

This guidance has been developed by the Massachusetts Flood Hazard Management Program as a comprehensive tool for communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assure that certain practices and a post-disaster plan will be in place to implement the Substantial Improvement/ Substantial Damage requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as stated in the Massachusetts Building Code.  Here are several documents to help you begin your local plan.

Floodplain Mapping

FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps provide the minimum standards for delineated floodplains. Flood-resistant construction must be used in at least the 1%-chance floodplain (formerly referred to as the 100-year floodplain.)  To examine the FEMA flood maps, go to: https://msc.fema.gov/portal

The Map Service Center has a hotline for specific questions: 1-877-336-2627.

Some Massachusetts communities have more restrictive floodplain requirements, so always check with the municipality for these details.  Local building department staff, conservation commission staff and planners can give you more information.

FEMA Letters of Map Change

How to Print & Download a copy of the FEMA Flood Map

Flood Mitigation

Property owners can modify their structures to make them more resistant to flood damages.  In some cases, a mitigation grant may help pay for these changes.  In most cases, correct mitigation actions can lower annual flood insurance premiums. For more information:

Reduce Your Flood Risk

Community Mitigation Ideas

Mitigation Measures for Floodprone Structures

Reducing Flood Risk to Residential Buildings that Cannot be Elevated

Flood Mitigation Measures for Multi-Family Buildings

Building with Flood-Resistant Materials

How to Raise Electrical System Components

Installing Sewer Backflow Valves

Anchoring Fuel Tanks

MEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs

NFIP Flood Insurance

Recovering after a Flood

Filing an NFIP Claim

FEMA 3-1-22 presentation: NFIP Basics and Risk Rating 2.0

FEMA’s New Risk Rating 2.0 Approach

The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. For more information:

Purchasing NFIP flood insurance

MA Division of Insurance, Flood Insurance Information

The Community Rating System

If you have specific questions about your flood policy, speak to your insurance agent.  If the agent cannot answer your questions, you can contact:

Patricia Lorizio
Regional Support Liaison | Region 1 | NFIP
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office: (571) 419-2717 | Mobile: (508) 942-5561

Flood Preparation & Insurance Claims Resources

Floodplain Management Training Opportunities

Effective floodplain management includes continued training because regulations, policies and guidance change at the local, state or federal level.  Here are some training opportunities and materials for you to check on from time to time for self-improvement or to see what’s new:

  • The Community Rating System (CRS) free training videos and live sessions: https://crsresources.org/training/ (Your community does not have to be a CRS community for you to attend these sessions.)
  • FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers a number of free floodplain management training courses. Check out the Course & Schedule website for details: https://training.fema.gov/emicourses/  Courses that may interest floodplain managers include:
    • E0273 “Managing Floodplain Development through the National Flood Insurance Program”
    • IS0273 “How to Read a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)”
    • E0194 “Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts”
    • E0282 “Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts II”
    • E0284 “Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts III”
    • E0278 “National Flood Insurance Program/Community Rating System”
    • E0210 “Recovery from Disaster: The Local Community Role”
    • IS 1103A “Elevation Certificate for Surveyors”

Please remember that these courses teach the MINIMUM NFIP standards, and that your state or community may have some higher standards.

For those wishing to obtain the Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) status, please go to https://www.floods.org/certification-program-cfm/what-is-the-cfm-certification-program/ for program and exam details.

Flood Risk Awareness & Education

2020 Massachusetts Model Floodplain Bylaw


Joy Duperault, CFM
Director, Flood Hazard Management Program
NFIP Coordinator & Dep. Hazard Mitigation Officer
Department of Conservation & Recreation

Eric Carlson
Engineer, Flood Hazard Management Program
Department of Conservation & Recreation

Nadia Madden, CFM
Floodplain Management Specialist
Flood Hazard Management Program
Department of Conservation & Recreation

Katie Paight, CFM
Floodplain Management Specialist
Flood Hazard Management Program
Department of Conservation & Recreation

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