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Guide 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:

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

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:

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

Cape Cod Watershed Open House Slides
Get answers to your questions.

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:

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

FEMA’s New Risk Rating 2.0 Approach

Massachusetts Statistics March 2021

ASFPM Article on Risk Rating Roll-out October 2021

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

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:


National Flood Insurance Program - iService Team

Bureau and Statistical Agency, Manager - Region I  New England

PO Box 16321, Hooksett, NH  03106

603-625-5125 Direct

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: (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:  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 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
Dept. of Conservation & Recreation
251 Causeway Street, 8th floor, Boston, MA 02114

Eric Carlson
Asst. Director, Flood Hazard Management Program
Dept. of Conservation & Recreation
251 Causeway Street, 8th floor, Boston, MA 02114