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 Flood Plain Management

Flooding and Property Damage PhotoWhat is Floodplain Management?

Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of corrective and preventative measures for reducing flood damage. A participating community can protect its citizens against much of the devastating financial loss resulting from flood disasters by employing wise floodplain management. These measures take a variety of forms and generally include requirements for zoning, subdivision or building, and special-purpose floodplain ordinances. The intent is to reduce flood damage by encouraging wise land use and watershed management practices, better coordinate actions between the natural and man-made environment, and encourage appropriate design and construction practices.

A community's agreement to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances, particularly with respect to new construction is an important element in making flood insurance available to home and business owners. Currently over 20,100 communities voluntarily adopt and enforce local floodplain management ordinances that provide flood loss reduction building standards for new and existing development.Flooded Cabins

What is a flood?

A flood is defined in the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), in part, as: a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of a normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from the overflow of inland waters from unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or from mudflow. Flood hazards include property damage, loss of life, and negative economic and environmental impacts.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014

On March 21, 2014, President Obama signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 into law. This law repeals and modifies certain provisions of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, and makes additional program changes to other aspects of the program not covered by that Act. Many provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act remain and are still being implemented. FEMA will continue to identify and publish special flood hazards and flood risk zones as authorized and required by Congress. More information on the new law and its impacts on the NFIP will be forthcoming. For up the most up to date information visit flood-insurance-reform.

Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

In July 2012, the US Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act(BW-12) which calls on F.E.M.A. and other agencies to make a number of changes to the way the NFIP is run. Key provisions require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map(FIRM) updates impact policyholdes. The changes will mean rate changes for some policy holders. Home and business owners are encouraged to learn their risk and talk to their insurance agent to determine how their policy is affected by BW-12.

PA Floodplain Act of 1978

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It enables property owners to buy flood insurance at a reasonable cost for properties in municipalities which are participating in the NFIP. The program not only promotes economic development through low cost insurance but also community development through land use regulations and floodplain management regulations to guide growth in and away from floodplains. Floodplain management regulations are codes and/or ordinances that a municipality adopts to provide standards for the use and development of land in floodplain areas. Such regulations can be included in zoning ordinances, subdivision and land development ordinances, building codes or special floodplain management ordinances that protect the health, safety and general welfare of the public in floodplain areas. Municipalities that have areas subject to flooding as determined by FEMA are required to participate in the NFIP under the Pennsylvania Floodplain Management Act of 1978.