What is the National Flood Insurance Program?

fema_logoThe National Flood Insurance Program is a federal program created in 1968 to provide flood insurance to people who live in areas with the greatest risk of flooding, called Special Flood Hazard Areas. The program provides an alternative to disaster assistance and reduces the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. The program provides flood insurance, while at the same time encouraging the sensible management and use of floodplains to reduce flood damage.

The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners, provided their communities use the program's strategies for reducing flood risk, including adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. Community participation in the NFIP is voluntary. However, flood insurance and many kinds of federal disaster assistance are not available in communities that do not participate in the program.  Check with your local town hall or contact Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District to find out if your community participates in the NFIP.

FloodplainMapNFIP Floodplain Maps

The NFIP floodplain maps represent an estimate of the risk of flooding in a certain area, and specifically show the extent of the floodplain affected by the base flood or “100-year flood”.  This is the severity of flood that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year, and the base floodplain is called the Special Flood Hazard Area.  Development in the SFHA is regulated by the local government.  Check your community's flood hazard ordinance, or contact Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District to see these restrictions.

View floodplain maps for your area:

1. Read this tutorial (1 Mb) on obtaining Floodplain Insurance Rate Maps through FEMA’s FIRMette Desktop viewer. (Greene County FIRM index)
2. Visit www.msc.fema.gov to find your Floodplain Insurance Rate Map

NFIP Community Rating System

The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.

As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:

  1. Reduce flood losses
  2. Facilitate accurate insurance rating
  3. Promote the awareness of flood insurance

For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5%; i.e., a Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5% discount (a Class 10 is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount). The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories:

  1. Public Information
  2. Mapping and Regulations
  3. Flood Damage Reduction
  4. Flood Preparedness

NFIP CRS: The Local Offical's Guide to Saving Lives, Preventing Property Damage, and Reducing the Cost of Flood Insurance

Visit the CRS Resource Center to view documents that explain the CRS and provide all of the tools needed to apply for participation.

Additional Resources

Flood Preparedness Information

Floodplain Management Information

National Flood Insurance Program

Post-Flood Emergency Stream Intervention Manual (4 Mb pdf)

Association of State Floodplain Managers

DEC Floodplain Management Information

DEC Floodplain Development and Floodway Guidance

Beyond Floodplain: LID Techniques for Upland Management of Floodplains

Building Activites in the NYC Watershed that Require a Permit

FEMA Model Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance

Floodplain Management Guide

Greene County Department of Emergency Services