Floodplain Management Guidance and Publications for Local Officials

Report Explores Three Ways to Transform Flood Risk Management

The latest report in the Rethinking Flood series from Marsh McLennan, Staying Above Water: A Systemic Response to Rising Flood Risk explores how the transformation of flood risk management can play out along three ways forward: Living with floods, building strategic protection, and preparing for relocation. 

Staying Above Water: A Systemic Response to Rising Flood Risk Underpinned by new data from the Marsh McLennan Flood Risk Index, the report first discusses risk drivers, escalating impacts, and inadequacies of current risk management strategies — offering a strong rationale for urgent action. It then sets out guiding principles for resilience and presents examples of innovative strategies from different geographies to illustrate how the transformation can be realized. The report concludes with a call to action by proposing concrete steps to overcome inertia and mobilize stakeholder action by leveraging critical enablers across governance and risk culture, land use and infrastructure, finance, and insurance.

Download Staying Above Water: A Systemic Response to Rising Flood Risk.  

Catch up on previous reports in the series:

Sunk Costs: The Socioeconomic Impacts of Flooding is the first report in the series, analyzing the current state of flood risk globally, its economic and societal consequences, and the role of insurance in protecting the most vulnerable.

Preparing for a Wetter World: Strategies for Corporate Flood Resilience explores the implications of flood risk for businesses and discusses how firms can reimagine their approach to flood risk management in the context of climate change, growing business complexity, and stakeholder management.


Homeowner Flood Recovery Resources



Guide for Working in Kentucky Stream Channels & Wetlands

Permits are required for digging, trenching, dumping, dredging, clearing, and operating equipment in or near a creek, wetland, lake, or near a sinkhole, because:

• Dumping material into a stream or changing the banks or channel can cause flooding

• Changing the flow of a stream can cause rapid erosion of downstream property

• Digging or operating equipment in a stream or wetland causes sediment pollution

• Muddy water caused by in-stream work is harmful to fish and other creek life

• Water treatment plant filters are clogged more often by high-sediment water

• Possible adverse impacts on adjacent properties or infrastructure That’s why working in the channel – within the banks – or in a wetland or sinkhole drain requires one or more permits.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issues permits for the placement of dredged or fill material into the “waters of the United States,” which include rivers, lakes, wetlands, streams, sinkholes, and their tributaries.

The DOW is also involved, because that agency has to certify that the USACE permit will not harm water quality. DOW also issues permits for construction within the floodplain or stream, and for all projects that disturb one acre or more. Local agencies also require permits for land disturbance activities.

Link to the comprehensive 64-page guide – Guide for Working in Kentucky Stream Channels and Wetlands.

Download the Dangers of Dredging

KY Floodplain Compliance Guide

Kentucky Flood Preparedness Quick Guide

DOW developed a two-page guide that covers several aspects flooding.  The Guide includes what local officials and citizens should do before, during, and after a flooding event, as well as topics such as how to find your flood risk, when are permits needed, mitigation information, substantial damage information, and more.

Download the Kentucky Flood Preparedness Quick Guide and share it throughout your community.


Kentucky Floodplain Administrator’s Handbook

The Division of Water announces the publication of a revised Kentucky Floodplain Admin Handbook  updated to inform floodplain administrators and local officials about the NFIP, permit requirements and provides sample forms.  The Handbook outlines the floodplain management process, floodplain regulations, permit procedures, and flood mapping. 

Local Floodplain Administrators will find the following of specific interest:

  • Introduction & overview of the NFIP program
  • Administration & duties for local floodplain managers
  • Definitions and acronyms
  • Floodplain regulations at the Federal, State, & Local levels
  • Overview of Executive Order 13690, Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, and the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014
  • Overview of flood maps and the Risk MAP Program, including Letters of Map Change (LOMC)
  • Introduction to the Community Rating System (CRS)

The revised Appendix includes:

  • Sample local floodplain application & locally issued permit
  • List of required permits
  • Elevation Certificate & Floodproofing Certificates
  • Floodway ‘No-Rise’ Certification
  • Letter of Map Change forms
  • Links FEMA’s Technical Bulletins 

For more information: contact Alex VanPelt, CFM; NFIP Coordinator, Division of Water, Alex.VanPelt@ky.gov.


Guidance for the Floodplain Coordinator

Following are the FEMA resources every Floodplain Coordinator should rely on for guidance. These documents are referenced on other KAMM webpages, but here you have it in one place!

Follow the links to the guidance documents.

Floodplain Compliance Guide 

Flooding in Kentucky Fact Sheet

Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards


NFIP Floodplain Management Requirements:
A Study Guide and Desk Reference for Local Officials


Non-Engineered Opening Guide – Elevation Certificate

The Non-Engineering Opening Guide explains Compliance and Measurement Documentation of Non-Engineered Flood Openings for the Elevation Certificate in Accordance with the NFIP. The guide assists Surveyors, Floodplain Management, Construction Officials, and Insurance Professionals with identifying the net free area of Non-Engineered Openings found in the field.  Utilizing this guide to identify the net free area a Non-Engineered Opening vent provides will ensure sections A8 & A9 of the Elevation Certificate are accurately completed thus supplying the documentation to support compliance with the flood opening requirements.  Structures located in the floodplain (Zones A, AE, A1-A30, AR, AO, and AH ) with nonconforming flood openings are more susceptible to increased flood damage and increased flood insurance costs for the property owners.


Guidance Bulletin for Agricultural and Accessory Structures

FEMA developed a guidance bulletin that clarifies and refines the requirements that apply to certain agricultural structures and accessory structures located in Special Flood Hazard Areas. This guidance is a reference document for floodplain managers and those involved in regulating, planning, designing and constructing agricultural structures and accessory structures in special flood hazard areas.

Additionally, the guidance document establishes a clear, consistent process for ensuring compliance with NFIP design and performance standards for those structures located within the special flood hazard area.

As defined in the policy, an agricultural structure is a structure used exclusively in connection with the production, harvesting, storage, raising or drying of agricultural commodities and livestock.  In addition, an accessory structure refers to a structure that is on the same parcel of property as a principal structure and the use of which is incidental to the use of the principal structure, such as a detached garage, carport or storage shed.

The document supports the policy “Floodplain Management Requirements for Agricultural Structures and Accessory Structures” that was signed and effective earlier this year.  


Floodplain Management Publications for Local Officials

Follow the links to publications and references useful for implementing floodplain management.

FEMA 116, Reducing Losses in High Risk Flood Hazard Areas – A Guidebook for Local Officials  – This guidebook provides information to help local governments improve the effectiveness of their floodplain management programs for high risk areas that have special types of flood hazards beyond typical flooding.


FEMA 551, Selecting Appropriate Mitigation Measures for Floodprone Structures

This manual is intended to provide guidance to community officials for developing mitigation projects that reduce or eliminate identified risks for floodprone structures. 



Use of Flood Insurance Study (FIS) Data as Available Data

  Floodplain Management Bulletin 1-98 provides guidance on the use of FEMA draft or preliminary Flood Insurance Study data as “available data” for regulating floodplain development


The ABCs of Returning to Flooded Buildings

The overall objective of this publication is to assist in the construction of buildings with building utility systems that are designed and built so that the buildings can be re-occupied and fully operational as soon as electricity and sewer and water are restored to the neighborhood.  This publication illustrates the design and construction of utility systems that comply with the NFIP requirements for construction of new residential and non-residential structures in food-prone areas. It is also useful when evaluating structures that will undergo Substantial Improvement, guiding users to meet floodplain management regulations and building code requirements. Even if compliance is not required, many building owners may find that applying mitigation measures described in this publication will not only reduce future food damage, but also facilitate recovery after flooding.



This publication presents a range of flood protection measures available as alternatives to traditional structural elevation for homeowners whose residences meet both of the following conditions:

1. The residences are existing buildings. This publication is not intended to address construction of new buildings in floodprone areas as these structures should be sufficiently elevated and built in conformance with NFIP and local floodplain management regulations.
2. The residences are not Substantially Damaged or Substantially Improved, meaning that the buildings have not sustained damage or undergone improvement (i.e., reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition) where the cost of the damage or improvement exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the building before the damage occurred or improvement began. As with new construction, Substantially Damaged or Substantially Improved structures must be re-built in conformance with NFIP and local floodplain management regulations.


Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage

FEMA 348:   The overall objective of this document is to assist in the construction of buildings with building utility systems that are designed and built so that the buildings can be re-occupied and fully operational as soon as electricity and sewer and water are restored to the neighborhood.



Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards

FEMA_85: This publication has been updated to reflect the requirements of the most current codes and standards and to provide a best practices approach in reducing damages from natural hazards. While the original version of FEMA 85 concentrated on flood and wind events, this version also addresses seismic hazards and recommends several multi-hazard resistant foundation designs. Designs are included for wood-framed foundations, conventional concrete and masonry pier foundations, and ground anchors. The ground anchor foundations are based on results from a series of first-of-its-kind saturated and dry soil anchor tests.

FEMA two-page flyerfema_p85_flyer_052219


Protect Your Property From Flooding: Raise Electrical System Components

One of four publications offering information on how protecting your property from flooding can involve a variety of actions, from inspecting and maintaining the building to installing protective devices.


Protect Your Property From Flooding: Build With Flood Damage Resistant Materials

One of four publications offering information on how protecting your property from flooding can involve a variety of actions, from inspecting and maintaining the building to installing protective devices.


Post-disaster Building Safety Evaluation Guidance 

Report on the Current State of Practice, including Recommendations Related to Structural and Nonstructural Safety and Habitability 


FEMA P-936 – Floodproofng Non-Residential Buildings 


The primary focus of the guidance document is on dry floodproofing technologies for non-residential buildings, but it also includes an overview of other techniques including wet floodproofing and the use of levees and floodwalls. The publication provides information about regulatory requirements, design considerations, and descriptions of floodproofing methods and equipment. Key document features include:

1) Tools to assist the designer or building owner in determining the best floodproofing option for a particular building including a vulnerability checklist,

2) Case studies providing examples of applied floodproofing techniques,

3) Equations for determining flood forces and loads, 4) A summary of results from recent dry floodproofing research and testing for new construction.


Mitigation Ideas

Mitigation Ideas provides a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk to natural hazards and disasters. Ideas for mitigation actions are presented for the following natural hazards: drought, earthquake, erosion, extreme temperatures, flood, hail, landslide, lightning, sea level rise, severe wind, severe winter weather, storm surge, subsidence, tornado, tsunami, and wildfire.


FEMA P-787, Catalog of FEMA Building Science Resources 

This catalog includes FEMA’s natural hazard-specific guidance that focuses on creating hazard-resistant communities conveniently in one place. The publications are organized by primary hazard (earthquake, flood, high wind, multi-hazard, and other) and then by stakeholder groups.


Planning For Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation 

Many are called, but few are well trained. That may well sum up the state of affairs for most planners facing a disaster in their community for the first time, which underscores why it is essential for a professional organization like the American Planning Association (APA) to undertake the role of preparing them for the task of managing post disaster recovery. Most learn on the job when disaster strikes. For that reason, APA developed and prepared a PAS Report in 1998, Planning for Post Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction, and it is now releasing this second, updated version.


Hurricane and Flood Mitigation Handbook for Public Facilities

Hurricane and Flood Mitigation Handbook for Public Facilities – FEMA P-2181, is a new tool released this year that can help state, local, tribal and territorial governments, public facilities, private nonprofits, and others seeking ways to reduce hurricane and flood risk to public infrastructure facilities.

The Handbook presents an introduction and 30 fact sheets that provide technical guidance and recommendations for applying mitigation best practices. The fact sheets have information about improving public facilities and other infrastructure vulnerable to flood and wind damage. This Handbook also has best practices developed from decades of hurricane and flood disaster evaluations.

Topics include Roads, Water Control Facilities, Buildings, Public Utilities and Parks, Recreation. The work of FEMA’s Mitigation Assessment Teams, which analyze damaged structures after a disaster to identify ways to increase resilience, enhances the material presented here.

Link to Hurricane and Flood Mitigation Handbook for Public Facilities


NFIP Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program

An in-depth guide addressing frequently asked questions about the NFIP. This resource includes valuable information about flood insurance policies, what to do before and after a flood, flood maps, flood mitigation actions and more.

Click NFIP Question & Answer to download the publication.



NFIP Technical Bulletins

The bulletins are intended for use primarily by State and local officials responsible for interpreting and enforcing NFIP regulations and by members of the development community, such as design professionals and builders.  

NFIP Technical Bulletins | FEMA.gov or NFIP Technical Bulletins – Ky Association of Mitigation Managers (kymitigation.org)


Taking the Mystery Out of Flood Openings

Check pit this article in the American Surveyor titled “Taking the Mystery Out of Flood Openings” by ASFPM’s Region 4 Regional Director, Terri L. Turner, AICP, CFM.  Surveyors and local floodplain officials will appreciate this useful resource that illustrates some important considerations when evaluating flood openings.

Click TheAmericanSurveyor_Turner-FloodOpenings_Vol10No6 for the article.



Mitigation Matters!  

Have questions? Contact us at help@kymitigation.org.

KAMM mailing address: KAMM, PO Box 1016, Frankfort, KY 40602-1016

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KAMM is a non-profit 501 (c) (3).






KAMM mailing address: KAMM, PO Box 1016, Frankfort, KY 40602-1016.

Have questions, contact us at help@kymitigation.org.  

Don’t forget to join the KAMM group on LinkedIn and Facebook.