Guidance for Floodplain Managers

Floodplain Compliance

Download the 4-page KY Floodplain Compliance Guide



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.



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

January 11, 2017

The Division of Water announces the publication of a revised Kentucky Floodplain Admin Handbook – Revised 2016 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,

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!

Learn the A, B, C’s of floodplain management. Follow the links to the guidance documents.

NFIP Technical Bulletins,

Floodplain Compliance Guide – DOW

Flooding in Kentucky- Flooding in Kentucky Fact Sheet

FEMA P-758, “SI/SD Desk Reference.”

FEMA 213. “Answers to Questions about Substantially Improved/Substantially Damaged Build­ings

FEMA P-85, “Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards”. Be sure to check out some pre-engineered foundation solutions.

FEMA P-348, “Protecting Building Utility Systems from Flood Damage.”

FEMA P-936, “Floodproofing Non-residential Buildings.”

FEMA P-499, “Homebuilder’s Guide to Coastal Construction,” in a handy fact sheet format, with lots of illustrations and content that are valuable in all flood zones, including riverine communi­ties.

Quick Reference Guide: Comparison of Select NFIP  & Building Code Requirements for Special Flood  Hazard Areas (illustrated).


Non-Engineered Opening GuideElevation Certificate

The February 2015 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.

Link here Non-Engineered Opening Guide.

Taking the Mystery Out of Flood Openings

There is a great 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.




FEMA Releases New Guidance Bulletin for Agricultural and Accessory Structures

September 17, 2020

FEMA Releases Floodplain Management Guidance

FEMA developed 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 National Flood Insurance Program 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.  

For additional information, refer to the guidance and policy available on FEMA’s website.













Mitigation Matters!  

Have questions, contact us at

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

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

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