The management of floodplains is a critical hazard mitigation activity. Local governments, both county and municipalities, have jurisdictional authority to manage the areas prone to flood hazards. Furthermore, counties and municipalities must meet minimum standards to qualify their residents for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Being in good standing with the NFIP is a prerequisite for flood assistance from FEMA in case of a flood disaster in that community.
Additionally, the Community Rating System (CRS) requires floodplain management activities to qualify stakeholders in a community for flood insurance premium reductions. The CRS program gives credit for flood mitigation activities, including a program for public education (PPI). PPI activities may include public meetings, special speakers, targeted educational e-mails, and a dedicated webpage. A well developed Floodplain Management Plan receives high value credit towards a more favorable CRS rating.
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act extended the NFIP for five years. One major change is that subsidies and discounts on flood insurance premiums are going to be phased-out. Beginning January 1, 2013, premiums will be based on risk or real cost of insuring a property. Previously, rates were set from a national pool of policy holders and the hazard cost spread across that user group. Premiums will increase 25% annually until full rate is achieved. A good community CRS rating can reduce the premiums because floodplain management and education activities–required for a good rating–reduces the risk in that community.