Welcome to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Participating Communities Resource Page

NFIP participating communities include 552 of the 566 New Jersey municipalities and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.  This New Jersey-specific Resource page is intended to provide resources to assist communities in achieving minimum compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program.  Key to ensuring that a community is compliant is adopting and enforcing a flood damage prevention permit through a robust permitting program that permits both structural and non-structural development.  Links to the Model Ordinance and Model permit webpages are provided below.  Keep up with the latest news for NFIP communities by subscribing to the Floodplain Communicator Newsletter.

Compliance Assistance Contacts and Visit Resources

FEMA evaluates NFIP minimum compliance through compliance audits known as Community Assistance Visits (CAVs) or Community Assistance Contacts (CACs).   These are performed to ascertain community compliance with the NFIP, at entry into the Community Rating System (CRS), and to maintain participation in the CRS.  FEMA may conduct these with Region 2 staff, with NJDEP staff under the Compliance Assistance Program – State Support Services Element (CAP-SSSE) grant, or with private contractors.  FEMA Region 2 oversees and evaluates all CACs and CAVs conducted in the Region.  While there is some flexibility in how a CAV or a CAC is conducted, CAVs are generally more rigorous than CACs. As FEMA is in the process of updating its guidance on compliance audits, the current guidance, Guidance for Conducting Community Assistance Contacts and Community Assistance Visits, FEMA F-776, April 2011 – has been removed from the FEMA.gov website. It can still be found online, however.  See https://cdn.ymaws.com/floodplain.org/resource/resmgr/old_website_files/CAV_Manual.pdf

Sample Compliance Assistance Visit Letter

FEMA Permit Spreadsheet (Coming Soon)

Community Self-Assessment Worksheet

FEMA evaluates the following key areas in a compliance audit:

  1. The Community’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance
  2. Mapping Products and other Ordinances used to regulate floodplain development
  3. Floodplain Development Permitting Procedures
  4. Floodplain Permit Applications and other Forms/Records including Substantial Damage and Improvement Determinations
  5. Floodplain Development Review and Performance Standards
  6. Floodplain Development Permits Issued to Applicants

In these visits and contacts, FEMA requires that communities provide a list of permits issued over a specified time period using a FEMA-provided permit spreadsheet.  Additionally, FEMA or their representative sends a letter in advance of a visit detailing the information to be discussed and requiring that the Floodplain Administrator and any individual who performs a delegated floodplain management responsibility attend the visit.

Key NFIP Floodplain Management Resources

New Jersey Model Ordinance Adoption Resources

New Jersey Model Flood Damage Prevention Permit Resources

Local Design Flood Elevation Worksheet  –

New Jersey’s Flood Hazard Area Control Act (FHACA) requires that the best available most recent data is considered in developing a design flood elevation and the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) defers to the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) Standard for Flood Resistant Design and Construction (ASCE 24-14) to establish freeboard requirements.  Local communities may also adopt mapping requirements and additional freeboard that must be considered when setting the “Local Design Flood Elevation” (LDFE).  The LDFE may be higher than the state minimum Design Flood Elevation, but in no cases can it be lower than what is required by both the FHACA and the UCC.   Determining the LDFE requires consideration of several factors and the choosing of the most restrictive requirements.  For clarification, a Local Design Flood Elevation Worksheet  was developed to assist municipalities with their decision-making

New Jersey Substantial Damage Management Plan Template –

DEP and a focus group of municipal officials developed this template for communities to implement post-disaster.  Though some communities may be developing and adopting it to gain CRS credits, it is a helpful resource for towns to use to set up their process for substantial damage reviews and to communicate with their residents after an event.

Floodplain Communicator Newsletter – View past issues, the index, and access the subscription link

Area-Specific FEMA Memorandums

Welcome! This is our webpage for where the area-specific FEMA Memorandums will be kept and updated. This shows the Best Available Flood Hazard information and what municipalities it applies too. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out through our contact page

FEMA has required participating communities to implement a floodplain management program, including permitting, since the 1968 National Flood Insurance Act.  The National Flood Insurance Program requires a compliant floodplain management program as a condition of continued participation.  In exchange for implementing an NFIP-compliant floodplain management program, property owners in the community to receive federally-subsidized insurance, federally-backed mortgages, and Small Business Administration loans.  Participating communities are also eligible for public assistance to repair or mitigate publicly owned property after flooding.

The Model Permit was developed to assist floodplain managers and can be adapted to a community’s floodplain characteristics.  It can also reflect the zoned development/land uses in a participating community.  This product provides checklists that coordinate with FEMA Technical Bulletins and ASCE 24.  There are also appendices that include the State Land Resource Protection permit by Rule and General Permits that must be incorporated into local decision-making as required by FEMA’s “Precedence Rule” (44 CFR 60.1(d)).  Other State requirements such as deed restrictions for enclosures greater than 6 feet in height, riparian buffers and other best practices are also incorporated into the checklists.

The Model Permits are designed to be partially completed by applicants and provide a format for Floodplain Administrators to track compliance, violations, and variances.  It also includes the new Local Design Flood Elevation Worksheet to ensure that best available data and local freeboard is determined consistently and tracked.  Examples of this worksheet filled out for different scenarios can be found on our General Resource Links for Flooding page.

A recent audit of New Jersey’s model ordinances by FEMA for conformance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations, 44 CFR Parts 59 and 60, resulted in a review of existing local flood damage prevention ordinances.  Based upon FEMA’s review, specific language related to NFIP regulations was not consistent.  Additionally, during Compliance Assistance Contacts with local floodplain administrators, it was determined that better coordination was needed between the three sets of regulations that regulate development and construction in the floodplain.  These regulations are: the NFIP implemented by local floodplain administrators, the New Jersey Flood Hazard Area Control Act (FHACA) implemented at the State level by the NJDEP, and the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) implemented by the local Construction Official.

Because New Jersey has adopted most flood provisions in the International Code Coordinating Council (ICC) i-Codes and because FEMA has worked with the ICC to develop a Model Code Coordinated Ordinance that can be adapted for local use, FEMA’s Version 3 Model Code Coordinated Ordinance was used as a starting point.  Then, because NFIP regulations encourage and specify that higher State-level standards take precedence in 44 CFR 60.1(d), higher standards such as those for floodway rise and mandatory freeboard have been incorporated in these new model ordinances so that local floodplain management regulations and decisions do not conflict with Statewide minimum requirements.    Also, in an effort to better specify enforcement authority and processes for achieving compliance, N.J.S.A. 40:49 is referenced, and language is proposed for development that does not meet NFIP and ordinance regulations.

As a result of this process, New Jersey Model Flood Damage Prevention Ordinances have been simplified from more than 6 models (A, B, C, D, D&E, and E) to 2 models: Riverine (formerly A, B, C, and D without LiMWA) and Coastal (formerly D&E, E, and D with LiMWA).  In the past, ordinance models were tailored to mapped characteristics present within a municipality depending upon whether flood zones and base flood elevations were mapped, floodways were present, and coastal construction standards were necessary for V and Coastal A Zones.   This simplification was necessary because both the FHACA and the UCC are expansively written to achieve site-specific compliance for construction and development in all types of floodplains.   Additionally, the Flood Hazard Area Control Act’s requirement that the best available mapping be considered in determining the floodplain and the design flood elevation for structures necessitated that the municipality’s regulation of the floodplain and the local design flood elevation would be no less stringent than that required by State regulation.

WARNING: This model ordinance should not be adopted by a community without obtaining the appropriate review and concurrence by the NFIP State Coordinator and the FEMA Regional Office. Careful attention should be paid to changes and renumbering that affect cross references. Two versions are available for this ordinance:  A, B, C, and D without LiMWAs Communities should adopt the Riverine model and D with LiMWAs, D&E, and E Communities should adopt the Coastal model.

Identification of Community Specifics. Locations in the Model Ordinance where community-specific information must be inserted are identified with {brackets} and highlighted in yellow. The information must be provided for the ordinance to apply to a specific community.  Referencing the title and date of the effective and preliminary Flood Insurance Studies (FIS) are required to document compliance with Federal and State laws.   The ordinance worksheet below can be used to help make sure all this information is updated by your community.

Floodplain Administrator Responsibilities. The Model Ordinance identifies the Floodplain Administrator as the office or position that is designated by the community’s legislative body to be responsible for administering the floodplain management regulations. The Floodplain Administrator may or may not be the Construction Official. In New Jersey many communities’ floodplain management responsibilities have traditionally been assigned to the building department. In other communities, the responsibilities are assigned to the planning, engineering, public works, or stormwater department. In addition, in many communities, while one official is designated as the Floodplain Administrator, floodplain management requirements may be adopted in various regulatory instruments (e.g., subdivision regulations, zoning ordinance). The Model Ordinance allows departments other than the building department to retain the floodplain management responsibilities that the building codes do not assign to the Construction Official. When the Construction Official is designated the Floodplain Administrator, the authorities to perform both functions have different origins. This ordinance should not be modified to replace “Floodplain Administrator” with the title of the position designated to serve in that capacity.  Be sure when assigning an appeal board that the Floodplain Administrator does not sit on it.

Construction Official Responsibilities. The Model Ordinance alerts the reader when Construction Official’s authority is established in the building codes.

Administrative Provisions. The administrative sections of the Model Ordinance are organized to be consistent with the administrative provisions of the building codes. It is important to note that some administrative provisions, even if they appear in the building codes, must be retained in the Model Ordinance to appropriately regulate development regulated under the National Flood Insurance Program or the New Jersey Flood Hazard Area Control Act that is not within the scopes of the building codes.

Inspection and Enforcement. The Model Ordinance now requires the Floodplain Administrator to make certain inspections and enforce the ordinance, and alerts the reader that building codes authorize the Construction Official to inspect work for which building permits have been issued and to enforce the building codes.

Higher Standards. Statewide minimum standards in the FHACA are included.  Highlighted blue text is optional suggested language for higher standards commonly incorporated into ordinances in communities receiving credit for higher regulatory standards.  Section 102.2.3 allows municipalities to reference ordinances allowing other Best Available Data to be used in their communities to regulate floodplains to higher standards than the State minimum.

WARNING: This model ordinance should not be adopted by a community without obtaining the appropriate review and concurrence by the NFIP State Coordinator and the FEMA Regional Office.

Coastal Model Code Coordinated Ordinance
D with LiMWAs, D&E, and E Communities should adopt the Coastal Model

Riverine Model Code Coordinated Ordinance
A, B, C, and D without LiMWAs Communities should adopt the Riverine model

Reference Tables

Below is a link to the reference tables that supplement the ordinances.  They are a break down of each section of the ordinances and indicate which regulations the language has been taken from.  It is broken down into 3 tables for section 100, definitions (section 200), and then sections 300 through the end.

Below is a link to the Ordinance Worksheet which can be used to ensure all community specific information has been updated, all cross sections and numbering is correct, and all optional higher standards have been included or removed.

Floodplain Administrator Guidebook

The Bureau of Flood Engineering and the NJ NFIP State Coordinator’s Office is pleased to announce the development of a draft Floodplain Administrator Guidebook.  The development of this Guidebook is in response to and support of  New Jersey’s Climate Change Resilience Strategy (Resilience Strategy), released in October, 2021.   The Resilience Strategy has 125 actions identified over 6 core priority areas but specifically identifies the role of Floodplain Administrators as important to Priority 1: Build Resilient and Healthy Communities.  Three excerpts from Strategy 1.2: Increase Technical Assistance Programs to Address Community Resilience stand out:

 “Maintaining an understanding of the requirements of the NFIP……. presents a considerable challenge, particularly when there is a high turnover rate among local floodplain administrators.”;

“Unlike local planners and engineers, there are no requirements that floodplain managers have any special knowledge, skills, or understanding to execute the function of the position.  As the climate continues to change, the need for expertise at the local level will only grow.”; and 

“While all municipalities face impacts from climate change, some towns are at an increased risk and have less resources to address their vulnerabilities.  Prioritization of technical assistance resources for these communities is necessary to ensure an equitable increase in resilience across all municipalities in the state, regardless of size and capacity.”

These three excerpts from the Resilience Strategy were underlying factors in developing a resource which all of New Jersey’s Floodplain Administrators can use to navigate State and Federal floodplain standards.  The guidebook is intended as a living document with changes made as floodplain management regulations, building codes, and FEMA technical guidance change.   More importantly, it is an important tool for ensuring that all municipalities, regardless of size or capacity,  have the ability to obtain clear and consistent technical assistance that can aids their communities in enhancing their resiliency.

This document is released as a draft for comment which reflects the Flood Hazard Area Control Act and NFIP regulations as of June, 2022.  Interested parties are encouraged to email either Rebecca.Jones@dep.nj.gov and/or Kenya.Lovill@dep.nj.gov with any comments on the Guidebook.      Definitions



Local Floodplain Administration Information

Description Updated Link
Letter from NJ NFIP Coordinator to the Local Communities - Clarification and guidance to the Local Floodplain Administrator in enforcing “substantial damage” and “substantial improvement” standards. 06/03/2021
Letter from FEMA to a Local Floodplain Administrator - This document identifies precedence between the local Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and the Building Code and Rehabilitation subcode 06/03/2021
General Permit-by-Certification 15 - Construction of piers, docks, including jet ski ramps, pilings, and boatlifts in man-made lagoons 06/03/2021