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Rhode Island Floodplain Management

Burrillville Road FloodingFloods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. Seventy-five percent of federal disaster declarations are related to flooding. Flooding in Rhode Island can result from a variety of situations, including spring snow melt combined with heavy rains, coastal storms, or "nor'easters," tropical storms and hurricanes, and the very dangerous potential of dam breeches. In an effort to reduce the losses of life and property associated with flooding and to reduce the rising costs of disaster relief after a flood, the federal government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Broadly speaking, the NFIP is based on three large principles:

Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is based on an agreement between communities and the Federal government. Through the NFIP, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides maps of hazardous areas and provides federally backed flood insurance. In return, communities agree to enact and enforce floodplain regulations intended to minimize the threats to life and property. All 39 communities in Rhode Island particpate in the NFIP.

Floodplain Management can be confusing, even to those considered to be "in the know." Our webpage intends to answer your many questions and provide useful information to all things flood related.

NFIP Community Rating System (CRS)

The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program that recognizes and encourages a community's efforts that exceed the NFIP minimum requirements for floodplain management. The CRS program emphasizes three goals: the reduction of flood losses, facilitating accurate insurance rating and promoting the awareness of flood insurance. By participating in the CRS program, communities can earn a 5-45% discount for flood insurance premiums based upon the activities that reduce the risk of flooding within the community.

The 2013 CRS Coordinator's Manual is the guidebook for the CRS and establishes the criteria for CRS Classification. It explains the Activities and Elements of the program, how credit is calculated and what provides eligibility for credit. Communities can also use the manual as a guide for designing and improving their floodplain management programs.

As of May 1, 2014, 6 Rhode Island communities participate in the Community Rating System and receive the following flood insurance premium discount:

Bristol - Class 8 (10%)
East Providence - Class 9 (5%)
Middletown - Class 8 (10%)
Narragansett - Class 8 (10%)
North Kingstown - Class 9 (5%)
Westerly - Class 8 (10%)

Benefits provided to the community are inclusive but not limited to:

  • Enhanced public safety,
  • A reduction in damage to property and public infrastructure,
  • Avoidance of economic disruption and losses,
  • Reduction of human suffering and/or loss of life,
  • And protection of the environment.

Helpful links and information on the Community Rating System can be found at www.crsresources.org.

For more information about the CRS program or the Rhode Island CRS User Group, please contact our State CRS Coordinator.

Flood Vents

Welcome to Flood Vents, the quarterly issued floodplain newsletter from the Rhode Island Floodplain Management Program. The intent of this newsletter is to provide floodplain management professionals with relative, up to date information on a variety of floodplain related issues. We hope you will find the information interesting and valuable.