Section 3: NFIP Roles

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Participation in the NFIP is voluntary and most communities participate, although not all communities choose to. A community must be a participating community in the NFIP in order to have valid FEMA mapped SFHAs within it. A community must agree to regulate new development in the designated floodplain through a floodplain ordinance to participate in the NFIP. For the purposes of the NFIP, 44CFR78.2 defines community as (1) a political subdivision that has zoning and building code jurisdiction over a particular area having special flood hazards or participating in the NFIP, or (2) a political subdivision of a State or other authority that is designated to develop and administer a mitigation plan by political subdivision. In other words, a community is an entity which has authority to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations for the areas within its jurisdiction.

The floodplain ordinance must require that development in the designated floodplain be consistent with the intent, standards and criteria set by the NFIP. Communities may adopt ordinances and rules that are more stringent than the requirements in 44CFR60.3 and are encouraged by FEMA to do so. In return for community participation in the NFIP, the property owners in the community are eligible to purchase federal flood insurance for buildings and contents, and FEMA will prepare maps showing the SFHAs to be used by the community, insurance agents, and others. FEMA maintains the list of all NFIP communities within the states, both participating and non-participating.


Floodplain Administrator

A participating community is required to appoint a Floodplain Administrator (FPA) whose duty is enforcement of the floodplain ordinance by permitting activities in the SFHAs and maintaining records of all changes to the water surface elevations in the SFHAs.

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FEMA requires each state to appoint a State Coordinating Agency for the NFIP, which in Texas is the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). The Texas Water Code (TWC 16.3145) requires all cities and counties to adopt ordinances making them eligible to participate in the NFIP. However, actual participation is at the option of the community.

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Non-participating Communities

Not all communities are participating in the NFIP. Some communities have never participated while others were mapped but then withdrew from the program. The FIRMs of the withdrawn communities still exist and are available online even though they are not effective maps.

A community must be a participating community in the NFIP in order to have valid FEMA mapped SFHAs within it. Communities not participating in the NFIP do not have any valid FEMA mapped SFHAs by virtue of the fact that they are non-participating, even though FEMA flood maps may exist.

FEMA issues a community identification number (CID) to every community including non-participating ones. However, FEMA has not issued a CID to any State. Without a CID, a State can not be a participating community in the NFIP, therefore a FEMA mapped SFHA cannot exist on state owned lands and public rights of way (ROW), and the State cannot be held to the requirements of 44CFR60.

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