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Floodplain Regulations and State Model Ordinances

This page includes the State’s model floodplain ordinances, the minimum NFIP language for subdivision and site plan regulations, the Federal and State executive orders requiring Federal and State agencies to comply with floodplain regulations, and New Hampshire legislation related to floodplain management.

NH Model Floodplain Ordinances

The Office of Planning and Development (OPD) has developed three state model floodplain ordinances, which contain the minimum regulations that a community must adopt in order to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as detailed in Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The type of model a community adopts depends on the information contained on the community's Flood Insurance Rate Map developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In addition, OPD has developed a Model Ordinance Notes document that accompanies each ordinance.

The state model floodplain ordinances are available upon request. Please reach out to the NH Floodplain Management Team for more information.

Menu of Higher Floodplain Regulation Standards

Communities are strongly encouraged to adopt more stringent floodplain regulations that go beyond the minimum NFIP regulations. Adopting such standards can improve a community’s resiliency to future floods by reducing potential: loss of human life; property and environmental damage; displacement of residents; disruption of businesses; and the burden on community infrastructure, services and staff.

OPD has developed a Menu of Higher Floodplain Regulation Standards that provides examples of recommended higher floodplain regulations, many of which have already been adopted by certain New Hampshire communities. The menu also includes sample ordinance language and resources to learn more about each of the standards featured. It also indicates when Community Rating System (CRS) credit is available.

OPD has compiled a list of communities around the state that enforce at least one regulation that exceeds the minimum NFIP regulations. You can also view this information using our interactive map. If your community is not listed and you would like to be added, please Contact Us.

Other NFIP and NH Regulations

  • State Executive Order 96-4 - This State of New Hampshire executive order requires all State agencies to comply with local floodplain management requirements of New Hampshire communities that participate in the NFIP in which State-owned properties are located.
  • NFIP Required Language in a Community's Subdivision and Site Plan Review Regulations rtf (text) file - This document contains the minimum NFIP regulations that a community must adopt into their subdivision and site plan review regulations in order to participate in the NFIP.
  • The NH State Building Code (effective July 1, 2022) references the International Building Code 2018 and International Residential Code 2018, which both include requirements for development occurring in Special Flood Hazard Areas, some of which exceed minimum NFIP requirements. OPD’s fact sheet  and FEMA's Summary of Changes to Flood Provisions summarize some of the key changes that now apply. FEMA has a list of Building Code Resources that provide information concerning the flood resistant provisions of the 2018 International Code Series®, highlights of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 24-14, and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements.
  • Federal Executive Order 11988 - This federal order requires federal agencies to avoid, to the extent possible, the long and short-term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains and to avoid direct and indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practicable alternative. Includes guidelines that address an eight-step process that agencies should carry out as part of their decision-making on projects that have potential impacts to or within the floodplain.