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Division of Planning
Office of Environmental Services
Ecological Resources & Waterway Permits

FEMA Floodplains

The Office of Environmental Services Ohio River FloodplainEcological Resources and Permits section provides floodplain guidance that is necessary to ensure that transportation projects are in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Review of transportation projects that may or may not impact regulated floodplains should be undertaken as early as possible during the preliminary design proposal phase, as the requirement to consider all feasible alternatives to avoid encroachment on the base 100-year floodplain may call for significant modifications to the design of a project. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Water’s Floodplain Management Program’s mission is to provide leadership to local governments, state agencies and interested parties toward cooperative management of Ohio's floodplains to ensure the reduction of flood damage and the recognition of the floodplain's natural benefit. This mission is accomplished through technical assistance, public awareness, education and development/protection standards.

Why Are Floodplains Regulated?

The U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. The intent of the NFIP is to minimize future flood damage, regulate short term impacts that can be associated with development and modifications of floodplains and provide property owners with flood insurance protection at a reasonable cost while preserving the natural and beneficial values served by floodplains. The NFIP assists communities by requiring that they adopt and administer local flood plain management measures. This effort is intended to protect lives and new construction from future flooding.
All transportation projects must avoid increasing base flood (100-year flood) elevations when developing in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs)/regulated floodplain zones delineated on FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
The Office of Environmental Services has developed a Floodplain Management Guidance for ODOT projects. The Guidance can be found here:
ODOT Floodplain Management Guidelines
Compliance for Impacts to Floodplains
Last Updated: April 5, 2016



S. Ross Irvine, Esq.
Assistant Legal Counsel
Ohio Department of Transportation
1980 West Broad Street
Mail Stop #4170
Columbus, OH 43223
(614) 387-0268