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.