Natural Resources

Efficiently and responsibly managing and protecting our water and land resources for the sustainability, health, safety, and economic benefit of the State of Arkansas

Community Official FAQs

What is the NFIP?

The National Flood Insurance Program [NFIP] is a Federal program created by Congress to mitigate future flood losses nationwide through sound, community-enforced building and zoning ordinances and to provide access to affordable, federally backed flood insurance protection for property owners. The NFIP is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.

Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between local communities and the Federal Government that states that if a community will adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses.

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What is Floodplain Development Permit Application?

Floodplain Development Permits are required to ensure that proposed development projects meet the requirements of the NFIP and the community's floodplain management ordinance.  A Floodplain Development Permit is required before construction or development begins within any Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

It is important to note that development is defined as any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials.

A community must also review all proposed developments to assure that all necessary permits have been received from those governmental agencies from which approval is required by Federal or State law.

Download a model Floodplain Development Permit Application*

What is an Elevation Certificate?

An Elevation Certificate form is used to gather elevation data for the purpose of accurately assessing flood risks to structures located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). An Elevation Certificate must be prepared and certified by a licensed Land Surveyor/ Engineer. An Elevation Certificate contains: accurate determination of flood zone and Base Flood Elevation (BFE), photographs of the structure, geographic location of structure (latitude & longitude), ground elevations adjacent to structure foundation, type of structure and foundation system, elevation of the lowest structural level (crawlspace, basement, slab, etc.), elevation of lowest living area, and elevation of mechanical equipment (furnace, hot water heater, etc.)

Download an Elevation Certificate*

What is a No-Rise Certificate?

A "Regulatory Floodway" is the channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height.

Any project in a floodway must be reviewed to determine if the project will increase flood heights. An engineering analysis must be conducted before a floodplain development permit can be issued. The community's permit file must have a record of the results of this analysis, which can be in the form of a No-Rise Certificate.  This No-rise Certificate must be supported by technical data and signed by a registered professional engineer. The supporting technical data should be based on the standard step-backwater computer model used to develop the 100-year floodway shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

Download a No-Rise Certificate

Joining the NFIP

Some 20,000 communities across the United States and its territories participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce flood damage.  In exchange, the NFIP makes federally-backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in these communities. Community participation in the NFIP is voluntary.  In Arkansas, over 420 counties, towns, and cities have joined the NFIP since its creation in 1968.

Please contact the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Floodplain Management Program if your community is interested in joining the NFIP.  We would be happy to speak with you about the benefits of joining the program and to help you with the application process. 

Instructions and the application documents for joining are also provided below:

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