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Community Rating System Corner: A Handy Place to Stay Current on CRS Matters

Author: Shannon Hulst, CFM


Activity 520: Acquisition and Relocation


Activity 520 does not fall in the low-lying fruit category. To my knowledge, only two communities in Massachusetts get this credit. Acquiring and relocating properties is a substantial task to which many municipalities are not able to devote the necessary resources. However, if your community or residents in your community are considering any acquisitions or relocations, don’t forget to look into earning CRS credit for them!


When a structure is demolished or relocated off of a floodplain parcel, the parcel must be maintained as open space in perpetuity. For CRS credit, the parcel can be managed by either the community or another entity like a land trust. (Note that the latter may not be the case for properties acquired through FEMA funding.)


While these removals are typically pursued using FEMA funding, this limits the amount of CRS credit a community can earn to 25% of the available points. But this is one of those activities where CRS credit should absolutely not be the motivator for pursuing a flood resilience activity: this category rewards communities for a great flood risk reduction tool, but does not bestow a large amount of credit because each action protects only the one structure in question.


Repetitive loss and severe repetitive loss properties earn more credit than other structures here. They may also be more competitive in the grant process if that’s the direction a community would like to go, so it’s worth looking into whether a property falls into one of these categories and prioritizing those.


As floodplain managers know, removal from the floodplain through relocation or demolition is the best way to reduce the risk of flood damage to a structure and to limit a community’s flood exposure: the fewer structures there are in the floodplain, the less recovery the community must engage in after a flood.


For more information, see section 520 of CRS Coordinators Manual.


The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program within the National Flood Insurance Program that offers discounts on flood insurance in exchange for actions taken within a community that improve flood resilience. More information can be found at Community Rating System | FEMA.gov and CRS Resources Home - CRSresources.


About the author: Shannon is the CRS & Floodplain Coordinator for Barnstable County through the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension & Woods Hole Sea Grant.

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