Floodplain Management Program

Flooded Road

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC link to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.

FEMA flood maps are continually updated through a variety of processes. Because effective information that you download or print from this site may change or become superseded by new maps over time, Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning has made that easy by linking into FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer information with our local property boundary information. Type any address in Harford County in the blue search box to find the most current floodplain information. Please click here, FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer Map, to use the viewer.

Harford County began floodplain management on March 2, 1983 when the county’s first Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) were published. Most recently, the county has updated its FIRMs and on on April 19, 2016 adopted local regulations that specifically deal with controlling development within these flood hazard areas.

The 100-year floodplain is land area that has a 1% or greater probability of flooding in any given year. Floodplains are an integral part of a stream system. They provide storage capacity for high flows and reduce the discharge of sediment during high flow periods.


Floodplain Management in Harford County is guided by the following goals:
  • Prevent loss of life and property
  • Avoid risks to health and safety
  • Prevent the disruption of commerce and government services
  • Reduce the economic losses associated with flooding events
  • Preserve the biological values and environmental quality in floodplain areas

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in response to escalating costs to taxpayers to fund flood relief efforts and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods.
The NFIP makes federally-backed flood insurance available in communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations to reduce flood damage. Careful local management of development in the floodplains results in construction practices that can reduce flood losses and the high costs associated with flood disasters to all levels of government.


The NFIP is managed by FEMA’s Federal Insurance Administration and the Mitigation Directorate. The Federal Insurance Administration manages the insurance component of the NFIP, while the Mitigation Directorate oversees the floodplain management aspect of the program.

The NFIP is self-supporting, which means that operating expenses and flood insurance claims are not paid by the taxpayer, but through premiums collected for flood insurance policies. For more information on the NFIP, visit the FEMA website.

Community Rating System (CRS)

The NFIP’s Community Rating System was implemented in 1990 to recognize and encourage community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP standards. Under the CRS, flood insurance premium rates are adjusted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from community activities that meet the three goals of the CRS:

  1. Reduce flood losses.
  2. Facilitate accurate insurance rating.
  3. Promote the awareness of flood insurance.


There are 10 CRS classes: Class 1 requires the most credit points and gives the largest premium reduction, Class 10 receives no premium reduction.

Harford County is considered a Class 7 community, and all Harford County residents and businesses receive a 15% premium reduction on flood insurance. Harford is one of approximately 1,200 communities that participate in the CRS program. For more information on the CRS program, visit the FEMA website.