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DEC Releases Updated Model Flood Hazard Bylaws

The Department of Environmental Conservation, River Corridor and Floodplain Protection Program (DEC) is pleased to release updated model flood hazard bylaws to assist municipalities in the development of their flood hazard regulations.  

In 2017, DEC formed an external stakeholder working group to review and provide feedback on the draft bylaws.   The working group included representatives from Regional Planning Commissions, the  Vermont Planners Association, The Towns of Randolph and Brattleboro, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

Flooding is Vermont’s most common natural disaster.  Communities regulating flood hazards to at least the minimum standards of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) enables residents to secure flood insurance and makes the community eligible for federal hazard mitigation grant funding to prepare for the next flood event.

The federal minimum requirements are insufficient to ensure community resilience against flooding.  In particular, they allow for continued filling and encroachment in floodplains, resulting in increased flood heights and velocities over time, putting new and existing investments at increased risk.  In addition, federal minimum standards are focused on reducing risk to insurable buildings from flood inundation.  Flood-related erosion is Vermont’s primary mode of damage. The model bylaws serve as a starting point for consideration, and the text may be tailored to meet community needs.  These models contain standards that exceed NFIP minimum requirements and approximate the standards adopted by the State in its regulation of floodplains and river corridors.

The model text is presented in a modular format to provide flexibility in meeting individual community needs.  The models and related companion documents are available at:

Questions about the models and community options should be directed to your Regional Floodplain Manager: (, or your Regional Planning Commission (


Rob Evans, CFM,  State Floodplain Manager
River Corridor & Floodplain Protection Program
1 National Life Drive, Main 2
Montpelier, VT  05620-3522
802-490-6152 /

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