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Floodplain Coordinator: Recognized For Helping Cape Codders Reduce Risk

Barnstable County’s CRS & Floodplain Coordinator: Helping to Reduce Risk on Cape Cod

The CRS & Floodplain Coordinator position was created in 2015 to assist Cape Cod communities with joining the Community Rating System (CRS), a program within the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that provides residents and businesses discounts on flood insurance in exchange for actions taken within the community that reduce flood risk. The CRS & Floodplain Coordinator provides technical assistance for regulations and issues related to the National Flood Insurance Program, prepares applications for the CRS, and works with towns to maintain participation in the CRS and NFIP programs.

Barnstable County’s CRS & Floodplain Coordinator Shannon Jarbeau holding the 2017 James Lee Witt Local Award for excellence in floodplain management.

What Determines if You Must Pay Flood Insurance?

Any structure with a federally-backed mortgage located in a floodplain is required to carry flood insurance. In 2014, new flood maps became effective that added nearly 9,000 structures to the floodplain, and Congress passed a second round of reforms to the NFIP that increased annual premiums by up to 25% a year. The hardest hit policyholders were second homes and businesses built prior to 1980. The average structural value of structures added to the floodplain is $290,000, and the average annual cost of a flood insurance policy on Cape Cod is $1,300.

The CRS and Flood Plain Coordinator Assists Communities Across Cape Cod

There are now 8 towns in the CRS program: Brewster, Orleans, and Provincetown currently earn a 5% discount for NFIP policyholders, while Chatham, Harwich, Eastham, Mashpee, and Wellfleet earn a 10% discount. So far, 3,000 policyholders are saving $275,000 annually through the CRS. Sandwich, Falmouth, and Barnstable have begun the application process, and all remaining towns have expressed interest in the program.

Barnstable County is Recognized as a Pioneering Community for Floodplain Management Program

The regional management of the CRS is an entirely new concept, with Barnstable County having the first regional coordinator nationwide. In recognition of this innovative and successful effort, Barnstable County and the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension received the 2017 James Lee Witt Local Award for Excellence in Floodplain Management, awarded annually to a pioneering community-level floodplain management program by the national Association of State Floodplain Managers.

About Shannon Jarbeau

Shannon Jarbeau is a Certified Floodplain Manager ® with a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. Prior to moving to the Cape, Shannon worked for Wetlands Watch, a non-profit out of Norfolk, VA, where she developed a NFIP/CRS program area as a way to encourage communities to improve floodplain management.

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