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Resources For Developing Your CRS Program

February 21, 2019
Susanna Pho, CFM

The Community Rating System (CRS) can be a boon for property owners facing rising flood insurance premiums, but it can also be a daunting program to manage. CRS communities of all shapes and sizes are doing great work to lower insurance costs by developing higher regulatory standards, generating new insights through mapping, and engaging community members through public outreach. Whether you’re just starting to evaluate the utility of CRS or you’re a seasoned veteran looking for opportunities to expand, learning and building from the work that others have done can make a your day-to-day as a CRS Coordinator more efficient.

Luckily, the CRS community is enthusiastic, and there are a number of existing resources to help you out. We’ve put together a list of the great work being done to make CRS more accessible below.

Resource Hubs – The official hub for CRS-related resources, you should definitely stop here first for both the manual and the activity-specific forms.

CostalVA CRS Workgroup – A few of the regional CRS user groups make their resources available online for the larger CRS community. The Coastal Virginia CRS User Group hosts an awesome set of templates and forms online.

Monmouth County Supporting Documents for CRS Activities – Monmouth County is also a leader in regional coordination around CRS. Their website has some resources you might find useful for your own program.

Colorado Water Conservation Board’s CRS Web Resource – The Colorado Water Conservation Board’s CRS dashboard is a great place to start if you would like more conversational guidance on the program. While it’s mostly geared toward Colorado communities, a lot of the resources made available are applicable to all communities.

CRS Manual Guides

Forerunner – The CRS manual is long and can get confusing if you’re new to the program. We’ve put together a summary guide, organized by element, to help you navigate the program. Our CRS Guide is conversational, contains helpful tips, and organizes additional templates and outside links by element for you to use.

Green Guide – The Green Guide was put together post-Hurricane Sandy by the Association of State Floodplain Managers’ Flood Science Center in collaboration with CRS experts nationwide. It highlights and unpacks 25 activities with additional guidance and local narratives.


NOAA: How to Map Open Space for Community Rating System Credit – NOAA’s Digital Coast Partnership put together this handy resource for helping communities with things like: calculating Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) and identifying open space preservation opportunities.’s Flood Safety Social Media Toolkit – Looking for templates for your public outreach projects? has quite a few, optimized for social media.


Wetlands Watch’s CRS Research – Wetlands Watch has conducted extensive research on the impact of CRS in Virginia. Their papers cover topics ranging from improving CRS scores to the costs/benefits of CRS locally.

FEMA: Small Communities in the CRS – A common misconception is that CRS is impossible to manage for small communities. To address this concern, FEMA published a paper on precisely this topic.


Success with CRS – Depending on your municipality’s core strengths, success within the CRS program can take different forms. This website compiles a list of precedents by type of activity to give you an idea of how different communities are tackling the program.

The above list is periodically update, so check back for more!

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