The Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc. (ASFPM) published Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials as part of its mission to promote education, policies and activities that mitigate current and future losses, costs and human suffering caused by flooding. Founded in 1977, the organization had over 18,000 members in 2019, including members in 37 state chapters. ASFPM supports professionals involved in floodplain management, flood hazard mitigation, flood preparedness and flood warning and recovery. Members represent local, state and federal government agencies, citizen groups, private consulting firms, academia, the insurance industry and lenders.

Note: These website pages contain the official published version of Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials. Printable .pdf versions are available at the following links: Volume I: The Essentials, Volume II: Moving Beyond the Essentials, Volume III: Success Stories. Please note that this website may be edited in the future with additional updated content but there is no plan to update the .pdf versions produced in February 2020.Image of flyer.

Interested in sharing this publication with your elected officials? This flyer outlining Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials will help them understand the importance of mitigating flood risk in your community.


We extend our genuine thanks to all the elected officials and professionals that shared their time through meetings, interviews, emails and phone calls for the preparation of this guide. This guide was funded in part by the ASFPM Foundation, whose mission is to serve as the catalyst for ASFPM, its chapters and members in order to advance projects, education and policy initiatives that promote reduced flood risk and resilient communities. Funding was also provided by the Westfield Insurance Foundation.

Prepared and written by:

Lead author: Rebecca C. Quinn, CFM, President, RCQuinn Consulting, Inc.
Co-author: Leigh M. Chapman, CFM, President and Senior Planner, Salter’s Creek Consulting

Special appreciation is extended to the following individuals who assisted in the creation of this publication:

  • James C. Schwab, FAICP, Urban Planner & Author, Jim Schwab Consulting LLC, Principal
  • Rich Anderson, Ph.D, Energy Director, Senior Advisor, Mayors Water Council, US Conference of Mayors
  • Jen Marcy, PMP, CFM, Project Director, Water Resources East, Atkins
  • Meg Bartow, Executive Vice President, Director, Public & Risk Communication, Ogilvy
  • Lisa Miller, Senior Vice President, Community Engagement & Resilience, Ogilvy
  • Julie Tallman, CFM, Development Regulations Specialist, Building Inspection Services, City of Iowa City, Iowa
  • Chad Berginnis, CFM, Executive Director, ASFPM
  • Larry Larson, P.E., CFM, Director Emeritus-Senior Policy Advisor, ASFPM
  • Jenna Moran, Associate Program Director for Resilience, Transportation and Infrastructure, National Association of Counties
  • Julie A. Ufner, Associate Legislative Director of Environment, Energy and Land Use, National Association of Counties
  • John Ryan-Henry, Resilience Specialist and Legal Advisor, Coastal States Organization
  • Alexis Cunningham, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow, Coastal States Organization
  • George Riedel, CFM, Donor Coordinator, ASFPM Foundation
  • Eric S. Poole, Executive Director, Florida Counties Foundation
  • Meredith R. Inderfurth, ASFPM Washington D.C. Liaison
  • David R. Conrad, Consultant, Water Resources Policy, David R. Conrad Associates
  • Hunter Merritt, Water Resources Planner, Sacramento District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Pictures of elected officials.
Center: Iowa City, Iowa current Mayor Jim Throgmorton (left) and former Mayor Matthew Hayek. Clockwise from top left: Roseville, California Mayor John Allard; Harris County, Texas Judge Ed Emmett; Longmont, Colorado Mayor Brian Bagley; former Longmont, Colorado Mayor Dennis Coombs; Valley View, Ohio Mayor Jerry Piasecki; Illinois Senator Sue Rezin. Photos by ASFPM, 2019.

Thank you to the many local elected officials that agreed to be interviewed for this guide:

  • Mayor John Allard, Roseville, California
  • Mayor Brian Bagley, Longmont, Colorado
  • Mayor Dennis Coombs (former), Longmont, Colorado
  • Judge Ed Emmett, Harris County, Texas
  • Mayor Matthew Hayek (former), Iowa City, Iowa
  • Mayor Jerry Piasecki, Valley View, Ohio
  • Senator Sue Rezin, Illinois’ 38th District
  • Mayor Jim Throgmorton, Iowa City, Iowa

Finally, this guide would not be possible without the dedication and creativity of staff at ASFPM:

  • Beth Klusinske, Flood Science Center, Research Associate
  • Dave Fowler, CFM, Flood Science Center, Senior Project Manager
  • Michele Mihalovich, Public Information Officer
  • Melissa Haig, MLIS, Flood Science Center, Research Librarian
  • Jason Hochschild, Flood Science Center, IT & GIS Analyst
  • Jeff Stone, CFM, Research & Development Manager

Visit the Success Stories page to watch as mayors and elected officials from around the country talk about how they are leading flood risk reduction in their community. Also, explore historic publications and resources available to elected officials while learning about current and continually updated content. For any questions about the website and this companion guide, please contact ASFPM.

Suggested Citations:

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Association of State Floodplain Managers. 2020. Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials Volume I- The Essentials. 3 vols. Madison, WI.

Association of State Floodplain Managers. 2020. Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials Volume II- Moving Beyond the Essentials. 3 vols. Madison, WI.

Association of State Floodplain Managers. 2019. Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials Volume III- Success Stories.. 3 vols. Madison, WI.