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Community Rating System (CRS)

winter flooding

Flooding and insurance costs have become a more prominent issue in the past several years as sea levels rise, precipitation patterns shift, and Congress reorganizes the National Flood Insurance Program.

In 2015, the Community Rating System (CRS) and Floodplain Coordinator position was created to assist communities with participation in the CRS and to improve flood resilience and floodplain management.

Barnstable County’s Regionally Managed CRS Program

Barnstable County, Massachusetts, is the first in the nation to have a regionally-managed CRS program. The CRS coordinator is funded by the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and Woods Hole Sea Grant. The coordinator provides the technical expertise and assistance to guide communities through the application process and help them maintain their participation in the program. In Barnstable County each year, policyholders save $420,000 -- a number that is projected to increase to $900,000 by 2020. The program, which earned the 2017 Association of State Floodplain Managers James Lee Witt Award for Excellence in Local Floodplain Management, is a model for other communities across the nation and the basis for proposed legislation to fund regional coordinators nationwide.

» Download one-pager on Woods Hole Sea Grant CRS program

What is the Community Rating System?

CRS is a voluntary incentive program of the National Flood Insurance Program that rewards communities that take actions beyond the federal minimum requirements to reduce the risk of flooding. Their actions improve coastal resiliency and earn NFIP policyholders a discount on flood insurance.

Related Links

One-pager on WHSG CRS program

FEMA Community Rating System


Shannon Hulst

Floodplain and Community Rating System Specialist

(508) 375-6952


The assistance provided by Woods Hole Sea Grant and Cape Cod Cooperative Extension was essential in gaining acceptance to the Community Rating System program. Having an experienced point person to guide and coordinate us through the enrollment process made a big difference in our decision to join the program.”
- Paul Lagg, Town Planner for Eastham, Mass.

"Since 2015, Woods Hole Sea Grant’s support for the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System (CRS) coordinator position in Barnstable County has led to nearly $1 million in savings on flood insurance premiums for homeowners, businesses, and municipalities in our area. The program has worked so well that I introduced the Community Flood Insurance Savings Act to help other regions leverage federal funding and replicate Barnstable County’s success.”
- Congressman Bill Keating

“As the new CRS coordinator and flood plain manager for the Town of Wellfleet, I would like to thank you very much for the guidance, assistance, and time you spent helping our staff get all the required information together for the required annual submittal to the CRS program. The Town of Wellfleet truly appreciates the County’s assistance with regard to our annual CRS submittal as it is quite complicated and requires a very particular data set to be submitted in a regimented format. The Cape's coastal communities are very lucky to have the county resources backed by [your] expertise.”
- Justin Post, Wellfleet Building Commissioner

benefits of CRS