Project Portal

New Floodplain Maps for Coastal NH and Questions of Legal Authority, Measures and Consequence

This project assessed various types of legal risks communities in the Lamprey River Watershed may be concerned about as a result of adopting new flood management regulations and policies. To assess these risks we identified four potential legal challenges related to: (1) municipal liability, (2) enabling authority, (3) the use of climate maps as evidence, and (4) takings. In general, the risk of municipal liability is low, so long as municipalities follow sound planning principles. Not only is the level of risk low, the federal government encourages communities to enact certain types of regulations designed to reduce flood hazards. This encouragement provides states and municipalities an additional layer of assurance with respect to adopting and defending revised or new flood regulations. Under federal floodplain guidelines, states and municipalities are encouraged to establish more stringent regulations above and beyond minimum federal requirements. The resulting document provides a list of additional regulatory and non-regulatory tools communities can use to both help reduce risk of flood hazards and avoid legal quandary.

Project Lead

Vermont Law School, NH Sea Grant, University of New Hampshire


National Sea Grant Law Center

Time Frame

Start: March 1, 2011
End: February 28, 2012