Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



The National Flood Insurance Program provides an incentive-based program, the Community Rating System (“CRS”), to encourage communities to improve their hazard mitigation protocols to better protect against and prevent flood-related hazards. This dissertation analyzes factors that influence participation and points scored within the CRS to gain an understanding of the conditions under which communities are willing and able to take advantage of an incentive-based flood hazard mitigation program. It also includes an analysis of survey responses from 41 coastal county floodplain and CRS managers to gauge their opinions on the CRS and how it can be improved to better serve communities.

The results of regression analyses show that the biggest influences on both participation and point scores in the CRS are the number of nested CRS-participating communities within a county and county property tax revenue. The surveyed floodplain and CRS managers cited shortage of staff and inadequate budgets as their biggest obstacles in participating in the CRS or improving their CRS score. Further, they suggested the best ways to improve the program are to strengthen incentives to participate and change how points are allocated for qualified mitigation activities.

These analyses and findings from the survey provide an improved understanding of problems with the CRS program and its implementation. This improved understanding can enhance administration and implementation of the CRS by helping policymakers and residents within coastal counties better prepare for future flood events and protect the natural environment and while supporting residents.



Committee Chair

Margaret Reams