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Learn more about the history of flooding and floodplain management in Wisconsin
Discover how floodplains are mapped in Wisconsin
Find out what regulations apply in floodplains and how to adopt an ordinance
Learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program

Floodplain zoning, management and grant opportunities for local communities

Model zoning ordinances and associated documents

As of January 1, 2012, a new standard model floodplain ordinance and model floodplain ordinance with flood storage language will be in effect. The appropriate model should be used by any community amending or adopting a floodplain ordinance after that date.

For copies of the documents listed below in Microsoft Word format or for copies of earlier versions of the model ordinances, please contact DNR Floodplains.

Laws and regulations

Sample letters and documents



Handbooks and other publications

Fact sheets

For more information about fact sheets, or if you have a suggestion, contact:
DNR Floodplains.

Municipal flood control grant program

Recognizing that we have a responsibility to protect life, health and property from flood damages, the DNR offcers the Municipal Flood Control Grant Program. It is an assistance package to all cities, villages, towns and metropolitan sewerage districts concerned with municipal flood control management. Assistance is provided in two ways.

  1. Local assistance grants that support municipal flood control administrative activities.
  2. Acquisition and development grants to acquire and remove floodplain structures, elevate floodplain structures, restore riparian areas, acquire land and easements for flood storage, construct flood control structures and fund flood mapping projects.

Flood mitigation assistance grants

Communities are encouraged to develop flood mitigation plans which assess flood risk and identify actions to reduce that risk. Floodplain mitigation grants are available to communities which have flood mitigation plans in place which are approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as Wisconsin Emergency Management [exit DNR].

For more information, contact:
Roxanne Gray
State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Wisconsin Emergency Management

There are two types of grants available to communities:

  • Planning grants - grants to communities to develop or update flood mitigation plans.
  • Project grants - grants to communities to implement measures to reduce flood losses. This could take the form of such things as elevating, relocating, or dry floodproofing of insured structures.

Hazard mitigation grants

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) assists state and local governments in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following a major disaster declaration.

Objectives of the HMGP are:

  • To prevent future losses of lives and property due to disasters;
  • To implement state or local mitigation plans;
  • To enable mitigation measures to be implemented during immediate recovery from a disaster;
  • Provide funding for mitigation measures that benefit the disaster area.

Grants provide up to 87.5 percent of the eligible costs (75 percent funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and 12.5 percent by the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management.) The remaining 12.5 percent is a required local match. Federal funding under the HMGP is based on 15 percent of the federal funds spent on the Public and Individual Assistance programs for each disaster.

Eligible applicants are:

  • state and local governments;
  • Certain private, non-profit organizations or institutions; and
  • Indian tribes or authorized tribal organization.

Examples of eligible projects are:

  • retrofitting, such as floodproofing;
  • acquisition and relocation of structures from hazard prone areas;
  • development of standards to protect structures; and
  • structural hazard control such as debris basins or floodwalls.

Eligible projects are required to demonstrate:

  • the project is cost/beneficial;
  • the project is environmentally sound;
  • other alternatives have been considered; and
  • the project is the best alternative and will actually solve a problem and is a permanent solution.

Eligible applicants apply for the HMGP through Wisconsin Emergency Management [exit DNR].

For more information, contact:
Roxanne Gray
State hazard mitigation officer
Wisconsin Emergency Management

Last revised: Friday September 18 2015