Welcome to the Flood Zone Information Page for the Town of Bristol! Our goal is to keep Bristol citizens informed and up-to-date on all things flood related in town. For more information including development standards, projects, and resources, keep scrolling.
Upon request, the Town can provide you with flood zone information, including whether or not a property appears to be in a Special Flood Hazard Area according to current Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) of the Town; and flood insurance data such as the FIRM zone and the base flood elevation or depth. Additionally, the Town of Bristol can provide copies of completed FEMA Elevation Certificates for buildings built in the floodplain since 2004; and, for some buildings completed prior to that, as well.
If you would like to make an inquiry, please provide us with the street address and, if available, the Assessor’s Plat and Lot Number. There is no charge for this service.
Development in Areas of Special Flood Hazard
Bristol Zoning Ordinance Chapter 28 Section 301 (Purpose)
The purpose of this division is to ensure public safety; minimize hazards to persons and property from flooding, to protect watercourses from encroachment and to maintain the capability of floodplains to retain and carry off floodwaters. The Town of Bristol elects to comply with the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-488, as amended).
To see Chapter 28 of the Zoning Ordinance in full (Sections 301-311); including information on permitting and development in areas of special flood hazard, click below.
Flood Insurance Information
Is your home located within a national flood zone? If so, flood insurance could cover a portion of property damages sustained during storms. If you are unsure whether your home is within a national flood zone, click the link below to visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center and type your address into the search engine.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a national organization whose core mission is helping people before, during and after disasters. A link to their homepage can be found under the Resources tab of this page.
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Fact Sheet
FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is a federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance as protection against flood losses, while requiring local governments to enforce floodplain management ordinances that aim to reduce future flood damage.
Click the image above to view the full fact sheet, or click here to download.
Click here to view their entire flood insurance webpage.
Community Rating System (CRS)
The Town of Bristol participates in the Community Rating System of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and has been elevated to a Class 7 under this program. Participation in this program rewards the Town for good flood plain management and results in reduced flood insurance premiums for Bristol residents who are policy holders.
FEMA is a national organization whose core mission is helping people before, during and after disasters. Click the link below to view the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Website.
National Flood Insurance Program
The NFIP offers flood insurance to help you protect the life you’ve built and recover more quickly after a flood.
RI EMA Flood Page
The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA)serves a similar purpose to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but with a core focus on Rhode Island and the communities within it. This page has great information on the different types of flooding.
To visit the flood page of their website, click here.
Rhode Island STORMTOOLS
STORMTOOLS is a method to illustrate and display storm flooding, with and without sea level rise, for different types of storms that could occur along Rhode Island’s coastline.
Explore the link below to view mapping information for the Town of Bristol including flood zone locations.
USGS Topographical Map for Bristol
Click the link below to view a topographical map of Bristol and see our relationship to sea level.
Bristol’s Holistic Approach to Stormwater Management and Improved Water Quality
Click below to read more about our stormwater management and water quality work done to the Town Beach and the Silver Creek Watershed.
Self-Guided Bristol Flood Awareness and History Walking Tour
There are markers posted around town that detail Bristol’s history and significant flooding events. The red link below takes you to a downloadable brochure that acts as a guide for this walking tour. There are also brochures in the information booths around town
The blue link takes you to our Places to Visit tab, where our historical and flood awareness signs are marked digitally with a red and blue question mark icon.
Bristol Hazard Mitigation Plan
The purpose of the Hazard Mitigation is to recommend actions and policies for the Town of Bristol to minimize the social and economic loss or hardships resulting from hazardous events. The first iteration of the plan was approved in 2010, and has since been updated in 2016, 2019, 2020, and 2021. To view the most recent updates to the Hazard Mitigation Plan click the left link below.
To view the most recent Hazard Mitigation Plan click here.
To view annual status reports of the Hazard Mitigation Plan click here.
Bristol Community Resilience Building Workshop
The need for municipalities to increase resilience and adapt to extreme weather events and a changing climate is strikingly evident amongst the communities of the State of Rhode Island.
In the Spring of 2020, the Town of Bristol embarked on certification within the newly established State of Rhode Island Municipal Resilience Program (MRP). In July 2020, the Town of Bristol organized a Community Resilience Building Workshop lead by Nature Conservancy (TNC) in partnership with the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (RIIB).
The workshop’s central objectives were to:
- Define top local natural and climate-related hazards of concern;
- Identify existing and future strengths and vulnerabilities;
- Identify and prioritize actions for the Town of Bristol;
- Identify opportunities to collaboratively advance actions to increase resilience.
To view the final report of the workshop’s findings, click here.
Stormwater Management Plan
The Stormwater Phase II Final Rule is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) effort to preserve, protect, and improve the Nation’s water resources from polluted stormwater runoff. Common stormwater pollutants include pesticides, fertilizers, oils, salt, litter and other debris, and sediment. Another concern is the possible illicit connections of sanitary sewers.
Because Bristol is located within an urban boundary, the town is obligated to meet the Phase II Stormwater requirements. However, the town has previously dealt with many stormwater regulations and issues as part of the Narragansett Bay Initiative to make the bay swimmable and fishable. Bristol’s Phase II efforts described herein are intended to meet the requirements of the regulations and supplement previous efforts regarding storm water.
To view the updated Stormwater Management Plan, click here.
Historical Storm Damage Photographs
The photographs in this gallery highlight the storm damage and extreme flooding that hit Bristol due to the 1938 Hurricane Tidal Wave. Additionally, there are a few photos highlighting damage caused by the 1869 Hurricane. These photos not only serve as a means to remember Bristol’s past hardships and perseverance, but to also serve as an educational tool by showing how important it is for you, your home, and the Town to be prepared for future storm damage.
Address: 235 High Street, 1st Floor, Bristol, RI 02809
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday | 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Diane m. Williamson, aicp, cfm
Director of Community Development
Phone: (401) 253-7000 ext. 126