Floodplain Information

Up to date tidal information and tide prediction model from Stevens  Institute.

Stevens Institute http://hudson.dl.stevens-tech.edu/sfas/d/index.shtml?station=U233
Bayview Drive in Strathmere floods between elevation 3.2′-3.5′

USGS Tide Gauge at Ludlam Thorofare  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=01411350
USGS Tide Gauge at Great Egg Harbor Bay http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=01411320

Resilience Planning

Upper Township participated with the NJ Resilient Coastal Communities Initiative and worked with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve to access the Township utilizing the “Getting to Resilience A Community Planning Evaluation Tool” and they prepared The “Upper Township Getting to Resilience Recommendations Report” which can be found at http://www.prepareyourcommunitynj.org/case-studies/ .    The Nature Conservancy has also prepared a report for Upper Township to assist us in restoring our backbay coastlines.  It can be found here!

Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) Update – Updates 7/25/16

FEMA have released the Preliminary FIRMS on June 30, 2014 and is now accepting requests for appeals of the line from both Municipalities and property owners. This release of the FIRMS has not changed the flood zones from the previous release of the Preliminary FIRMS. You can review the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) which is the basis for the Preliminary FIRMS. The existing FIRMS will remain in effect for flood insurance purposes until the new maps are approved, tentatively in Spring 2015. The Preliminary FIRMS will be used for new construction or substantial improvements.
FEMA has prepared a fact sheet regarding the FIS and FIRMS. Additionally FEMA’s website http://www.region2coastal.com has an abundant amount of information helping residents Knowing your Risk, Knowing your Role and how to Take Action.

The Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) can be found here!

How to find my Flood Zone?

You can contact the Paul Dietrich at 628-2011 ext. 244 or FEMA has a website that you can look up your flood zone using your address. http://www.region2coastal.com/sandy/table

Local Flood Hazard

Flooding can be a health and safety hazard in portions of Upper Township. Flooding in our Township is caused by three sources: tidal flooding, tidal flooding influenced by a coastal storm floodwaters from stormwater runoff. Tidal flooding routinely occurs in routinely in the Strathmere both during severe coastal storms and rain events coinciding with full moon tide cycles. Floodwaters usually may be 1-2 of water along Bayview Drive and can exceed five feet above the normal high tide. Occasional tidal flooding can occur along the Cedar Swamp Creek and Tuckahoe River. Floodwaters on the mainland may occur after a rainfall of either long duration or high intensity, which may result in flooded streets and yards.

There is usually sufficient warning of coastal flooding to allow property owners to move personal items and vehicles to higher ground. During 2009 the Township received higher than normal rainfall during the year which raised the groundwater elevation which caused localized overtopping of stormwater infiltration basins, especially in Seaville on Peach Orchard Road, Laurel Ridge Road and Winchester Court. The Nor’easter storm in November 2009 caused flooding throughout the Township; most roads in Strathmere and heading into Strathmere were impassable with more than four feet of water; Tuckahoe Road, Butter Road and Tyler Road were flooded with 1-2 feet of water from the Cedar Swamp Creek.

Your property may be high enough that it was not flooded recently. However, it can still be flooded in the future because the next flood could be worse. If you are in the floodplain, the odds are that someday your property will be damaged.

Flood Safety

  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk through standing water, use a pole or sick to ensure that the ground around you is solid. After a flood, look before you step, the ground and floors are covered with debris. In addition, mud can be very slippery.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers, the road or bridge may be washed out.
  • Stay away from power and electrical lines. The number two killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the New Jersey State Police at 609-861-5300 or 911.
  • Have your electricity turned off by the Power Company. Some appliances such as TVs’ keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Do not use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned and dried.
  • Look out for animals, such as snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in your home. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over to scare away small animals.
  • Be alert for gas leaks. Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off in your house and the area has been ventilated.
  • Inspect your property now and evaluate what objects, such as small barbecue propane gas tanks & trash cans. Patio furniture may become buoyant and possibly float away. Water or wind could propel a picnic table through a neighbor’s window.
  • When notified to evacuate, do not hesitate to do so immediately. The Upper Township Office of Emergency Management monitors storm events very closely and only orders the evacuation notice when it is in your best interest to move to higher ground or an evacuation shelter.
  • Look for the brochures in Town Hall that range in topics from hurricane awareness to disaster preparedness. There are additional brochures that offer tips for planning and preparation that can be taken now, in advance of an emergency.
  • If you need help during an evacuation, need transportation or have special needs, you can register with the Upper Township Office of Emergency Management at 609-628-2367. Names and addresses are kept confidential. Don’t wait until a storm event happens if you feel you may need assistance! Help us plan to help you by notifying the Office of Emergency Management today.

Flood Insurance

Your Homeowners Insurance does not cover damage caused by floods. You do not have to be located in a designated flood hazard zone to be eligible to purchase flood insurance.

Only half of the properties located in our special flood hazard zone are protected with flood insurance. The balance of our neighbors will not receive insurance compensation in the case of flood related damage. Flood insurance is required by all lending institutions before providing you with money to purchase, renovate or refinance a home in the flood zone. A limited amount of coverage is available to cover the contents of your home, such as carpeting, appliances and furniture. Please contact our local insurance agents concerning coverage, rates, deductibles and exclusions. Filing a claim does not change your rate since rates are set on a national basis.

Property Protection Measures

There are several ways to protect your home from flood: 1) elevate your structure above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE); 2) make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over your doorways and windows. This technique is known as retrofitting or flood proofing. The Upper Township branch of the Cape County Library in Petersburg and the Schiavo Library in Strathmere has books and literature available on these issues in their reference section.

Any building alterations will require a construction permit from the Upper Township Construction Office.

Grading Permit

Always check with the Zoning or Engineering Department before you build on, alter, regrade, or fill on your property. A permit may be needed to ensure that projects do not cause problems on other properties.

If you see building without a Township permit sign posted, contact the Construction Dept. at 628-2011 ext. 220. or lot clearing & grading, contact the Code Enforcement Officer at 628-2011 ext. 245

Check out the following information on floodproofing, flood insurance and flood safety.

Township Flood Services

Upper Township participated with the NJ Resilient Coastal Communities Initiative and worked with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve to access the Township utilizing the “Getting to Resilience A Community Planning Evaluation Tool” and they prepared The “Upper Township Getting to Resilience Recommendations Report” which can be found at http://www.prepareyourcommunitynj.org/case-studies/

The first thing you should do is check your flood hazard. Flood maps and flood protection references are available at the Cape May County Public Library – Upper Branch. You can also visit the Zoning or Engineering Department at the Municipal Building to see if you are in a mapped floodplain. If so, they can give you more information, such as depth of flood­ing over a building’s first floor and past flood problems in the area and copies of Elevation Certificates on buildings built in the floodplain since 1991. They also have a handout on selecting an architect, engineer, or contractor.

If requested, the Township Engineer will visit a property to review its flood problem and explain ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage. Call the Engineering Department at 628-2011 ext. 244. These services are free. If you are in a floodplain or have had a flood, drainage or sewer backup problem, check out these sources of assistance.

The County’s GIS website can show you which flood zone your property may be in. Go to www.capemaycountyims.net, select link to Maps then Parcels. Click Flood Plain layer to be on and REFRESH the map. You can then zoom into the area you are interested with the zoom tools or use the search feature. Call the Engineering Department at 628-2011 ext. 244 for assistance using this tool.

There are also no-cost measures you can take to prevent a loss from rising flood waters. Consider moving furniture, electronic equipment, or important papers to a higher spot within your house. Tops of cabinets or attic spaces can be used as temporary storage space.


There are several different ways to protect a building from flood damage. One way is to keep the water away by regrading your lot or building a small floodwall or earthen berm. These methods work if your lot is large enough, if flooding is not too deep, and if your property is not in the floodway. The Engineering Department can provide this information.

Another approach is to make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over the doorways. This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if water will get over two feet deep.

A third approach is to raise the house above flood levels. A small wood frame house can be elevated for less than $10,000.

These measures are called floodproofing or retrofitting. More information is available at the Cape May County Library – Upper Branch, the Strathmere Public Library and the Upper Township Municipal Building. Important note: Any alteration to your building or land requires a permit from the Construction Department.

Even regrading or filling in the floodplain requires a permit.

If you know a flood is coming, you should shut off the gas and electricity and move valuable contents upstairs. It is unlikely that you will get much warning, so a detailed checklist prepared in advance would help ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Natural Floodplain Functions

The floodplain or flood hazard area is an area that is inundated by floodwaters of a stream, river or by tidal waters of the Tuckahoe River or the Atlantic Ocean. The natural function of a floodplain is to store the floodwaters or storm tide, on a temporary basis, until the water recedes to its usual stream channels and normal coastal tide elevations.  In river systems, the floodwaters inundate the floodplain area along the defined channel, replenishing soil moisture and depositing fertile silt from the river channel. Along the coastal areas in Upper Township, tidal wetlands provide a temporary reservoir for floodwaters due to storm tides, which are higher than normal tides. The floodplains also protect our community against storm-related erosion by wave action or scour and battering by debris.

Flood Warning System

In case of an emergency, you should listen to the available Emergency Broadcast System. In addition to the Comcast Cable System on TV, Channels 2 or 69 in Strathmere, you can also tune your radio to:

(Radio stations will be updated later)

When a WATCH is issued, conditions are a real possibility and may threaten our community within 36 hours

When a WARNING is issued, the storm event is expected to hit the area within 24 hours.

In the event of an emergency, Police, Fire and First Aid personnel will perform “route” alerting. Alerting will be by mobile public address systems and door-to-door operations. When told to evacuate, do so without hesitation.

Drainage System Maintenance

Upper Townships’ drainage systems consist of natural and man-made watercourses and storage basins that must be maintained in order to prevent flood damage from smaller, more frequent storm events. Drainage systems also are found in streets, roadside ditches, underground recharge systems as well as open channels and detention and retention basins.

The Upper Township Public Works Department inspects our storm water drainage systems on a semi-annual basis. Our maintenance program includes inlet cleaning, pipe cleaning, drainage basin maintenance and street sweeping. To report improper activity such as dumping in our lakes, lagoons and drainage basins, please call the Department of Public Works at 609-628-2647 or our Code Enforcement Officer at 609-693-2011, ext 245.If this occurs after normal business hours, please report the incident immediately to the police at 609-861-5300.

Local Flood Hazard Map

The Flood Insurance Rate Maps & Flood Insurance Study are available for review at the Zoning Office or Engineering Department in our Municipal Building at 2100 Tuckahoe Road in Petersburg.  Then Engineer’s Office can provide you with a written map determination for your property upon request. You may call (609) 628-2100, ext. 244 for your specific request, or if you have any questions.

Elevation Certificates

Elevation Certificates are required on any new construction or a building that requires substantial reconstruction for a structure that is located in the Flood Hazard Area. The Township of Upper maintains copies of Elevation Certificates and is also available online via the link below. You must know the Tax Block and lead Tax Lot for the property you are requesting. A list of the elevation benchmarks that are maintained by the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is available at the (EMAIL) which you can reach at 609-628-2011 ext. 244.

Click to see available online Elevation Certificates

Floodplain Related Sites

Cape May County Flood Insurance Study

Cape May County Flood Insurance Study FACT Sheet

Preliminary Flood Map Address Look-up Tool

FEMA Region II Home Page

Hurricane Tracker

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA Map Center








Flood Barriers







Flood Vents

Mandatory Requirement for Deed Restriction for Garage & Storage areas below Base Flood Elevation

Flood Venting FAQ’s




Department Contact Info: