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Flood Risk Management Program

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS)

Executive Order (EO) 13690, which established the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, was revoked by Section 6 of EO 13807, Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure. EO 13807 did not revoke or otherwise alter EO 11988. As such, USACE will continue to implement EO 11988 according to USACE Engineering Regulation (ER) 1165-2-26. This existing USACE guidance for EO 11988 applies to planning, design, and construction of Civil Works projects, operations and maintenance activities, and real estate program activities. There will be no further development or any implementation of the draft Engineer Circular which had been prepared to implement EO 13690 and that was shared for public comment in December 2016.

The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) was issued January 2015 to encourage federal agencies to consider current and future risk when taxpayer dollars are used to build or rebuild near floodplains. To learn more about the FFRMS and how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intended to implement the new requirements, explore the sections below.

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On January 30, 2015, the President issued Executive Order (EO) 13690 (pdf, 1.0 MB): Establishing of a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input (subsequently revoked). The EO amended existing EO 11988: Floodplain Management, originally issued in 1977, to include a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). EO 11988 governs federal actions in floodplains and includes an eight-step decision making process aimed to encourage wise floodplain management decisions. Once implemented, the FFRMS was to assist in reducing the risk and cost of future flood disasters by ensuring that Federal investments in and affecting floodplains are constructed to better withstand the impacts of flooding.

EO 13690 also encouraged agencies to consider natural systems, ecosystem processes, and nature-based approaches when development alternatives are considered. This is consistent with recommendations and findings in the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS). Both the NACCS and the FFRMS aimed to reduce risk and increase resilience of communities’ abilities to withstand and rapidly recover from storm damages in addition to encouraging the use of natural systems, ecosystem processes, and nature-based approaches.

In October 2015, the Water Resources Council approved revised guidelines for implementing EO 11988 as amended by EO 13690 (subsequently revoked). These guidelines are advisory and were informed by public dialogue and comment aggregated through FEMA-hosted stakeholder sessions.

Further information is available by contacting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers points of contact.

During the public comment period, questions were frequently asked regarding the intended scope of the President's FFRMS and the anticipated impacts to the USACE Regulatory Program. The Applicability of Floodplain Management and FFRMS Executive Orders to USACE Permitting Authorities was developed to provide clarifications in this regard.

The comment period on the draft Engineering Circular (EC) for implementing EO 11988 (now revoked) closed on May 1, 2017.  Approximately 250 comments were received, which were reviewed for the purpose of considering revisions to the draft EC prior to finalizing and implementing the document.

USACE extended the deadline for public comments on the draft EC for implementing EO 11988 from 30 January 2017 to 1 May 2017.  This extension was offered in response to several requests as well as in recognition of the difficulty in compiling comments over the holiday season, the level of complexity and uncertainty around some of the changes in process being considered, and uncertainty due to the recent change in Administration.

USACE sought feedback from partners, other government and non-government stakeholders, Tribes, and members of the general public on the proposed draft guidance that has been developed.  A notice was placed in the Federal Register to announce the availability of the draft Engineer Circular (EC).  A fact sheet was also released to provide additional information and details.

USACE requested assistance in the form of data, comments, literature references, or field experiences, to help clarify the policy requirements for implementing EO 11988 and EO 13690 for agency activities. A draft EC was made available for review. An Executive Summary of the draft EC was also made available on the website to provide a high-level overview of the document and summary of the more substantial changes since the original 1984 ER.  Additionally, a list of topics and issues for which feedback was thought to have been especially helpful was posted for reviewers' consideration.  While USACE welcomed any and all feedback on the draft EC, feedback responding to the list of identified topics and issues was particularly helpful to USACE in clarifying areas requiring new policy or practice.  The most useful comments were from specific experiences and case examples.  Commenters were encouraged to use their knowledge of working with USACE on various types of federal actions as well as their understanding of EO 11988 and EO 13690.  When comments were made on specific sections of the document, USACE requested that commenters identify the relevant page and line numbers to which the comment applied.

All comments, literature citations, experiential references, data, other relevant reports, and input in response to the guiding topics and issues were accepted through email, or through the postal service.  All comments submitted by May 1, 2017 were compiled and sent to the PDT for their consideration. Comments were able to be addressed to:

Email:
USACE-EO11988@usace.army.mil
Include "Implementation Comments" in the subject line of the message

Mail:
HQ, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
ATTN: EO13690/CECW-HS/3G68
441 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000

Given the many questions and concerns that have been raised since the issuance of EO 13690 regarding the Climate-informed Science Approach, USACE provided the following additional guidance to assist reviewers in understanding its current climate-informed analysis approaches.

  • ECB 2016-25 – Guidance for Incorporating Climate Change Impacts to Inland Hydrology in Civil Works Studies, Designs, and Projects
  • ETL 1100-2-1 – Procedures to Evaluate Sea Level Change: Impacts, Responses, and Adaptation
  • ER 1100-2-8162 – Incorporating Sea Level Change in Civil Works Programs
  • Sea Level Change Curve Calculator
  • Additional tools for evaluating and considering climate change in both riverine and coastal environments were available at the Climate Preparedness and Resilience COP Applications Portal

 

More Information

Guidelines for Implementing Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management, and Executive Order 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input  

Applicability of Floodplain Management and FFRMS Executive Orders to USACE Permitting Authorities 

The Applicability of Executive Order 13690/11988 to the National Flood Insurance Programs 

Flood Risk Management Program