US Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources

Flood Risk Management Program

Redirecting...

Corps flood risk management studies and projects are managed by 38 Corps Districts.

Flood risk management projects help prevent or reduce flood risk by using either structural or non-structural means or a combination of the two.

Structural Measures: Structural measures are physical modifications designed to reduce the frequency of damaging levels of flood inundation. Structural flood risk management measures include dams and reservoirs, channel modifications, levees or floodwalls.

Non-Structural Measures: Non-structural measures reduce flood damages without significantly altering the nature or extent of the flooding by changing the use of floodplains or by accommodating existing uses to the flood hazard. Non-structural measures include modifying homes, businesses, and other facilities to reduce flood damages by elevating the structure or removing them from the floodplain. Remaining land can be used for ecosystem restoration, outdoor recreation, or natural open space. Flood warning systems are also considered non-structural measures.

With specific congressional authorization, the Corps of Engineers can evaluate flood problems and solutions and recommend to Congress whether or not a flood risk reduction project should be authorized. This approach is generally used for larger structural projects. While these studies and projects may include recommendations for nonstructural measures to complement and increase the benefits of structural flood risk reduction projects, the responsibility for implementing nonstructural measures usually lies with the community.

The Corps Continuing Authorities program (CAP) allows the Corps of Engineers to plan, design, and construct smaller projects without specific authorization from Congress. The potential non-Federal sponsor must request the Corps of Engineers to investigate potential flood risk management issues that might fit the program under three authorities:

  • Section 14 - Emergency Streambank and Shoreline Protection. Authorized by Section 14 of the Flood Control Act of 1946, as amended.
  • Section 205 - Small Flood Risk Management Projects. Authorized by Section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948, as amended.
  • Section 208 - Clearing and Snagging of Waterways. Authorized by Section 208 of the Flood Control Act of 1954, as amended.

The federal grants portal, www.grants.gov, centralizes more than 1,000 different grant programs across all 26 federal grant-making agencies, awarding more than $500 billion annually.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

With the exception of limited research funding via the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), the Corps does not administer grant programs for flood risk management. With specific congressional authorization, the Corps of Engineers can evaluate flood problems and solutions and recommend to Congress whether or not a flood risk reduction project should be authorized. This approach is generally used for larger projects.

In addition, the Corps Continuing Authorities program allows the Corps of Engineers to plan, design, and construct smaller projects without specific authorization from Congress. The potential non-Federal sponsor must request the Corps of Engineers to investigate potential flood risk management issues that might fit the program. Once the Corps of Engineers determines that the project fits the program, the District will request funds to initiate a reconnaissance effort to determine potential Federal interest in proceeding to a feasibility study. There are three authorities available for this program:

  • Section 14 — Emergency Streambank and Shoreline Protection. Authorized by Section 14 of the Flood Control Act of 1946, as amended.
  • Section 205 — Small Flood Risk Management Projects. Authorized by Section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948, as amended.
  • Section 208 — Clearing and Snagging of Waterways. Authorized by Section 208 of the Flood Control Act of 1954, as amended.

Flood risk management studies and projects, including the Continuing Authorities Program, are managed by the 39 Corps Districts.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has several grant programs related to flood risk management.

The five Hazard Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Programs provide funding for eligible mitigation activities that reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. Currently, FEMA administers the following HMA grant programs:

  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) — HMGP assists in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following Presidential disaster declarations. Funding is available to implement projects in accordance with state, tribal, and local priorities.
  • Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) — PDM provides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster. The goal of the PDM program is to reduce overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time, also reducing reliance on Federal funding from actual disaster declarations.
  • Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) — FMA provides funds on an annual basis so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  FMA is also available for management costs.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

The Natural Resources Conservation Service Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program focuses on projects that are directly related to agriculture, including rural communities, that are at least 20 percent of the total benefits of the project.