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Value to the Nation


Flood Risk Mgmt: Preparing

Floods can't always be prevented so a key part of USACE efforts focuses on helping communities prepare in case a flood does occur. USACE helps put in place measures designed to reduce risks from flood hazards to people and their homes and businesses. We also provide people who live and work in floodplains with the information they need to know about flood hazards and the actions that they can take to reduce property damage and to prevent the loss of life caused by flooding.

Specific USACE activities geared towards preparing individuals and communities for potential floods include:

  • Structures - USACE is responsible for managing more than 700 dams and 4,100 miles of levees, which help reduce the risk of flood damage. Additionally, USACE has built hundreds of smaller local flood risk reduction projects that have been turned over to non-Federal authorities for operation and maintenance, and has implemented various nonstructural projects to reduce susceptibility to flood damages.
  • Advance Measures - When it appears that a flood is imminent in a specific area, USACE can take a number of immediate steps to protect life and property, such as constructing temporary flow restriction structures and removing log debris blockages.
  • Floodplain Management Services (FPMS) Program – USACE provides information, technical assistance and planning guidance (paid for by the Federal Government) to states and local communities to help them address floodplain management issues. Typical focus areas are wetland assessment, dam safety/failure, flood damage reduction, floodplain management, and coastal zone management and protection.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Mapping - USACE has also completed thousands of studies for FEMA, mapping the flood potential of various areas of the country. USACE has been instrumental in training private firms to carry out similar studies. These measures are designed to reduce risks from flood hazards to people and their homes and businesses.

Fast Facts

Flood Risk Management Graphics

The USACE Flood Risk Management Program works across the agency to focus the policies, programs and expertise of USACE toward reducing overall flood risk. This includes the appropriate use and resiliency of structures such as levees and floodwalls, as well as promoting alternatives when other approaches (e.g. land acquisition, flood proofing, etc.) reduce the risk of loss of life, reduce longer-term economic damages to the public and private sector, and improve the natural environment.