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 themselves 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 over 700 dams, building over 14,000 miles of levees and dikes, developing about 90 major shoreline protection projects along 240 miles of the nation's 2,700 miles of shoreline, building hundreds of smaller local flood risk reduction projects that have been turned over to non-Federal authorities for operation and maintenance, and implementing several 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 - Over the past 30 years, USACE has completed 3,000 studies for FEMA, mapping the flood potential of various areas of the country. USACE also 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. Funding for flood and coastal storm damage reduction activities represents approximately 34% of the USACE annual Civil Works budget authority.