Institute for Water Resources

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Value to the Nation

Flood Risk: Preparing

Floods can't always be prevented so a key part of the Corps efforts focuses on helping communities prepare in case a flood does occur. The Corps 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 Corps activities geared towards preparing individuals and communities for potential floods include:

  • Structures - The Corps is responsible for managing over 690 dams, building over 11,000 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 non-structural projects to reduce susceptibility to flood damages.
  • Advance Measures - When it appears that a flood is imminent in a specific area, the Corps 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 – The Corps 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, the Corps has completed 3,000 studies for FEMA, mapping the flood potential of various areas of the country. The Corps 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 Corps' annual Civil Works budget authority.