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Flood Plain Managment Overview

GENERAL OVERVIEW: 

People who live and work in the flood plain need to know about the flood hazard and the actions they can take to reduce property damage and prevent the loss of life caused by flooding. The FPMS Program was developed by the Corps of Engineers specifically to address this need. The program’s authority stems from Section 206 of the 1960 Flood Control Act (PL 86-645), as amended. Its objective is to foster public understanding of the options for dealing with flood hazards and promote prudent use and management of the Nation’s flood plains.

The Corps of Engineers may help resolve water resource problems for, and provide technical assistance to, states, Indian Nations and Tribes, environmental organizations and local governments. The Corps of Engineers also provides assistance to these groups when preparing plans and initiating actions to manage water and related land resource issues themselves. This section includes an overview of the Corps of Engineers programs with special emphasis to those programs which can help address Flood Plain Management issues and concerns.

Included is information on project criteria and project process with explanations about what these programs can do. Instructions are provided to request assistance.

Flood Plain Managment Program

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Other Programs

Cost Share: Federal/Non-Federal

Federal Project Limit

Flood Plain Management Services Program

100% Federal for eligible entities, with exceptions

N/A

Overview:

The Flood Plain Management Services (FPMS) Program was developed by the Corps of Engineers specifically to address the need of people who live and work in the flood plain to know about the flood hazard and the actions that they can take to reduce property damage and to prevent the loss of life caused by flooding.

 

The program's authority stems from Section 206 of the 1960 Flood Control Act (PL 86-645), as amended. Its objective is to foster public understanding of the options for dealing with flood hazards and to promote prudent use and management of the Nation's flood plains.

Land use adjustments based on proper planning and the employment of techniques for controlling and reducing flood damages provide a rational way to balance the advantages and disadvantages of human settlement on flood plains. These adjustments are the key to sound flood plain management.

 

The FPMS Program provides the full range of technical services and planning guidance that is needed to support effective flood plain management.

General Technical Services. The program develops or interprets site-specific data on obstructions to flood flows, flood formation and timing; and the extent, duration, and frequency of flooding. It also provides information on natural and cultural flood plain resources of note, and flood loss potentials before and after the use of flood plain management measures.

General Planning Guidance. On a larger scale, the program provides assistance and guidance in the form of "Special Studies" on all aspects of flood plain management planning including the possible impacts of off-flood plain land use changes on the physical, socio-economic, and environmental conditions of the flood plain. This can range from helping a community identify present or future flood plain areas and related problems, to a broad assessment of which of the various remedial measures may be effectively used.

Some of the most common types of Special Studies include:

  • Flood Plain Delineation/Flood Hazard Evaluation Studies
  • Dam Break Analysis Studies
  • Flood Warning/Preparedness Studies
  • Regulatory Floodway Studies
  • Comprehensive Flood Plain Management Studies
  • Flood Damage Reduction Studies
  • Urbanization Impact Studies
  • Stormwater Management Studies
  • Flood Proofing Studies
  • Inventory of Flood Prone Structures

The program also provides guidance and assistance for meeting standards of the National Flood Insurance Program and for conducting workshops and seminars on non-structural flood plain management measures, such as Flood Proofing.

 

Upon request, program services are provided to State, regional, and local governments, Indian Tribes, and other non-Federal public agencies without charge.

Program services also are offered to non-water resource Federal agencies and to the private sector on a 100% cost recovery basis. For most of these requests, payment is required before services are provided. A schedule of charges is used to recover the cost of services taking up to one day to provide. Letter requests or signed agreements are used to charge for those that take longer.

All requestors are encouraged to furnish available field survey data, maps, historical flood information and the like, to help reduce the cost of services.

Agencies, governments, organizations, and individuals interested in flood-related information or assistance can contact the Flood Plain Manager at 716-879-4407.  A letter request is required for assistance that involves developing new data, making a map, or preparing a report. A sample letter is included below.

 

Sample Letter for Flood Plain Management Services Assistance

US Army Corps of Engineers
Buffalo District FPMS Coordinator
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207

Dear Sir:

This is in reference to your Flood Plain Management Services Program. We understand that Section 206 of the Flood Control Act of 1960, as amended, authorizes the Corps of Engineers to help others mitigate flood losses. The [requesting agency or private entity] requests assistance for [body of water or waterway], located in [City or Township], in [County and State].

[Add brief paragraph describing problem or need].

Property descriptions, [site plans, maps and/or photographs] are enclosed. Upon your review of this initial request, we would like to discuss the availability of information, required schedule, and level of effort required (to negotiate the appropriate charge if applicable.) Please contact [Name, title, phone number] to arrange a further discussion of this request.

Signature of Cooperating Agency or Individual

 

Other Programs

Cost Share: Federal/Non-Federal

Federal Project Limit

Planning Assistance to States (PAS)

50% / 50%

$500,000

Authority and Scope. Section 22 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1974, as amended, provides authority for the Corps of Engineers to assist the States, local governments, and other non-Federal entities in the preparation of comprehensive plans for the development, utilization, and conservation of water and related land. Section 208 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 amended the WRDA of 1974 to include Native American Tribes as equivalent to a State.

Funding. The Planning Assistance to States (PAS) Program is funded annually by Congress. Federal allotments for each State or Tribe from the nation-wide appropriation are limited to $200,000 annually, but typically are much less. Individual studies, of which there may be more than one per State or Tribe per year, generally cost $25,000 to $75,000. These studies are cost shared on a 50 percent federal-50 percent non-federal basis.

Program Development. The needed planning assistance is determined by the individual States and Tribes. Every year, each State and Tribe can provide the Corps of Engineers its request for studies under the program, and the Corps of Engineers then accommodates as many studies as possible within the funding allotment. Typical studies are only planning level of detail; they do not include detailed design for project construction. The studies generally involve the analysis of existing data for planning purposes using standard engineering techniques although some data collection is often necessary. Most studies become the basis for State or Tribal and local planning decisions. To assist in expediting a request for Planning Assistance to States activities, sample letter and Cost Sharing Agreement are included.

Typical Studies. The program can encompass many types of studies dealing with water resources issues. Types of studies conducted in recent years under the program include the following:

  • Water Supply and Demand Studies 
  • Water Quality Studies 
  • Environmental Conservation/Restoration Studies 
  • Wetlands Evaluation Studies 
  • Dam Safety/Failure Studies 
  • Flood Damage Reduction Studies 
  • Flood Plain Management Studies 
  • Coastal Zone Management/Protection Studies
  • Harbor/Port Studies  

How to Request Assistance:

 

State, local government, and Tribal officials who are interested in obtaining planning assistance under this program can contact the appropriate Corps of Engineers office for further details. Alternatively, interested parties can contact the appropriate state or Tribal Planning Assistance to States program manager to request assistance. In either case, the Corps of Engineers will coordinate all requests for assistance with the state or Tribal Planning Assistance to States coordinator to ensure that studies are initiated on state or tribal prioritized needs.

PAS Program Manager: 716-879-4407