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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce

Programs and Initiatives

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Announcement

This announcement summarizes the proposed framework EDA is considering for implementation of EO 13690 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS).


Executive Order (EO) 11988, Floodplain Management was issued in 1977 and requires all federal agencies to avoid to the extent possible the long and short term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains. When avoiding a floodplain is not possible, agencies are required to minimize potential harm. The floodplain was defined in EO 11988 as the lowland and relatively flat areas adjoining inland and coastal waters including flood prone areas of offshore islands, including at a minimum, that area subject to a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year.

EO 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input was issued in 2015. EO 13690 amended EO 11988 and established the FFRMS. Copies of EO 13690 and the FFRMS can be found at FEMA’s website: https://www.fema.gov/federal-flood-risk-management-standard-ffrms.

EO 13690 amended the definition of floodplain to include the multiple alternative approaches of the FFRMS, which are used to establish the vertical elevation and corresponding horizontal extent of the floodplain. Federal agencies have the flexibility to select from amongst the multiple approaches of the FFRMS to establish the floodplain for a given action. Additionally, EO 13690 amended EO 11988 to set forth a higher level of resilience for critical actions, which are any activity for which even a slight chance of flooding is too great.

EO 13690 also requires Federal agencies to issue or amend existing regulations and procedures to comply with the Order. Accordingly, EDA is revising its floodplain procedures, including selection of an approach of the FFRMS to establish the floodplain for EDA’s non-critical and critical actions.

Proposed EDA Framework for Implementation

As authorized by the Executive Order, EDA is considering selection of the 0.2-percentannual-chance flood elevation (also known as the 500-year flood elevation) to define the floodplain for both critical and non-critical actions. This would allow our applicants to obtain necessary mapping information from FEMA flood maps in areas where such maps are available.

When EDA is engaged in an action with another federal agency, EDA is proposing to coordinate with the other federal agencies early in the planning process to coordinate the application of EO 11988, as amended by EO 13690. For actions evaluated by other federal agencies prior to EDA involvement, EDA will propose flexibility to allow adoption of the other agencies’ findings, when appropriate. Additionally, EDA may use the Unified Federal Review to coordinate the application of EO 11988, as amended by EO 13690, with other federal agencies on Disaster Recovery Projects.

We encourage and welcome questions and comments on any or all aspects of this proposed implementation framework for EO 13690 and the FFRMS. Please submit your questions/comments by March 22, 2016 to kdyche@eda.gov using “FFRMS comments” as the subject line.

Public comments received will continue to inform the regulatory and policy development process.