Floodplain Management Executive Orders

Executive Orders

FEMA’s Floodplain Management follows directives set by the Executive Office.

Executive Order 11988: Floodplain Management

Executive Order 11988 requires federal agencies to avoid to the extent possible the long and short-term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of flood plains and to avoid direct and indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practicable alternative.


 

Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands, 1977

Executive Order 11990 aims to “minimize the destruction, loss or degradation of wetlands and to preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands.”  To meet these objectives, the Order requires federal agencies, in planning their actions, to consider alternatives to wetland sites and limit potential damage if an activity affecting a wetland cannot be avoided.

 


Executive Order 11990: Protection of Wetlands, 1977

The purpose of this EO is to “minimize the destruction, loss or degradation of wetlands and to preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands.” To meet these objectives, the Order requires federal agencies, in planning their actions, to consider alternatives to wetland sites and limit potential damage if an activity affecting a wetland cannot be avoided. The Order applies to:

  • Acquisition, management and disposition of federal lands and facilities construction and improvement projects which are undertaken, financed or assisted by federal agencies;
     
  • Federal activities and programs affecting land use, including but not limited to water and related land resources planning, regulation and licensing activities.

SUMMARY OF REQUIREMENTS

The procedures require the determination of whether or not the proposed project will be in or will affect wetlands. If so, a wetlands assessment must be prepared that describes the alternatives considered. The procedures include a requirement for public review of assessments. The evaluation process follows the same 8 steps as for EO 11988, Floodplain Management.

SUGGESTED INFORMATION TO AID IN PROJECT REVIEW

  • Detailed maps (e.g., US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Wetlands Inventory Maps, etc.) defining wetland boundaries within the project area.
  • Studies and reports (e.g., wetland survey maps and reports, flood elevations and velocities, etc.) documenting the project scope as related to the occupancy and modification of wetlands including direct and indirect effects.
  • Documentation of compliance and consistency with federal, state, tribal, county and local floodplain management programs and plans.
  • Documentation of any Public Notices or public meetings.
  • Documentation of coordination with other agencies (e.g., USACE, National Resource Conservation Services (NRCS), National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), State and Local Floodplain Managers, etc.) including studies and reports and recommendations.

 

National Wetlands Inventory

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency tasked with providing information to the public on the extent and status of the nation’s wetland and deepwater habitats, as well as changes to these habitats over time.

Link to the US Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory

 


Executive Order 12898: Environmental Justice for Low Income & Minority Populations, 1994

On February 11, 1994, President Clinton signed E.O. 12898. This Executive Order directs federal agencies to make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high adverse human health or environmental effects of its activities on minority and low-income populations.

SUMMARY OF REQUIREMENTS

Each Federal agency must make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, economic and social effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations, particularly when such analysis is required by NEPA. The EO emphasizes the importance of NEPA’s public participation process, directing that each Federal agency shall provide opportunities for community input in the NEPA process. Agencies are further directed to identify potential effects and mitigation measures in consultation with affected communities.

The E.O. requires agencies to work to ensure effective public participation and access to information. Thus within its NEPA process and through other appropriate mechanisms, each federal agency should, translate crucial public documents, notices and hearings, relating to human health or the environmental for limited English speaking populations when it is practical and appropriate. 

Learn more at epa.gov.

 


Executive Order 13007: Indian Sacred Sites, 1996

Executive Order 13007 directs federal land managing agencies to accommodate access to, and ceremonial use of, Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and to avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites. 

Learn more at federalregister.gov.

 


Executive Order 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS)

The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard is a flood standard that aims to build a more resilient future. As stated in Section 1 of Executive Order 13690, “It is the policy of the United States to improve the resilience of communities and federal assets against the impacts of flooding. These impacts are anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats. Losses caused by flooding affect the environment, our economic prosperity, and public health and safety, each of which affects our national security.”

The FFRMS was established to encourage federal agencies to consider and manage current and future flood risks in order to build a more resilient nation. The standard was revoked but then reinstated through Executive Order 14030, Climate-Related Financial Risk, clarifying that the FFRMS as well as the guidelines for floodplain management under Executive Order. 11988 should remain in effect.

It requires agencies to prepare for and protect federally funded buildings and projects from flood risks. More specifically, it requires agencies to determine specific federal building or project dimensions – that is, how high and how wide and how expansive a building or project should be – in order to manage and mitigate any current or potential flood risks.

The FFRMS gives flexibility and requires agencies to select one of the three approaches for establishing the flood elevation (“how high”) and corresponding flood hazard area (“how wide”) used for project siting, design and construction:

  • Climate Informed Science Approach (CISA): The elevation and flood hazard area that result from using the best-available, actionable hydrologic and hydraulic data and methods that integrate current and future changes in flooding based on climate science;
  • Freeboard Value Approach: The elevation and flood hazard area that result from adding an additional 2 feet to the base flood elevation for non-critical actions and by adding an additional 3 feet to the base flood elevation for critical actions; or
  • 500-year Floodplain: The area subject to flooding by the 0.2% -annual-chance flood. This area is also known as the 500-year floodplain.

Link to Descriptions of All Policies | FEMA.gov

 


 

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