District Flood Plain Management Services Program

Most people know that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers builds water resource projects, like dams and levees.  Not so well known; however, is that the Corps also provides assistance to help states, eligible Native American Tribes, and local governments prepare their own plans and initiate their own actions to manage water and related land resources. 

Flood Plain Management Services (FPMS) Program:
The Corps has been developing flood plain information on streams since the mid-1960s under the authority of Section 206 of the Flood Control Act of 1960.  We have been a technical expert for FEMA since the inception of the NFIP and have performed the engineering studies required to create many of the flood maps that are in use, today. Each fiscal year, the Portland District receives limited funds in the FPMS Program to support comprehensive flood plain management planning, with technical services and planning guidance at all appropriate government levels.

The goal of the FPMS Program is to foster public understanding for dealing with flood hazards and to promote prudent use and management of the nation's floodplains. People who live and work in the floodplains need to know about the flood hazards and the actions they can take to reduce property damage and to prevent the loss of life caused by flooding. 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 floodplains. These adjustments are the key to sound floodplain management.

Types of assistance

Upon approved requests, the FPMS Program provides a full-range of technical services and planning guidance on floods and flood plain issues within the broad umbrella of flood plain management. With the exception of requests from the private sector, and other federal agencies, the Corps funds these services .

  1. General Technical Services: the Corps obtains or develops and interprets data about the flood plain, including topics such as the timing of and area inundated by various flood stages, water velocities, the width of the floodway and the natural values of flood plains.
  2. Planning Assistance: the Corps provides planning assistance and guidance for development of flood plain regulations, flood warning and preparedness procedures, flood-proofing measures, and permanent evacuation and relocation procedures.
  3. Guides, Pamphlets and Supporting Studies: the Corps conducts studies to improve methods and procedures for flood damage prevention and abatement. We use our findings to develop guidance for flood-proofing, flood plain occupants, and regulations. The Corps then publishes these guidelines in pamphlets designed for federal agencies, state and local governments and private citizens to help in planning for action to reduce flood damage.

Funding and planning

Upon an approved request, the Corps provides program services to state, regional and local governments, Indian tribes, and other non-federal public agencies without charge.

The Corps also offers program services to non-water resource federal agencies and to the private sector on an 100-percent cost-recovery basis. For most of these requests, we require payment before we provide services. The Corps uses a schedule of charges to recover the cost of services taking up to one day to provide. Additionally, the Corps uses letter requests or signed agreements to charge for those that take longer.

We encourage all entities that make requests to furnish available field survey data, maps of historical flood information and the like, to help reduce the cost of services.

Planning Assistance to States (PAS):
Other water issues can also be a challenge for states and Native American Tribes located near lakes, rivers, or oceans. The Corps helps tackle these needs through the Planning Assistance to States (PAS) Program. 

Individual states and tribes determine the needed planning assistance. Every year, the Corps requests funding to accommodate as many studies as possible within the national funding allotment. Typical studies are only planning level of detail; they do not include detailed design for projects 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, tribal or local planning decisions.

Typical Studies:
The PAS program can encompass many types of water resource-related studies. Types of studies conducted in recent years include:

  • Water supply and demand studies
  • Water conservation studies
  • Water quality studies
  • Environmental conservation/restoration studies
  • Wetland evaluation studies
  • Flood damage reduction studies
  • Floodplain management studies
  • Coastal zone Management studies.

Congress funds the PAS Program. These studies are cost-shared on a 50% federal-50% non-federal basis. The study sponsor has the option of providing in-kind services for up to one half of its share of the study cost.