Flood Risk Management

Flood Risk Management (FRM) is one of USACE Civil Work’s three core missions, alongside support for commercial navigation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems. USACE’s FRM activities seek to reduce the threat to life and property from riverine and coastal storm flooding through the development and communication of advanced knowledge, technology and solutions.

USACE FRM activities are rooted in partnering with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies, as well as the private sector and other stakeholders. FRM is a shared responsibility, and USACE works with partners to design, construct, operate, and maintain projects that manage flood risk across the nation. 

Although efforts of federal agencies, state and local governments, and tribal nations have reduced flood risk, flooding still accounts for 90% of all-natural disaster damage. To reduce flood risk, the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division operates and maintains 84 dams and reservoirs to protect communities in the region. When a storm hits, multi-purpose flood-control reservoirs built and maintained by the Corps of Engineers retain excess water upstream of the dam. Controlled releases of this excess water helps prevent or reduce downstream flooding. The majority of our dams are within the flood-prone Ohio River basin. The Division also has 539 miles of levees and over 100 local flood protection projects, which include walls, levees and channel improvements. These projects have saved lives, homes, businesses and prevented over $39 billion in damages since 2012.

What is flood risk?

Flood risk is a combination of the likelihood of a natural or man-made flood hazard happening and the consequences or impact if it occurred. Flood risk is dependent on a source of flooding (such as a river), a route for the flood water to take, and damages caused by the flood (such as damage to homes and businesses).  Managing flood risk starts with understanding the chance that certain hazards could occur and then identifying the corresponding magnitude of the potential outcome. If any flood risk management structures exist, such as a dam or levee, the performance of those structures also needs to be considered when determining flood risk. Although FRM structures provide some level of protection, they do not eliminate flood risks. Flooding can still occur in surrounding communities and watersheds “even with flood risk management measures (structural and non-structural) in place.”

Find a FRM Project (by District)