Flood Plain Management Services

Published Jan. 16, 2024
Updated: Feb. 8, 2024

Under the authority provided by Section 206 of the 1960 Flood Control Act (PL 86-645), as amended, the Corps of Engineers can provide the full range of technical services and planning guidance that is needed to support effective flood plain management.  General technical assistance efforts under this program includes determining:  site-specific data on obstructions to flood flows, flood formation, and timing; flood depths, stages or floodwater velocities; the extent, duration, and frequency of flooding; information on natural and cultural flood plain resources; and flood loss potentials before and after the use of flood plain management measures.  Types of studies have been conducted under the FPMS program include:  flood plain delineation/hazard, dam failure analyses, hurricane evacuation, flood warning, floodway, flood damage reduction, stormwater management, flood proofing, and inventories of flood prone structures.

Cost Sharing Requirements.  Efforts under this program are generally conducted at 100 percent Federal expense, except in those instances where the requestor is another Federal agency or a private party.  In those cases the work is conducted on a 100 percent cost recovery basis.

Study Process.  The process for FPMS assistance begins after a state, regional, local government, or Native American Indian tribe requests Corps of Engineers assistance under the program.  When funding is available, the Corps of Engineers will work with the requesting organization to develop a scope of work and assemble the appropriate study team for the effort being requested.  At their option, the requesting organization may provide voluntary contributions toward the requested services to expand the scope or accelerate the provision of those services.  All requestors are requested to furnish available field survey data, maps, historical flood information, etc., to help reduce the cost of services.

Study Cost Final Design/Construction Costs

FPMS assistance is 100 percent federally funded. Other Federal agencies and private parties must pay 100 percent of the costs of all FPMS efforts.

The program does not give the Corps the authority to complete detailed final designs or construction activities.


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.

Quick Response
The Huntington District provides a toll free number (1-866-401-3980) and an email address ( in support of “Quick Response”. This consists of information related to flood risk management , the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and general floodplain management concerns.

 “Quick Response” includes providing general information from on-hand data and publications, brief explanations and/or advice on flood plain management (FPM) measures, and NFIP standards. Some requests require a minimal fee based on time and work level for compiling information.

Types of requests include:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Zone Determinations - Flood zone determination letters are provided based on the most current FEMA Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM). Also, Q and A support for the NFIP program in addition to local programs and contacts.

Base Flood Elevation (BFE) requests - There are three major types of BFE’s – published in a Flood Insurance Study (FIS), unpublished from an engineering study, or calculated using FEMA approved methods. DFIRMs have two major zone types associated with the 1% annual chance flood – zones with a BFE and zones without a BFE. For areas that have been incorrectly mapped, a homeowner can submit a Letter of Map Amendment that requires a BFE and an elevation certificate.  Zone A BFE’s calculations are unique to the Huntington District and follow a unique pay schedule with a base price of $175 (call for additional information). The BFE process is based on open-source data and programs recognized by FEMA. Requests for training GIS personnel in the process is encouraged.

Federal Property Rental Letters - Numerous government agencies rent buildings and private properties from local individuals. These agencies require documentation of how the property is affected by the SFHA as published by FEMA and accepted by the local government.

FEMA Grant Impact Determinations - FEMA and other government agencies provide mitigation to assist with Pre-Disaster Mitigation, Flood Mitigation Assistance, Repetitive Flood Claims, and Severe Repetitive Loss associated with natural hazards. FEMA requires that sub applicants, usually local government agencies, coordinate with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regarding potential future use of mitigated properties and how they affect current Corps projects and future flood risk reduction plans.

Copies of maps and publications related to the floodplain - Flood plain management is a constant process that places an emphasis on technical information in the form of reports, charts, and maps. FEMA’s philosophy associated with flood plain management is to use the best available data when making flood plain management decisions. In addition, all federal agencies are required to provide leadership and take action to reduce the risk of flood loss including providing existing maps and publications.

Miscellaneous Floodplain Information Requests - USACE is the Nation’s Engineers and provides technical assistance to all federal agencies, state partners, and local communities in a team effort to reduce flood risk.

Service Requests - Much of the information is provided at no cost, but in some cases where additional work is required taking a day or less, a predetermined fee schedule is used to invoice the customer. If this is required, you will be notified before being invoiced. An example of these charges is listed below:


Description of Work



Basic information from readily available data that does not require technical evaluation or documentation and is transmitted by form letter.



Information from readily available data that requires minimal technical evaluation which is transmitted by form letter.



Information that requires some file search, brief technical evaluation, and documentation of results by a form letter or by a brief composed letter.



Information and assistance that requires moderate file search, brief technical evaluation, and documentation of results in a composed letter.



Information and assistance that require significant file search or retrieval of archived data, moderate technical evaluation, and documentation of results in a brief letter report.



In addition, state and local government agencies and their representatives are provided this same level of service free of charge.

Letter Requests
For work that may take longer than a day a "Letter Request" can be negotiated for recovering the cost of responses taking more than a day and generally up to one week. This will involve providing a description of work and a time and cost estimate to the customer who, in turn, will be required to send in a letter requesting the work and providing payment in full before the work is started.

Signed Agreements
For work that may take longer than a week "Signed Agreements” can be negotiated for recovering the cost of responses taking more than a week but can also be used for work taking more than a day. The agreements will be in the form of a "Letter of Agreement" with a private person and either an "Interagency Agreement" or "Memorandum of Agreement" with a federal agency. They will involve negotiating the time and cost estimate and developing a statement describing the work to be done, setting a completion date, and stipulating how payment will be made (either in advance or by reimbursement).

Technical Services and Planning Guidance
Flooding issues that are larger in scale may warrant FPMS General Technical Services or General Planning Guidance. These are fully federally funded and typically selected for funding on an annual cycle, but more urgent studies may be funded as needed. These do not lead to implementation by USACE, so the requestor should have a potential funding source(s) in mind to implement option(s) presented in the study.

a. General Technical ServicesThe 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.

b. 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
  • Hurricane Evacuation Studies
  • Flood Warning/Preparedness Studies
  • Regulatory Floodway Studies
  • Comprehensive Flood Plain Management Studies
  •  Flood Risk Management Studies
  • Urbanization Impact Studies
  • Stormwater Management Studies
  • Floodproofing Studies
  • Inventory of Flood Prone Structures
  • Evaluation of Levees for Potential FEMA Certification

Silver Jackets
Silver Jackets is a state-led effort through which Interagency Nonstructural (IANS) projects are generated. IANS are efforts that include USACE, at least two non-federal entities, plus any other interested federal, state, regional, or local agencies. Each of the participants in an IANS project provides its own funding as the participants work together to develop a joint project.

Planning Assistance to States
Planning Assistance to States (PAS) can be utilized to deal with not only flooding issues, but for other issues related to water resources. Section 22 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1974, as amended, provides authority for the Corps to assist States, local governments, Native American Tribes, and other non-Federal entities in the preparation of comprehensive plans for the development and conservation of water and related land resources. These studies are cost-shared 50/50, with 50% provided by USACE and 50% provided by a non-federal partner. Typical studies are only undertaken at the 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 local planning decisions.

Typical PAS Studies
The program can encompass many types of studies dealing with water resources issues, including but not limited to the following:

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

Contact Information
Please call: 1-866-401-3980 or email: for more information.