Executive Order 11988- Floodplain Management requires Federal activities to avoid impacts to floodplains and to avoid direct and indirect support of floodplain development to the extent practicable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designates floodplains. The FEMA Map Service Center provides this information in the form of FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
HUD Guidance and Technical Assistance
Proposed project sites should be outside the base (i.e. 100-year or 500-year for critical actions) floodplain whenever Federal assistance is requested for the project. Executive Order 11988s purpose is to avoid to the extent possible the long and short term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains and to avoid direct or indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practicable alternative. When evaluating projects, the review should consider both potential flood hazards on site as well as off site resulting from project construction. To determine the applicability of floodplain management issues to the site, consult the FEMA Map Service Center to determine whether the proposed site lies within either Flood Zone A or Valso referred to as the 100-year floodplain. If these issues are relevant to the project, consult the Environmental Contact in your area to determine how to best mitigate these concerns.
Is the property located within a flood hazard area?
Threshold: Projects located within a floodplain are subject to Executive Order 11988 (Floodplain Management). HUD's implementing regulations at 24 CFR Part 55--Floodplain Management, prescribe measures for protecting floodplains. For proposed financial assistance for such activities, including substantial improvement (see definition below) of existing single-family properties within a floodplain, HUD will require 30 to 60 days in most cases to perform the required processing and notices.
Assisted property acquisition, repair, rehabilitation, conversion, new construction and project-based leasing located within a floodplain are subject to HUD's decision-making process under E.O. 11988. The decision-making process does not apply to existing single-family properties proposed for lease or acquisition involving either non-substantial improvement or no improvement as long as the existing property is not located within a floodway or coastal high hazard area. Under these executive orders, HUD must avoid financial support for covered activities, unless it can demonstrate that there are no practicable alternatives outside the floodplain or wetlands. Where flood-free sites are available within the community or housing market area, these are considered practicable.
Definition: Substantial improvement for flood hazard purposes is defined in 24 CFR 55.2(b)(8).
Documentation: Grantees are to select A_ or B_ for the condition that best describes their project and document the source of the information.
- The grantee provides HUD with a finding that the property is located within the Special Flood Hazard Area. To make a floodplain finding, the grantee would use maps issued by the Map Service Center. The grantee would then complete the 8 Step Decision Making Process under 24 CFR 55.20.
If no practicable alternative is available, the project must be designed and modified to minimize potential adverse impacts to the floodplain. When considering harm caused by direct or indirect floodplain development, relevant factors include (a) the risks to lives and property and (b) the impacts on natural and beneficial values including water, living, cultural, agricultural, aquacultural, and forestry resources. Impact minimization includes floodproofing, elevating structures, evacuation plans, and other disaster mitigation measures. Additionally, minimization techniques include site drainage strategies such as the use of natural landscape enhancements that maintain or restore natural hydrology through infiltration, permeable surfaces, bioswales, rain gardens, evapotranspiration, stormwater capture and reuse, restrictive covenants on sensitive areas, and NRCS conservation easements among others.
- The grantee provides HUD with a letter of finding that the property is not located within the Special Flood Hazard Area. These findings should cite the map panel number of the official maps issued by FEMA on the basis of which the findings were made.