Flood Risk Management

HOUSTON - Supervisory Natural Resources Manager Richard Long (right), Houston Project Office for the USACE Galveston District, speaks with a Harris County officer during a flood event in Houston.    

GIS: A flood risk communications tool (video) 

The Corps of Engineers may provide emergency assistance for flood response and post flood response activities to save lives and protect improved property (public facilities/services) during or following a flood or coastal storm. Assistance to individual homeowners and businesses is not permitted. This includes agricultural lands. Emergency Operations assistance will be undertaken to supplement state and local efforts. Non-federal interests must commit all available resources. This includes manpower, supplies, equipment, funds, etc. Flood fighting measures are applicable to any flood control structures or other areas that provide public service, regardless of whether it is Federal, public or private. The Corps has no authority under Public Law 84-99 to reimburse local communities for costs of their own emergency activities.

Advance Measures
Advance measures prior to predicted flooding consist of those activities performed to protect against loss of life and damage to improved property from flooding. There must be an imminent threat of flooding present before advance measures can be considered. The threat must be of a nature that if action is not taken immediately, damages will be incurred.

Type of Assistance Provided by the Corps

*Strengthening of federal and non-federal flood control structures.
*Construction of temporary levees to protect life and improved property.
*Channel clearance and dredging of federal projects to restore original design capacity.
*Relieving threat of flooding from possible dam failures by dewatering the impoundment, controlled breaching or strengthening of the structure.

Criteria for Corps of Engineers Assistance
*An imminent threat of unusual flooding must exist. The threat must be established by National Weather Service forecasts or by Corps determinations of unusual flooding from adverse conditions.
*A written request from the governor for Corps assistance is required. Request must be technically feasible and economically justified.
*Advance measures assistance will be in support of state and local on-going or planned efforts. Non-federal interests must commit all available resources (manpower, supplies, equipment, funds, etc.)

Duration of Assistance
Corps assistance terminates when the emergency is over (flood waters have receded within top bank or some other predetermined stage).

Type of Assistance

Assist in search and rescue operations.

Offer technical advice and assistance.

Provide emergency repairs to levees and other flood control projects.

Furnish materials such as sandbags, polyethylene sheeting, lumber, pumps, or rock for stabilization when the Corps is actively participating in a flood fight.

·If the Corps is not actively participating in a flood fight, government supplies may be furnished only if local resources are exhausted or will be exhausted. Under such circumstances, supplies will be replaced in kind or paid for by local interests. All unused stock should be returned or reimbursed by local interests to the government at replacement cost.

Post Flood Resonse

Authority to perform post flood activities immediately after a major flood or coastal storm is provided by Public Law 84-99, as amended. Corps assistance must be required immediately in response to life-threatening or property-damaging situations.

Type of Assistance Provided
Furnish technical advice and assistance.
*Clearance of drainage channels, bridge openings, or structures blocked by debris deposited during the event.
*Clearance of blockages of critical water supply intakes and sewer outfalls.
*Debris removal necessary to reopen vital transportation routes.
*Temporary restoration of critical public services or facilities.
*Identify hazard mitigation opportunities.

Duration of Assistance
The USACE Galveston District's assistance may only be provided for a maximum of 10 days from the date of receipt of the governor's written request for assistance.