Interactive StoryMaps

Learn more about the Addicks and Barker projects and the study process and progress, including a summary of the Interim Report, through these interactive StoryMaps:

Community Action

Harris County Flood Control District 

Houston Office of Emergency Management

National Weather Service: provides weather, water and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property.

Natural Resources Conservation Service: provides assistance for many conservation activities.

U.S. Geological Survey: provides reliable scientific information to minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters.

Federal Emergency Management Agency:  administers the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides access to flood insurance for individuals and businesses.

Learn more at

Environmental Protection Agency: provides tools and guidance for managing stormwater, which a community may incorporate as part of its comprehensive flood risk management approach.

Understanding Flood Risk

What is risk?

Simply put, flood risk is the probability that an area will flood combined with the negative consequences, such as property damage or the loss of life. In more detail, this risk is the combination of several factors: the probability that the amount of runoff will be large enough to cause flooding, the ability to reduce human risks and damage from a flood, and the actual consequences should flooding occur. Reducing any one of these factors can reduce flood risk. Residual flood risk may remain after all efforts to reduce the risk are complete; it is the exposure to the risk and potential loss remaining after other known risks have been countered, factored in or eliminated.

Three elements of risk

Risk comprises these three elements: 1) the likelihood that natural events will take place, 2) the performance of the infrastructure during these events (such as dams and/or levees), and 3) the consequences of poor performance or failure. Risk allows the Corps to consider a dam or levee (or system of levees) in the context of its purposes, ecosystems, budgets, past design decisions, both current knowledge and the uncertainty of future flood events or any combination of these factors.

This graphic, while showing a leveed environment, illustrates the same risk components in a dam environment:  that risk is a function of hazard, performance and consequence.

Reducing Flood Risk

Reducing flood risk

Reducing risk starts with an awareness and understanding of your own potential to face flooding from localized heavy rain to large-scale hurricanes.

While no entity or organization can eliminate flooding, this awareness at all levels of a community leads to shared responsibility. Individual, neighborhood, community, state and federal actions all add up to better solutions to reduce those risks.

Federal, state and local government entities share their responsibilities for flood risk management through programs and authorities. Many federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, oversee programs to promote flood risk management and assist states and local communities to reduce flood damage. The goal of the Corps’ Flood Risk Management mission is to save lives and reduce property damage from flooding.

Visit Partners in Shared Responsibility to learn about the federal role in flood risk management. flood risk management programs and resources available to states and communities across the country

Silver Jackets: partners in risk reduction

The Corps participates and promotes awareness of the Texas Silver Jackets program, a collaborative state-led interagency team that continuously works together to reduce flood risk in Texas. Visit

An updated approach to flood risk management

The government once used the term “flood control” for its efforts to protect people and property from flooding, but no one agency or set of actions can “control” or eliminate flooding. There are limits to both the ability to predict floods and the level of protection that the Corps, other agencies or human measures can provide.

The Corps focuses its policies, programs and expertise on reducing overall flood risk. This includes the appropriate use of structures such as dams, levees and floodwalls. It also promotes alternatives such as land acquisition, flood-proofing and landowners’ consideration of the purchase of flood insurance. Such alternatives reduce the risks to public safety, reduce long-term economic damages and improve the natural environment.

The Corps’ national Flood Risk Management Program is moving away from the heavily engineered solutions seen 50 years ago. It embraces a more comprehensive flood risk reduction strategy that emphasizes the importance of property owners, residents, communities and government understanding their roles and responsibilities in reducing overall flood risks before actual flooding occurs. For information, including an overview of flood risk management grants, visit Frequently Asked Questions.