FEMA Publishes Policy on Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping Standards


FEMA Publishes Policy on Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping Standards


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Risk Map Program provides communities with information on flooding and tools they can use to enhance their mitigation plans and take action to better protect their citizens.  FEMA sets standards to define the mandatory requirements for working with communities to analyze and publish flood risk information and review requests to change existing flood risk data.  FEMA published a standalone policy memo, the August 2013 FEMA Policy Memo Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping, with the most recent version of the standards.


As part of a multiyear plan, FEMA is improving the way guidelines and standards for flood risk mapping are presented and have completed the extraction of distinct standards from the existing Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners.  These standards are consistent with the previous requirements and are organized in a separate policy document to highlight the mandatory requirements of the program, and separate guidance or recommendations. 


FEMA conducted a public review of the draft standards earlier this year.  A summary of the comments received and changes implemented is published on http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/72608.


The new approach as outlined in the policy memo:

Restates, clearly organizes and separates standards from guidance to:


Clarify areas of flexibility to create opportunities for more efficient approaches to map flood risk.

Emphasize mandatory requirements to strengthen the consistent application of standards to flood risk projects nationally.

Provides new standards such as:

efinements to the Risk MAP process and products
Updates to the quality management process.
New analysis and mapping standards for non-accredited levees.


The Mapping Standards Policy also includes some elements from the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, but not all. Many of the substantial mapping reforms in the legislation will be implemented in coordination with the new Technical Mapping Advisory Council as required by law.  The development and implementation of these additional changes will happen over the next several years as the Council makes its recommendations to FEMA.


FEMA continues to update the existing guidance based on this new approach.  Until this is completed, mapping partners can locate the historical recommended guidelines in the previous Guidelines and Specifications documents at www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34953.  While the source for mandatory requirements is the August 2013 FEMA Policy Memo Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping, these guidance documents can be used to identify most recommended methods to meet the standards.


For additional information, please visit the FEMA Guidelines and Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping webpage.