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DOD/COE RIN: 0710-AA78 Publication ID: Fall 2022 
Title: Natural Disaster Procedures: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Activities of the Corps of Engineers 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is proposing to update the Federal regulation that covers the procedures that the Corps uses under section 5 of the Flood Control Act of 1941, as amended (33 U.S.C. 701n), commonly referred to as Public Law 84-99. The Corps relies on this program to prepare for, respond to, and help communities recover from a flood, hurricane, or other natural disaster, including the repair of damage to eligible flood risk reduction infrastructure. The Corps initiated this rulemaking process through an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on February 13, 2015. As a next step, the Corps is planning to propose revisions to the program to address statutory changes under various Water Resources Development Act provisions and to formalize certain agency guidance relating to natural disaster procedures. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) would also include a summary of the comments to the ANPRM.

Agency: Department of Defense(DOD)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 33 CFR 203   
Legal Authority: 33 U.S.C. 701n   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Since the last revision in 2003, significant disasters, including Hurricane Katrina (2005), Hurricane Sandy (2012), flooding on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers (2008, 2011, and 2013), and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (2017) have provided a more detailed understanding of the nature and severity of risk associated with flood control projects. In addition, the maturation of risk-informed decision making approaches and technological advancements influenced the outlook on the implementation of Public Law 84-99 activities, with a shift toward better alignment with Corps Levee Safety and National Flood Risk Management Programs, as well as the National Preparedness and Response Frameworks. Through these programs, the Corps works with non-Federal sponsors and stakeholders to assess, communicate, and manage the risks to people, property, and the environment associated with levee systems and flood risks. Revisions to part 203 are necessary to implement statutes that amended or otherwise affected Public Law 84-99, as explained in the next section.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Public Law 84-99 authorizes an emergency fund to be expended at the discretion of the Chief of Engineers for preparation for natural disasters, flood fighting, rescue operations, repairing or restoring flood control works, emergency protection of federally authorized hurricane or shore protection projects, and the repair and restoration of federally authorized hurricane and shore protection projects damaged or destroyed by wind, wave, or water of other than ordinary nature. 

1. Subsection 3029(a) of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA 2014) (Pub. L. 113-121) authorized the Chief of Engineers, under certain circumstances, to make modifications to flood control and hurricane or shore protections works damaged during flood or coastal storms events, as well as the authority to implement nonstructural alternatives in the repair and restoration of hurricane or shore protection works.

2. Subsection 3029(b) of WRRDA 2014 authorized the Secretary of the Army to undertake a review of implementation of Public Law 84-99 to ensure the safety of affected communities to future flooding and storm events; the resiliency of water resources development projects to future flooding and storm events; the long-term cost-effectiveness of water resources development projects that provide flood control and hurricane and storm damage reduction benefits; and the policy goals and objectives that were the President outlined as a response to recent extreme weather events at that time are met.

3. Section 3011 of WRRDA 2014 states that a levee system shall remain eligible for rehabilitation assistance under Public Law 84-99, as long as the system sponsor continues to make satisfactory progress, as determined by the Secretary of the Army, on an approved system wide improvement framework or letter of intent.

4. Section 1176 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA 2016) (Pub. L. 114-322, title I) provided an express definition of nonstructural alternatives, as that term is used in Public Law 84-99, and authorized the Chief of Engineers, under certain circumstances, to increase the level of protection of flood control or hurricane or shore protection works or increase the capacity of a pumping station when conducting repair or restoration activities to such works under Public Law 84-99.


1. No rule update: Implement all changes through agency discretion. Alternative not selected because the Public Law 84-99 amendments are very prescriptive, and it is inappropriate for those conflicts to exist.

2. Modify: Evaluate required changes and determine which require implementation via agency discretion and those requiring an update to the rule. Alternative not selected because of inconsistent implementation that would result and the repeal and replace alternative is the most straightforward, given the number of update changes throughout this CFR section.

3. Repeal and replace (Selected Alternative): Incorporate and integrate the current state of practice for flood risk management principles and concepts through the provision of agency policy codified in a federal rule. The intended benefit is to encourage broader community flood risk management activities, as undertaken by non-Federal project sponsors. The rule alternative also consolidates recent Public Law 84-99 amendments into one comprehensive rule, ensuring the public understands how the Corps would implement them.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

Overall, the purpose of the proposed changes to this regulation are expected to improve the effectiveness of federal and local investments to reduce flood risks in both riverine and coastal settings. These proposed changes take advantage of our increased understanding of project risks, moving from an assessment of how the project is expected to perform to a focus on a broader set of actions to reduce risk to life, including operations, maintenance, planning, and execution actions to improve emergency warning and evacuation and other activities to improve the ability of communities and individuals to understand and manage project-related risks. Informed by more detailed understanding of risk for levee systems, the Federal Government and non-Federal sponsors should be able to apply the available resources to the risk management activities that most effectively reduce riverine flood risk and avoid expenditures that have little risk reduction benefit.


The rule is not expected to have a significant effect on risks to public health and safety. It would revise and update 33 CFR 203 and reflect the current state of practice for flood risk management principles and concepts. It would also amend and clarify the current role of the Corps in preparing for, and responding a natural disaster, and in helping in the recovery effort. The rule may also encourage broader community flood risk management activities, as undertaken by non-Federal project sponsors.

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  02/13/2015  80 FR 8014   
ANPRM Comment Period End  04/14/2015 
NPRM  11/15/2022  87 FR 68386   
NPRM Comment Period End  01/17/2023 
Final Action  11/00/2023 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Willem Helms
Department of Defense
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
CECW-HS, 441 G Street NW,
Washington, DC 20314
Phone:202 761-5909