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DHS/FEMA RIN: 1660-AB12 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Updates to Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands Regulations to Implement the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard 

Consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order on Climate Related Financial Risk (E.O. 14030), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proposes to amend its regulations at 44 CFR part 9, "Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands," to incorporate amendments to Executive Order 11988 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). The FFRMS is a flexible framework allowing agencies to choose among three approaches to define the floodplain and corresponding flood elevation requirements for federally funded projects. 44 CFR part 9 describes FEMA’s process under Executive Order 11988 for determining whether the proposed location for an action falls within a floodplain and how to complete the action in the floodplain, in light of the risk of flooding. The proposed rule would change how FEMA defines a floodplain with respect to certain actions. Additionally, under the proposed rule, FEMA would use natural systems, ecosystem process, and nature-based approaches, where practicable, when developing alternatives to locating the proposed action in the floodplain.

FEMA has engaged the public extensively on these matters. On February 5, 2015, FEMA acting on behalf of the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group, posted a Federal Register notice seeking comments on a draft of the Revised Guidelines for Implementing Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management. The 60-day comment period was extended an additional 30 days. During the public comment period for the Revised Guidelines, FEMA sent advisories to representatives from Governors’ offices nationwide inviting comments on the draft Revised Guidelines. Over 25 meetings were held across the country with State, local, and Tribal officials and interested stakeholders to discuss the draft Revised Guidelines as well as 9 public listening sessions across the country attended by over 700 participants to facilitate feedback. All relevant comments received in response to these efforts have been posted to the public rulemaking docket on the Federal eRulemaking portal at Comments from meetings and listening sessions can be found at Additionally, FEMA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in 2016 seeking public comment on FEMA’s proposed implementation of the Revised Guidelines. All relevant comments received in response to the 2016 NPRM have been posted to the public rulemaking docket on the Federal eRulemaking portal at 

Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  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: 44 CFR 9   
Legal Authority: 6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.    42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.    42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.    E.O. 11988 of May 24, 1977, 42 FR 26951, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 117    E.O. 11990 of May 24, 1977, 42 FR 26961, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 121    E.O. 13690, 80 FR 6425    E.O. 14030, 86 FR 27967   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The United States is experiencing increased flooding and flood risk from changing conditions. FEMA has not made significant updates to its regulations governing floodplain management to reflect the challenges faced because of increased flooding and changing conditions since initial publication in 1980.  As a result, FEMA is now proposing to amend 44 CFR part 9, "Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands," to implement the FFRMS and update the agency’s 8-step process.  The FFRMS is a flood resilience standard that is required for federally funded projects and provides a flexible framework to increase resilience against flooding and help preserve the natural values of floodplains and wetlands.  A floodplain is any land area that is subject to flooding and refers to geographic features with undefined boundaries.  44 CFR part 9 describes the 8-step process FEMA uses to determine whether a proposed action would be located within or affect a floodplain, and if so, whether and how to continue with or modify the proposed action.  Executive Order 11988, as amended, and the FFRMS changed the Executive Branch-wide guidance for defining the floodplain with respect to federally funded projects (i.e., actions involving the use of Federal funds for new construction, substantial improvement, or to address substantial damage to a structure or facility).  This proposed rule would ensure that actions subject to the FFRMS are designed to be resilient to both current and future flood risks to minimize the impact of floods on human health, safety, and welfare and to protect Federal investments by reducing the risk of flood loss. 

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

FEMA estimates that this rulemaking would result in benefits to grant recipients (States, Local, Tribes, Territories, and Individuals) and to FEMA, mostly through the reduction in damage to properties and contents from future floods, potential lives saved, public health and safety benefits, reduced recovery time from floods, and increased community resilience to flooding.  FEMA estimates project cost increases for FEMA and grant recipients due to increased elevation or floodproofing requirements of the proposed rule.

Action Date FR Cite
Proposed Policy: Request for Comments  10/02/2023  88 FR 67697   
Proposed Policy: Comment Period End  12/01/2023 
NPRM  10/02/2023  88 FR 67869   
NPRM Comment Period End  12/01/2023 
Additional Information: Docket ID FEMA-2023-0026
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: Governmental Jurisdictions, Organizations  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:   Public Comment URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Portia Ross
Office of Environmental and Historic Preservation
Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
400 C Street SW,
Washington, DC 20472
Phone:202 709-0677