Presidential Executive Order 13690 - Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input

President Obama's Executive Order 13690 directs federal agencies to adopt new flood risk reduction standards for the siting, design, and construction of federally funded projects. The new rules will ensure that flooding from climate change will be taken into account in the development of federal projects and are expected to save taxpayers money in the long run by reducing federal disaster assistance spending following extreme weather events.

Executive Order 13690, amends E.O. 11988, Floodplain Management (1977) in order to require federal agencies to use natural systems, ecosystem processes, and nature-based approaches to identify alternatives and require federal agency regulations or procedures to be consistent with the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). 

Obama's introduction to the Order acknowledges climate change impacts as related to flooding: “It is the policy of the United States to improve the resilience of communities and Federal assets against the impacts of flooding. These impacts are anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats. Losses caused by flooding affect the environment, our economic prosperity, and public health and safety, each of which affects our national security.”

The new FFRMS gives agencies three options for establishing the flood elevation and hazard area used in siting, design, and construction:

  • Use data and methods informed by best-available, actionable climate science;
  • Build two feet above the 100-year flood elevation for standard projects, and three feet above for critical buildings like hospitals and evacuation centers; or
  • Build to the 500-year flood elevation.

Within 30 days of the closing of the public comment period for the draft amendments to the Guidelines, each agency was required to submit an implementation plan to the National Security Council that contains milestones and a timeline for implementation of this order and the Standard, by the agency as it applies to the agency's processes and mission.

The Mitigation Framework Leadership Group in consultation with the Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force shall reassess the Standard annually, after seeking stakeholder input, and provide recommendations to the Water Resources Council to update the Standard if warranted based on accurate and actionable science that takes into account changes to climate and other changes in flood risk. The Water Resources Council shall issue an update to the Standard at least every 5 years.


Executive Order 11988 of 1977 required executive departments and agencies to avoid, to the extent possible, the long- and short-term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains; and to avoid direct or indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practicable alternative. The FFRMS was developed for evaluating the impacts of Federal actions in or affecting floodplains to implement Executive Order 11988.



Publication Date: January 30, 2015

Related Organizations:

  • Executive Office of the President of the United States


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Executive order


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