Detailed Information on the
Flood Damage Reduction Assessment

Program Code 10000006
Program Title Flood Damage Reduction
Department Name Corps of Engineers-Civil Works
Agency/Bureau Name Corps of Engineers-Civil Works
Program Type(s) Capital Assets and Service Acquisition Program
Assessment Year 2002
Assessment Rating Results Not Demonstrated
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 60%
Strategic Planning 67%
Program Management 82%
Program Results/Accountability 66%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $1,073
FY2008 $1,341
FY2009 $1,295

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

OMB would like the Corps to collect performance information on the actual contribution of completed flood damage reduction projects toward reducing the Nation's overall flood damages. The process to perform this task is in need of revision and currently there are insufficient resources to continue to perform this function. Dedicated funding is needed.

Action taken, but not completed Collectoin program improvement has not been funded. Incremental improvements are being made Will be re-PARTed in 2008

Explore and identify ways to encourage greater consideration of innovative non-structural approaches to flood control during the project planning process.

Action taken, but not completed Acceptance of non-structural measures or projects depends on the situation -- in areas of repeated residential flooding, sponsors are frequently supportive of floodplain evacuation projects, particularly if there are opportunities for ecosystem restoration and/or recreation measures as follow-on activities. Some sponsors want structural solutions due to public perception/complaints associated with house raising, impacts to industry (having to raise docks, access points, etc.)

This program will be re-PARTed in 2008 and the Flood Damage Reduction and Coastal Storm Damage Reduction programs will be combined to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the Corps activities in flood risk management. New performance measures have been developed that include dam safety and population at risk and subject to final agreements will be incorporated in the re-PARTing.

Action taken, but not completed

Subject to availability of funds, an improved data collection program will be initiated. Available data is being collected will be used to measure the performance as best as possible. An improved approach to collect actual damages prevented is being developed and is scheduled to be fielded in 2008.

Action taken, but not completed

The Corps is to fund an inventory of the Nation's flood and storm damage reduction infrastructure and development of a methodology for assessing the risk and level of protection provided from completed projects. This effort is underway with supplemental funds and additional funds were included in the President's FY 07 budget. The development of a Project Management Plan is underway.

Action taken, but not completed Funding has not been provided. Actions are proceeding with limitedcarry over funds.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

The Corps is to conduct pilot projects to improve coordination among Federal and non-Federal programs involved in reducing flood damages. Currently, the Corps has one team working with a high priority community to develop a flood mitigation strategy. The plan is being developed under USACE's Planning Assistance to States (PAS) program and will follow FEMA's Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) guidelines. The resulting plan will be a comprehensive flood mitigation plan that will identify flood risks, assess what is vulnerable, prioritize potential flood damage reduction measures, and match agency programs to the measures in order to move towards the goal of reduced flood risk and more sustainable development. The other pilot is started with a meeting of 19 different agencies where 50 issues were identified. Some of the issues identified included more consistent agency communication, definition of roles and responsibility, and public flood risk education. The next steps are to finalize the team structure and prioritize issues.

Completed Work with FEMA has been very successful. Approach developed in the pilots is expanding.

Develop additional outcome oriented performance measures.

Completed Seven performance measures were developed for both annual and long term program performance assessments. They explicitly link to the Civil Works Strategic Plan Objectives and provide program level performance linkage to budget development. Will be re-PARTed in 2008

Improve coordination with FEMA and state programs whose programs target

Completed Two pilot efforts (Silver Jacket teams) are successfully underway in Ohio and California with local, state and Federal agencies collaborating to solve flood problems. For example in Ohio, nineteen different Federal and state agencies attended the initial meeting conducted in July 2005, demonstrating the interest and support of this concept. The overall opinion was - "about time we did this." Pilots have been successful and demand for additional efforts exceed resources

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Percent of time that Corps owned flood damage reduction infrastructure maintained at design level

Explanation:NOTE: Have incomplete data - efforts underway to improve data collection. This measure supports CW Strategic Plan Objective 3.1: Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing Corps water resources projects.

Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Average annual flood damage reduction benefits attributable to completed construction projects.

Explanation:This measure is not useful for informing budget decisions and a better measure that fully accounts for risk factors as well as social and economic considerations is preferable.

Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Average annual flood damage reduction benefits attributable to projects recommended in completed feasibility reports.

Explanation:Data is not available for this measure. Follow-up action for this program requires data collection effort.

Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Number of people benefited by potential projects identified in reconnaissance phase reports completed.

Explanation:This is a ranking criterion used to set priorities in the budget for investigations.

Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Average annual flood damage reduction benefits attributable to projects recommended in completed pre-construction, engineering & design (PED) reports.

Explanation:This is a ranking criterion used to set funding priorities in the budget for studies and design work in the Investigations account.

Long-term/Annual Output

Measure: Percent of projects exceeding facilities condition index (FCI) standard.

Explanation:This measure is under development and will be developed using funding provided in the FY 2007 Budget Request for a risk-based methodology for assessing the operational and structural integrity of flood projects.

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: Reduce flood damages to the nation through structural, non-structural, Flood Plain Mgt, Planning Assistance and other technical assistance programs.

Evidence: 1936 Flood Control Act. Supplemented by other various Flood Control, Rivers and Harbors, and Water Resource Dev. Acts over the years

YES  %

Does the program address a specific interest, problem or need?

Explanation: Flood damage reduction projects requested by sponsors comprise the program with each project defining a solution to a need. Program focuses on (1) reducing risk of flood damage to existing development and (2) providing technical assistance to state and local governments to prevent future flood damage.

Evidence: Formal study investigations and Project Reports. Congress shows interest and need through authorizations (regular and contingent).

YES 20%

Is the program designed to have a significant impact in addressing the interest, problem or need?

Explanation: Program is designed to reduce flood damages by means of authorized and justified projects or through technical assistance programs.

Evidence: Letters, and authorizing (Water Resources Development Act) and appropriations documents. Feasibility studies are authorized in response to actual flooding or new conditions expected to lead to flooding. Projects are planned, jointly with a local sponsor to reduce damages so long as economically justified. Studies include inputs from affected Federal and State agencies and individuals. After study, projects are authorized and project reports published in Congressional Committee Reports.

YES 20%

Is the program designed to make a unique contribution in addressing the interest, problem or need (i.e., not needlessly redundant of any other Federal, state, local or private efforts)?

Explanation: Other agencies address the same issue, but generally each has a different focus and/or different program tools, such as insurance and hazard mitigation programs.

Evidence: FEMA provides hazard mitigation and insurance; Natural Resources Conversation Service used to provide small watershed projects. The Corps program is comprehensive through holistic, basin-wide, watershed-centered studies and projects. The Galloway Report called for more State involvement with the Corps and FEMA.

YES 20%

Is the program optimally designed to address the interest, problem or need?

Explanation: The Corps program provides for applying solutions that (1) directly address reducing existing flood damages and (2) utilize Corps technical assistance to support other Federal and non-Federal agencies devoted to preventing flood damages. The program is a good program, but not optimal. The Corps should put more emphasis on non-structural solutions and avoid designing projects to provide 100-year protection when it may not be economically justified, but allow property owners to avoid flood insurance, and more closely coordinate its general approach with FEMA.

Evidence: Recent program improvements include Corps regulation 1105-2-100 that stipulates that communities participating in a flood damage reduction project must prepare and publicize throughout the region a flood plain management plan to reduce the impact of future flood events in the project area and to make citizens aware of remaining flood risks. Also, the local sponsor is asked to ensure the level of protection provided by by the Corps projects.

NO 0%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 60%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific, ambitious long-term performance goals that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The Corps broad goal is to reduce flood and storm damage reduction in the nation.

Evidence: Basically, this goal is to maintain the status quo. The Corps is working with OMB to develop specific, long-term goals that focus on outcomes.

NO 0%

Does the program have a limited number of annual performance goals that demonstrate progress toward achieving the long-term goals?

Explanation: The Corps' annual goals are to make flood damage reduction investments where benefits exceed costs and to ensure that projects operate as designed. Two investment performance measures include #1 the net annual benefits of flood project investments and #2 ratio of expected project benefits to actual construction costs, with a target of completing projects within their estimated costs so that actual costs are less than estimated benefits, thus maintaining a benefit-cost ratio >1. Two operating measures are the % of time flood projects carry out their purpose, with a target >95% and the % of time that projects are not operable due to maintenance needs, where the target has not yet been established.

Evidence: Investment measure #1 (net benefits), should have a goal attached to it, such as maximizing program net benefits. Investment measure#2 (ratio of expected benefits to actual costs) is a cost monitoring issue. This Corps should be concerned with how are costs are managed. Even if a project remains justified (Benefit/Cost>1), the Corps should find out why costs increased. Regarding operational goal #2, the Corps uses % time storm damage infrastructure sustains its purpose as a measure and proposes to add the % of projects not operable at design level due to maintenance needs. A more outcome oriented goal for consideration would be to allocate maintenance funds where they will be most effective in preventing loss of life and damages to public and private property.

YES 11%

Do all partners (grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, etc.) support program planning efforts by committing to the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: Sponsors (e.g, flood control districts) make inputs and participate financially in flood studies and projects.

Evidence: Reflected in cost sharing agreements for each study and project whereby sponsors participate in studies, contribute 50% of study funds, and cash, and contribute lands, easements and rights of way to project construction (up to 35%).

YES 11%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs that share similar goals and objectives?

Explanation: The Corps cooperates on a project by project basis with related programs, as well as coordinating operating rules and regulations prior to publication with interested parties. The Corps collaborates with technical assistance program clients. However, the Corps does not meet routinely, with FEMA NRCS, and TVA to compare notes or share lessons learned about their respective programs.

Evidence: Continued coordination, especially with FEMA is needed to work towards reduction in national flood damages particularly to those areas not yet protected. Evacuation plans should be effected in a comprehensive multi-agency fashion. The Corps is moving towards examining interrelated problems on a watershed basis. This approach should encourage useful collaboration.

NO 0%

Are independent and quality evaluations of sufficient scope conducted on a regular basis or as needed to fill gaps in performance information to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness?

Explanation: Project by project review with further evolution of the process with input from the National Academy of Sciences report on independent review and other Corps reviews conducted on an as needed basis. However, external reviews are not a regular part of the process.

Evidence: Review process for each project requires coordination with other Federal, State and local agencies and interested parties and outside reviews are conducted on an as needed, but not a regular basis. The NAS did review the Corp's probability based flood model.

NO 0%

Is the program budget aligned with the program goals in such a way that the impact of funding, policy, and legislative changes on performance is readily known?

Explanation: The budget is built in increments and the impact of varying increments of funding is displayed both in terms of the appropriation accounts(general investigations, construction, and operation and maintenance) as well as the impacts on each business program in the business breakout in the Program Memorandum that explains the Corps Annual Budget Request to OMB.

Evidence: Each (program level) defines what is achievable with additional increments/decrements of funding for each business program, which is presented in its annual budget request.

YES 11%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The Strategic Plan is continually reviewed and revised. It includes all interested parties in the mix of commentators through publication on the "WEB."

Evidence: The Corps meets with interested parties including principals from other agencies & develops specialized training to improve project development processes. The Corps needs to respond to studies like the National Wildlife Federation Frequently Flooded Lands.

YES 11%

Are acquisition program plans adjusted in response to performance data and changing conditions?

Explanation: Program development is highly dynamic with levels changing in response to varying priorities. Flood project plans and operations are based on the latest hydrographs.

Evidence: NA

YES 11%

Has the agency/program conducted a recent, meaningful, credible analysis of alternatives that includes trade-offs between cost, schedule and performance goals?

Explanation: The program is based on participation by non-Federal project sponsors so it can only address food damage problems where sponsors are willing to participate. Within that universe of problem areas, the tradeoffs of cost and benefits are conducted within the project development process.

Evidence: Each increment (program level) defines what is achievable with each additional increment and/or decrement of funding.

YES 11%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 67%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: The annual Flood Damages Prevented report displays the damages prevented by project, by state and by area throughout the country.

Evidence: Annual Flood Damage Prevention reports; Project delivery process includes a formal reporting on "meeting Project Sponsor commitments" which are negotiated with local sponsor each fiscal year.

YES 9%

Are Federal managers and program partners (grantees, subgrantees, contractors, etc.) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: Corps accomplishes much of its studies and all of its construction activities by contract. Fixed price contracts tightly specify performance requirements. ER 4115-1-17 prescribes "Construction Contractor Performance Evaluations" and record of performance is recorded in the Construction Contractor Appraisal Support System (CCAS) AIS and used for future construction contract bidder qualification.

Evidence: Performance requirements of Federal Agency, non-Federal project sponsor and contractors performing project study and project construction activities are governed by Project Cooperation Agreements; Feasibility Cost sharing Agreements; PED Agreements; Construction Contractor Performance Evaluations, and formal reporting on "meeting project sponsor commitments."

YES 9%

Are all funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: A major concern of the Corps within the Flood Damage reduction program (and others) is the efficient obligation and expending of funds and the Corps is most diligent in the tracking of such expenditures.

Evidence: Project Review Boards & Resource Management Boards Monitor Performance measures as dictated by consolidated command guidance and other directives. 87% of available funds are obligated.

YES 9%

Does the program have incentives and procedures (e.g., competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: (1) Each project undergoes value engineering analysis to identify ways to construct project at less cost and more efficiently. (2) The principle of cost sharing with non-Federal project sponsors results in a strong incentive to achieve cost efficiencies and an effective project.

Evidence: (a) Cost sharing agreements for all phases of work. (b) Value engineering evaluation prior to project construction which is done to assure the a project responds to the need in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

YES 9%

Does the agency estimate and budget for the full annual costs of operating the program (including all administrative costs and allocated overhead) so that program performance changes are identified with changes in funding levels?

Explanation: Project costs are budgeted incrementally (both studies and construction) with the full costs budgeted over a period of years. This procedure is pursuant to 33 US Code 621 and authorized in the River and Harbors Act of 1922.

Evidence: The Corps does not use the count retirement costs funded through the Office of Personnel Management, but has consistently allocated costs among construction projects. The Corps absorbs executive direction (headquarters, etc) in the general expenses account. All other costs are allocated to projects.

YES 9%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: The Corps has a real time database (CEFMS) which tracks appropriated, scheduled, and expended funds. Projects which are behind schedule may have funds reprogrammed to other projects. The Corps has been making substantial progress in producing sound annual financial statements. Its major obstacle is in determining the original cost of existing plant, property, and equipment, which affects its balance sheet. Funds are distributed by HQUSACE under the appropriate class/category for a given activity as outlined in ER 11-1-320.

Evidence: HQUSACE continually monitors the status of distributed FCCE funds and recalls any unobligated balances on a periodic basis. Funds for the repair of damaged FCW are distributed by phases, as outlined in all Project Information Reports (PIR) (i.e. investigation, engineering and design, construction). ER500-1-1 states that repairs to FCW under this program requires local/federal cost share and a positive benefit/cost ratio and assistance provided during emergency operations are supplemental to state/local efforts. Funds for inspections of FCW in this program are budgeted and distributed every other year based on inspection schedules.

YES 9%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The Corps uses yearly evaluations at the national, regional, and field operations levels to identify and correct management deficiencies.

Evidence: Management deficiencies are identified through a proven internal control procedure developed by the Corps management audit program and governed by and Engineer Regulation. This management control system is common to all business programs in the Corps. This program and yearly evaluation is applied at the national program level, the regional level, and the field operations level. There are mandatory corrective actions as a result of this program.

YES 9%

Does the program define the required quality, capability, and performance objectives for deliverables?

Explanation: Done on a project by project basis. Examples of defining documents that contain the relevant elements can be provided

Evidence: Project by project, these factors are defined in the Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreements, Project Cost Sharing Agreements, and Design Agreements signed by the Corps and Non-Federal project cost sharing partners. Detailed Plans and Specifications specify the scope of construction performance requirements which govern contractor performance.

YES 9%

Has the program established appropriate, credible, cost and schedule goals?

Explanation: When formulating proposed investments, the Corps assumes schedules that do not reflect likely funding constraints. Where total project costs exceed estimates by 20% in real terms, the Corps will examine the discrepancy. The Corps may estimate costs well, but does not routinely collect data that would support an assessment of the overall quality of its cost estimates.

Evidence: Corps FY budget data contains overall expenditure and completion schedules. Internal "operating budget" at each District breaks out expenditure schedules by month. Recently, the Corps has adopted a performance measure where it compares the estimated costs of completed projects with the projected benefits to ensure that the project's benefit cost ratio is maintained. This is another way of monitoring costs and should prove useful.

NO 0%

Has the program conducted a recent, credible, cost-benefit analysis that shows a net benefit?

Explanation: Done on a project by project basis and summed across the entire program

Evidence: Project by project and kept current in that the economic analysis can be no more than 3 years old at the time a project is being considered for construction..

YES 9%

Does the program have a comprehensive strategy for risk management that appropriately shares risk between the government and contractor?

Explanation: The Corps does not use performance-based contracts as often as it should. The way in which it uses "continuing" contracts can constrain the ability of the government to allocate available funds the following year to a higher-priority project or purpose.

Evidence: The Corps mostly uses fixed-price contracts that include safeguards to cover unsatisfactory performance.

NO 0%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 82%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term outcome goal(s)?

Explanation: Some progress towards the general goal can be seen by the damages prevented by existing projects and additional benefits provided by completed new projects.

Evidence: The Corps estimates that from 1991 to 2000 its projects prevented roughly $20.8 billion in flood damages. Projects under construction will yield another $1.5 billion per year in avoided damages. Despite Corps efforts, actual annual damages to the nation are increasing each year due to development in unprotected floodplains and increased runoff in protected areas due to development in upstream areas and other reasons.


Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: NA

Evidence: NA


Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies and cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: NA

Evidence: Justified projects formulated based on maximizing net benefits operate to increase damages prevented each year. Corps strives to minimize operations costs.


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: The Corps is unique in its mission as shown in Sec I - Q#4, but we are working to develop common inter-agency measures of performance for comparison purposes.

Evidence: The Corps is working with other Federal Agencies (FEMA & NCRS) to develop common inter-agency measures. Net benefits per dollar invested is one of these.


Do independent and quality evaluations of this program indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: Corps has employed the National Academy of Sciences to do a comprehensive review of its study program procedures with the goal of improving the planning procedures.

Evidence: The Corps has employed the NAS in the past to assess its planning process and has been found to be an effective process. Flood projects have not been plagued by same problems as navigation projects.

YES 17%

Were program goals achieved within budgeted costs and established schedules?

Explanation: See actual performance discussed in Key Goal II above.

Evidence: Projects completed in FY 00 & FY 01 reflect reasonable performance in terms of cost management.

YES 15%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 66%

Last updated: 09062008.2002SPR