FEMA – Risk Map Standards & Guidance Updates (APWA)

Good afternoon, please find a link, here, to the FEMA Flood Risk Mapping Guidelines and Standards. FEMA has published information about the upcoming annual update and the start of public review of planned changes to Risk MAP standards, expected to be released in November 2017. As you may be aware, FEMA updates standards and guidance for Risk MAP on an annual basis.  I have condensed the information, for the purpose of this email, you can read the full reports by clicking on the attached links.


The November update will include routine updates and completion of the transformation of legacy guidelines and specifications to produce new guidance documents that align with the current structure of the Risk MAP Program. The transformation of guidance comprehensively reviews existing guidance, updates the content to reflect current practices and clarifies the guidance intent. Guidelines for the Policy for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping (link) comprises the standards for practitioners of the Risk MAP program. As part of the guidelines and standards maintenance cycle, FEMA provides an opportunity for stakeholders to review and comment on proposed changes to standards.

In addition to routine maintenance, there are several more significant changes that FEMA plans to implement through new or updated standards, guidance documents, and technical references in November. These include:

  • establishing guidance for Base Level Engineering
  • clarifying how submitters can use Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) or other elevation data for Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs)
  • updating Flood Risk Product (FRP) requirements based on feedback from FRP users and stakeholders
  • updating coastal standards to consolidate the definition of the V-Zone for coastal Flood Risk Projects and simplifying standard language related to dune erosion analysis.

In addition to providing notification of all the planned changes to standards and guidance for November 2017, this notice is also announcing the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to standards. FEMA intends to publish these standards as a part of the Policy for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping. Comments received prior to August 31, 2017, will be reviewed and addressed as appropriate before the standards are finalized. Please submit any comments that you wish to offer to myself or Rita Cassida, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.


Marty Williams

Marty Williams Government Affairs Manager American Public Works Association Washington, D.C. Office Ph: (202) 218-6732 | Fax: (202) 408-9542 Your Comprehensive Public Works Resource