Order Code RS22698
Updated May 1, 2008
FEMA Flood Map Modernization Funding
Wayne A. Morrissey
Information Research Specialist
Knowledge Services Group
For FY2009, President Bush requested $151 million to finalize implementation of
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Flood Map Modernization
(Map Mod) Initiative (FMMI) and its ongoing Map Mod program. FEMA introduced
the FMMI in September 1997 as a strategic plan to convert paper flood insurance rate
maps (FIRMs) to digital electronic format, or DFIRMs. DFIRMs contain more accurate
spatial measurements and digital data associated with flood hazards and are developed
with an automated geographic information system (GIS) that also facilitates mandatory
periodic updating of flood maps and helps to determine flood insurance risk. Published
DFIRMs are available from FEMA over the Internet. In FY2000, Congress appropriated
$5 million for a FEMA Flood Map Modernization Fund (FMMF) and the administrative
needs of the FMMI. FEMA Map Mod appropriations began in FY2003. Since FY2004,
FEMA has been funded by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations.
Congress also has approved supplemental spending authority for FMMI offset by flood
map-related service fees. To date, FEMA has obligated $1.18 billion for FMMI and
associated Map Mod activities. This report will be updated as events warrant.
The FY2009 Request for the Flood Map Modernization Program
Some in Congress have been concerned about FEMA’s inability to perform timely
five-year (digital) updates of flood maps for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
communities.1 For FY2009, President Bush requested $151 million to complete the Flood
Map Modernization Initiative (FMMI) and fund the associated ongoing flood map
modernization program, “Map Mod.” Although the request is $73 million less than the
FY2008 appropriation (Table 1),2 priorities for Map Mod in FY2009 include $90 million
to develop better maps of coastal flood hazards and flood hazards around flood protection
structures (levees) and $30 million to improve storm surge models, for more accurate
As required by §575 of P.L. 103-325, the 1994 National Flood Insurance Program Reform Act
FEMA, Flood Map Modernization Fund, Fiscal Year 2009, Congressional Budget Submission,
“Budget Request and Supporting Information, Appropriations Overview,” pp. FEMA-FMMI-1–
FEMA-FMMI-22, February 2008.
coastal flood maps. Also, FEMA would launch a multi-year effort (through 2012) to meet
requirements for five-year updates of flood maps, taking into consideration geophysical
changes that may have occurred and affected base flood elevations (BFE’s) on existing
flood maps.3 FEMA officials indicate that the budget decrease for FY2009 can be
misleading because henceforth costs of Map Mod would be leveraged to a greater degree
with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and private stakeholders known
as FEMA Cooperating Technical Partners (CTPs).4
FMMI Spending Authority and Funding: FY2000-FY2008
Under the 1968 National Flood Insurance Program Act (1968 NFIPA),5 Congress
created a National Flood Insurance Fund (NFIF, 42 U.S.C., Ch. III § 4107) administered
by the Flood Insurance Administration (FIA) of the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD). The FIA was responsible for preparing flood insurance rate maps
(FIRMS) after assessing flood hazards and insurance risk. When President Jimmy Carter
created FEMA with Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1978, the flood map program and
associated flood hazard studies (FHSs) continued under the NFIF, and resources were
allocated after a presidentially declared flood disaster emergency. The NFIF also
provided resources to produce preliminary flood hazard boundary maps (FHBMs) for
unmapped communities in the post-flood disaster “emergency phase,” if the community
chose to join the NFIP.6 The 1968 NFIPA also authorized preemptive FHSs to evaluate
potential flood hazard risk in unmapped communities. FEMA considered this an
opportunity to increase NFIP membership and expand the pool of future NFIF resources.7
The Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994
(P.L. 103-325) required that flood-prone NFIP communities be eligible to receive the
fullest amount of federal flood insurance coverage needed. It authorized FEMA to extend
assistance through a Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program (FMAGP)8 for various
cities, towns, villages, and Metropolitan Sewerage Districts that were potentially subject
to flooding. FMAGP covers non-emergency FHSs and may be used for Map Mod needs.
FEMA, Flood Map Modernization — Preparing for FY2009 and Beyond: Integrated Flood
Data Update, Risk Assessment, and Mitigation Planning, Draft Concept Paper, June 1, 2007.
Ibid. See also FEMA, NFIP website, “CTP Frequently Asked Questions,” at [http://www.fema.
P.L. 90-448, 82 Stat. 670.
Preliminary flood insurance rate maps are authorized by the 1968 NFIPA (42 U.S.C. §
1360(f)(2)). During this phase, property owners can purchase only limited amounts of federal
flood insurance coverage. Then, FEMA conducts a Flood Hazard Study (FHS), updates a FHBM
to reflect actual flood risks, and publishes a FIRM. When the process concludes, residents of
NFIP communities are eligible to purchase full coverage. See FEMA, National Flood Insurance
Program, Flood Insurance Manual, “Types of Flood Maps,” May 2005, p. MAP 1,I,A (updated
July 2007, May 2008 edition, in press).
42 U.S.C. Chapter 50 - National Flood Insurance, Subchapter III, Sec. 4101(d). Plan for
Bringing Communities with Flood-Risk Zones into Full Program Status.
FMAGP was authorized by Section 1266 of NFIRA in 1994 (42 U.S.C. §§ 410c-4104d).
National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, Title V, Sections 553 and 554 (P.L. 103-325, 42
Early Budget Authority for FMMI. When Congress established the Flood Map
Modernization Fund (FMMF) in FY2000, it became a source of spending authority for
FMMI administrative needs through FY2002. During this time, demand began to grow
for federal assistance on the part of communities to undertake non-emergency, preemptive
flood map modernization activities (i.e., develop DFIRMs). Table 1 shows annual
spending authority from FY2000 to FY2002 for combined emergency and non-emergency
flood map modernization activities. In FY2003, the FMMF became the primary source
of funding for FMMI implementation and all Map Mod activities. Even so, the NFIF
continued to be a resource for emergency flood map modernization needs.
Table 1. FY2000-FY2002 FMMF Spending Authority
Source: Request figures were compiled by CRS from FEMA’s annual budget justifications.
Spending authorization figures are from House Appropriations Committee, Senate
Appropriations Committee, and conference committee reports on annual VA, HUD, and
Independent Agencies Appropriations for FY2000-FY2002.
a. The FY2000 request does not include spending authority of $58.5 million proposed from
mortgage transaction fees which Congress did not approve.
b. For FY2001, the President requested collections of $104.0 million in Flood Policy Fees
(FPFs). Instead, Congress authorized $30 million in disaster funds, and $2.7 million
was carried over from FY2000 for FMMI administrative costs.
c. For FY2002, $25 million in emergency funding was transferred to the FMMF from the
NFIF. Another $7 million was authorized for FMMI from “flood service fees” that
were anticipated to be collected for FY2001-FY2002, and which were approved by
d. The final amount for FY2000 of $5 million was a congressional appropriation to
establish the FMMF.
The President’s Requests for FMMI Appropriations. In his FY2003 budget,
President Bush requested $300 million for FEMA for the FMMF, to implement the
FMMI, and to fund the associated Map Mod program (Table 2).9 The FY2003 request
was the President’s last one to be transmitted to the House Department of Veterans’
Affairs, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee on behalf of
FEMA. Since FY2004, presidential requests for FMMI have been about $200 million
annually, and were funded under DHS appropriations. In FY2009, $151 million was
requested to continue Map Mod activities.
For FY2003, President Bush also requested $50 million in spending authorized by the Stafford
Act (42. U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) to conduct map modernization projects after declared flooding
Table 2. President’s Funding Requests and Appropriations
for FMMF, Including the FMMI and Map Mod, FY2003-FY2009
Source: Compiled by CRS from sources noted in Table 1 and footnotes in text.
Notes: Congress authorized appropriations from FY2003-FY2008 for the FMMI. The FMMF funds more than just
the FMMI. Enacted figures for FY2006, FY2007, and FY2008 are total FMMF funding that includes employee
salaries and benefits and other administrative costs limited to no more than 3% of annual FMMF appropriations. These
figures also reflect rescissions in FEMA’s budget. Thus, FMMI/Map Mod funding for FY2006 was $204.7 million,
for FY2007 $198.9 million, for FY2008 $217.5 million and, for FY2009, $144.4 million is requested for continuing
Map Mod activities.
The President’s Budget for FMMI. President Bush’s FY2003 budget request
proposed a five-year plan for the FMMI, as part of a government-wide initiative to
implement cost-effective disaster prevention strategies. It stated that “inadequate funding
hinders the [flood map] program,” and that “... maps are needed to assist rebuilding after
disasters and to steer future development away from floodplains.”10 It continued that
“focusing flood reduction efforts on identifying the areas at risk for flooding and steering
development away from those areas ... [is] a less-costly, long-term approach to [flood]
mitigation,”11 and that “... modernizing flood maps would be critical to that effort.”12 The
FY2003 request also noted that many of the FEMA flood maps were “out-of-date and
inaccurate.”13 The President had requested $58.5 million in additional spending authority
for FMMI that would be offset with a federal Flood Policy Fee (FPF) levied on mortgage
lenders. The budget indicated that anticipated collections of FPFs for FY2004-FY2007
would provide the balance of funding needed to complete the FMMI by FY2008. Had
Congress authorized FPFs, the President would have made an initial down payment of
almost $359 million, or 48% of estimated incremental costs for FMMI implementation.14
Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, Fiscal Year 2003,
Budget of the U.S. Government, “Federal Emergency Management Agency: Status Report on
Selected Programs” (Washington, DC: GPO, 2002), pp. 315-318.
Fiscal Year 2003, Budget of the U.S. Government, p. 316.
Fiscal Year 2003, Budget of the U.S. Government, “Federal Emergency Management Agency:
The President’s Proposal,” pp. 318-322. At the time, incremental costs for FMMI from FY2003
to 2007 were estimated to be $750 million.
FEMA’s Transfer to the Department of Homeland Security. On November
20, 2002, President Bush signed into law P.L. 107-296 which created the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS).15 In March 2003, FEMA was transferred to a new Emergency
Preparedness and Response Directorate (EPRD) that reported directly to the Secretary of
DHS. Meanwhile, FEMA’s FY2003 budget was submitted to the House Appropriations
Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies. However, in the end, FEMA,
FMMF, FMMI, and Map Mod activities were funded in the Consolidated Appropriations
Resolution, 2003 (P.L. 108-7). For FY2004, FEMA’s budget was submitted to the House
Appropriations Subcommittee on DHS. The EPRD budget justification noted that FEMA
would provide federal grant assistance to help allay some NFIP communities’ concerns
about their costs in developing DFIRMs.16
In 2005, when it appeared that FMMI implementation costs would exceed original
estimates, Congress ordered the Inspector General (IG) of DHS to review FEMA’s
management of the FMMI and Map Mod.17 The IG investigated whether the program was
properly managed and whether funding for the nation’s investment in Map Mod was
obligated optimally.18 The outcome of the departmental review was a Multi-Year
Identification Plan for prioritizing Map Mod resources annually, according to degree of
flood hazard risk, potential for loss of life and damage, and the greatest needs for meeting
NFIP Map Mod requirements locally.19 In FY2006, the President requested supplemental
spending authority for the FMMI from flood map service fee collections for commercial
uses of DFIRMS, professional licenses, and printed and CD-ROM-based DFIRMs, which
Congress approved.20 In FY2008, the DHS issued a stand-alone budget justification for
FMMI noting that the FMMI was winding down.21 Thus, the Administration requested
a “last down payment” for FMMI of $195.9, about $7.6 million less than $203.5 million
appropriated for FY2007 (Table 2). The President noted that despite the funding
reduction, his request would account for new goals and priorities set forth in FEMA’s
May 2006 FMMI Mid-Course Adjustment (MCA), issued in response to Hurricane
116 STAT. 2135.
See U.S. Congress, House, Making Appropriations for VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies,
Fiscal Year 2000: Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 2684 (H.Rept. 106-379, October 13,
DHS, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Information Technology, Challenges in
FEMA’s Flood Map Modernization Program, OIG-05-44, “Mapping Plans and Priorities,”
Washington, DC, September 2005, p. 5.
Congress also requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to perform a similar
reviews. See for example, General Accounting Office (GAO), Flood Map Modernization:
Program Strategy Shows Promise, but Challenges Remain, GAO-04-417, March 2004.
FEMA, NFIP, Multi-Year Flood Hazard Identification Plan (MHIP), MHIP Version 2.5, April
2007, available at [http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/dl_mhip.shtm#1].
A current schedule of fees is available at [http://msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/
i nf o?s t or eId = 1 0 0 0 1 & c a t a l o gId = 1 0 0 0 1 & l a n gId = -1 & c o n t e n t = o r d e r C o s t &t i t l e
Map Mod would then supplant the FMMI. See Department of Homeland Security, FEMA,
Flood Map Modernization Fund: Fiscal Year 2008, Congressional Justification, February 2007.
Katrina.22 As a major policy shift, the MCA noted that FEMA would forego the wholesale
conversion of existing FIRMs to DFIRMs. Instead, it would (1) target federal resources
to update flood maps where populations are most vulnerable to flood risk, and using
Census block-based data, rather than county-wide flood maps; (2) ensure that standards
for DFIRM accuracy apply to emergency FHBMs and FHSs in unmapped communities;
and (3) tie flood risk analysis to length of “stream miles” (i.e., along riverbanks and U.S.
coastal and Great Lake shores), thus focusing Map Mod resources where flood hazards
are most likely occur. The President noted that if his FY2008 budget were approved, no
additional funding for FMMI would be required.23 The Map Mod program will continue
into a “post-FMMI implementation phase,” when among its goals FEMA would develop
a seamless national digital flood hazard database layer which it claims will be invaluable
for future land-use and development planning, disaster mitigation planning, and homeland
Congressional Budget Action on FMMI. For FY2003, Congress approved an
appropriation of $150 million for the FMMF and the associated FMMI/Map Mod
program, half of what the President had requested (Table 2). Some lawmakers assert that
this was a reasonable level of funding given a five-year funding commitment for the
FMMI. Since FY2004 through FY2007, appropriations for FMMI have tracked
Administration requests, except for a notable increase in FY2008 (Table 2). Conference
report language in the Joint Explanatory Statement to accompany H.R. 2767, the
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (Div. E, DHS) approved $223.9 million for
FMMF (Table 2) and authorized FEMA to collect supplemental financial resources from
state and local governments. It also required on behalf of the Senate that FEMA address
recommendations of a January 2007, National Academy of Sciences report, Base Map
Inputs for Floodplain Mapping, about acquisition of geophysical data and imagery for
flood risk assessment.25
The Map Mod program continues to be of interest to the 110th Congress. Flood map
updates and revisions (FIRM-DFIRM), which are mandated by law, are coming due.
Legislation in the House (H.R. 3121) and the related Senate (S. 2284) would implement
various recommendations by FEMA and others to proceed with the Map Mod effort,
including authorizing its funding through FY2013. Some Members are concerned about
FEMA’s effectiveness in educating the public about how FMMI requirements may affect
local communities and about FEMA’s lead time for notifying local authorities of an intent
to initiate flood map revisions or updates.
For detailed estimates of the FY2008 request, see Department of Homeland Security: FEMA
Flood Map Modernization Fund: Funding Schedule, Exhibit H, “PPA Budget Justifications
[FEMA - FMMI - 13],” February 2006.
Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, Flood Map Modernization Mid-Course Adjustment,
March 30, 2006, pp. I-x, 1-38, and Appendices A, B.
See U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Appropriations, Department of Homeland Security
Appropriations Bill, 2008 to Accompany S. 1644 (S.Rept. 110-84), June 18, 2007, pp. 105-106.