Loss Avoidance Study: Eastern Missouri, Building Acquisition

Study Summary

Study Area – Eight counties in eastern Missouri

Hazard Type – Flood

Project Type – This study includes building acquisitions in nine communities in eastern Missouri.

Total Project Cost – $44,153,436 (2008 dollars)

Total Losses Avoided – $93,636,111 (2008 dollars)

Return on Investment (ROI) – 2.12

Pre- and Post-Mitigation Events

Following record-setting flooding of the Mississippi River in 1993 and 1994, the State of Missouri initiated a campaign to acquire buildings prone to repetitive losses from flooding. Shortly after the initial voluntary acquisitions were completed, the area again experienced substantial flooding (in 1995). The severity of the 1995 floods reinforced the need for mitigation and prompted additional property owners to volunteer for the program.

Between 1999 and 2008, Missouri had 14 Presidential Disaster Declarations as a result of flooding, representing more than one flooding disaster per year.

Loss Avoidance Methodology

To verify the effectiveness of flood mitigation projects (specifically residential acquisitions), FEMA and the State of Missouri evaluated projects in nine communities throughout eight counties in eastern Missouri. This study quantifies the losses avoided for storm events that occurred in 2008 as a result of projects implemented starting in 1993.

Eureka, Missouri, on March 22, 2008. Flood water stranded cattle are being rescued in the region.

Eureka, Missouri, on March 22, 2008. Flood water stranded cattle are being rescued in the region.

Return on Investment

In response to repeated flooding, local governments in Missouri acquired 4,045 repetitive-loss properties from 1993-2008. Property owners were given the option of participating in the voluntary acquisition project if their properties had been affected by the 1993/1994 or 1995 floods. In the case of buildings that were acquired before the 1995 flood, significant losses were avoided in the 1995 event and communities experienced an immediate return on investment. Following the floods in the spring and summer of 2008 in the Midwest, FEMA initiated a loss avoidance study to assess the effectiveness of the acquisition/ demolition projects for residential buildings in the affected areas in eastern Missouri along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.


Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 2002. Success Stories from the Missouri Buyout Program. Kansas City, Missouri: FEMA Region VII.

FEMA-1749-DR-MO, 1 April 2009. Map of Missouri shows approximate property location and Disaster Declarations per county since 1999: Lewis: 2; Marion: 3; Lincoln: 5; St. Charles: 5; Jefferson: 6; Cape Girardeau: 5; Bollinger: 4; Wayne: 3.

Figure 1. Property locations 
Last updated February 11, 2021