This page outlines laws, regulations, and policies that guide development of FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plans by state, local, tribal, and territory governments. The intended audiences for this page include mitigation planners, emergency management professionals, and other public officials working to develop mitigation plans and reduce risk in their communities.
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), as amended by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, provides the legal basis for state, local, tribal, and territory governments to undertake risk-based approaches to reducing natural hazard risks through mitigation planning. Specifically, the Stafford Act requires state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to develop and adopt FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plans as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance.
The Stafford Act authorizes the following grant programs:
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which helps communities implement hazard mitigation measures following a Presidential major disaster declaration. This program also funds development and update of hazard mitigation plans.
- Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program (PDM), which awards planning and project grants to assist states, tribes and territories, and local communities in implementing sustained pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation programs. Such efforts may include development or update of hazard mitigation plans.
- Public Assistance Grant Program (PA), which provides assistance to state, tribal, territorial and local governments, and certain types of private nonprofit organizations so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President.
- Fire Management Assistance Grant Program (FMAG), which provides assistance to state, tribal, territorial and local governments for the mitigation, management, and control of fires on publicly or privately owned forests or grasslands that threaten such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.
The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) of 2013 amended the Stafford Act to provide federally-recognized tribal governments the option to request a Presidential emergency or major disaster declaration independent of a state. Tribal governments may still choose to seek assistance, as they have historically, under a state declaration request. For more information, visit the Tribal Declarations Pilot Guidance website.
Another law relevant to hazard mitigation planning is the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 4104c), which authorizes the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program with the goal of reducing or eliminating claims under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FMA provides funding to states, territories, tribes, and local communities for flood hazard mitigation projects, plan development, and management costs.
The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act was signed into law on December 16, 2016 adding a new grant program under FEMA's National Dam Safety Program. Section 5006 of the WIIN Act, Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams (HHPD), provides technical, planning, design, and construction assistance in the form of grants for rehabilitation of eligible high hazard potential dams. The HHPD Grant Program will provide funding to eligible applicant and subapplicants to rehabilitate, repair, or remove HHPDs.
See the Hazard Mitigation Plan Requirement page for more information on the specific circumstances under which this requirement applies to state, tribal, territorial and local governments applying for FEMA assistance through the programs discussed above.
Title 44, Chapter 1, Part 201 (44 CFR Part 201) of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains requirements and procedures to implement the hazard mitigation planning provisions of the Stafford Act.
The bullets below document the history of changes to the hazard mitigation planning regulations since 2002. The current regulations referenced above incorporate, or supersede, each of these rule changes.
- October 2, 2015 Final Rule (80 FR 59549): Restored sentences requiring amendments to plans
- December 19, 2014 Interim Final Rule (79 FR 76085): Updated references to "2 CFR parts 200 and 3002" and removed sentences requiring amendments to plans
- April 25, 2014 Final Rule (79 FR 22873): Change in submission requirements for State Mitigation Plans
- September 16, 2009, Final Rule (74 FR 47471): Final Rule with technical corrections
- October 31, 2007, Final Rule (72 FR 61552): Final Rule without change
- October 31, 2007, Interim Final Rule (72 FR 61720): Local plan requirements for flood hazards and new Tribal Mitigation Plan type
- September 13, 2004, Interim Final Rule (69 FR 55094): State and tribal extension option
- October 28, 2003, Interim Final Rule (68 FR 208): Local plan requirement clarification
- October 1, 2002, Interim Final Rule (67 FR 61512): Deadline extension
- February 26, 2002, Interim Final Rule (67 FR 8844): State and local planning requirements, funding authorization and increases
FEMA policies are external, authoritative statements that articulate the agency's intent and direction to guide decision-making and achieve rational outcomes for agency activities. The following mitigation planning guidance documents constitute FEMA’s official policy on and interpretation of the hazard mitigation planning requirements in 44 CFR Part 201.
- State Mitigation Plan Review Guide (March 2015)
- Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide (English) (October 2011)
- Guía de Revisión del Plan Local de Mitigación (Octubre 2011)
- Tribal Mitigation Plan Review Guide (December 2017)
Additional mitigation planning policies include:
- State Mitigation Plan Review Guide Policy (FP 302-094-2, March 6, 2015)
- Policy for use of Local Mitigation Planning Handbook (FP 302-094-1, March 29, 2013)
- Restrictions on Grant Obligations to State, Tribal and Local Governments without a FEMA-Approved Mitigation Plan (FP 306-112-1, August 19, 2013)
- Mitigation Planning (MT-PL) Memorandum #15: Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide (September 30, 2011)
- MT-PL #1: Disaster Declaration Procedures After May 1, 2005 for States Without an Approved State Mitigation Plan
- Mitigation Planning Memorandum (MT-PL) #1A: Implementation and Disaster Declaration Procedures for States, Territories and Indian Tribal Governments Without an Approved State Mitigation Plan - Follow-up Guidance (Attachment) (May 2, 2005)
To view prior hazard mitigation planning policy documents that have been superseded, visit the Hazard Mitigation Planning Policy Archive.
More information the mitigation plan requirement to include all dam risk in FEMA-approved mitigation plans in order to be eligible to receive funding from the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams (HHPD) Grant Program can be found in the HHPD Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).