Levee System Construction & Restoration Projects

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This page provides information on FEMA regulatory and procedural requirements for adequate progress (Zone A99) determinations. Information on this page is intended for State and Local Officials.

Adequate Progress (Zone A99) Requirements

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) develops and enforces regulatory and procedural requirements for levee systems that are being constructed for the first time or that are being restored or modified to provide risk reduction at least to the 1-percent-annual-chance flood.

Communities, state agencies or federal agencies may restore the flood risk reduction capability of existing levee systems to address flood hazards and reduce flood risks in a particular community or particular area of a state. When such projects involve restoration of a levee system a community may choose to submit the appropriate data and documentation to request that FEMA make a “flood protection restoration” determination. Requirements and criteria are cited in Section 61.12 of Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations), the  Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (Public Law 113-89) and in FEMA guidance and standards.

Risks Associated with Levee Systems

It is vital for individuals to understand the risks associated with living or working in levee-impacted areas and the steps they can take to mitigate these risks. Everyone should understand that even the best flood risk reduction system cannot completely eliminate the risk of flooding. Levee systems are designed to provide a specific level of risk reduction and larger flood events can cause levees to be overtopped or fail. Levee systems also decay and deteriorate over time, so regular maintenance and periodic upgrades are needed to ensure a levee retains its level of risk reduction and continues to perform as designed. When levee systems do fail, the resulting damage, including loss of life, may be more significant than if the levee system had not been built.

Overview of an “Adequate Progress” Determination

In accordance with Section 61.12 of Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations) and requirements in Section 19 of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, Pub. L. 113-89 (2014), 42 U.S.C. §4014 (e), FEMA issues “adequate progress” determinations for flood control system construction projects that, once completed, may significantly limit the area of a community that will be included in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) identified on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The SFHA, also known as the high-risk area, is the area that will be inundated by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood.

For FEMA to consider issuing an “adequate progress” determination, FEMA must receive a written application from the community documenting that certain project financing considerations and project construction milestones have been met. Such projects reduce but do not eliminate, the risk of flooding to people and structures in “levee-impacted” areas.

Requirements Before Issuance

The FEMA Regional Office that serves the affected community/communities must receive information from the sponsoring community/communities indicating that:

  • 100 percent of the total financial project cost of the completed flood control system has been authorized;
  • At least 60 percent of the total financial project cost of the completed flood control system has been appropriated;
  • At least 50 percent of the total financial project cost of the completed flood control system has been expended;
  • All critical features of the flood control system, as identified by FEMA, are under construction and each critical feature is at least 50 percent completed as measured by the actual expenditure of the estimated construction budget funds; and
  • The community has not been responsible for any delay in the completion of the system.

Requesting a Determination

To request an “adequate progress” determination, the community Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or designee must submit a written request to the FEMA Regional Office that serves the community. Regional Office addresses and contact information are accessible through the FEMA website. Each request must include “a complete statement of all relevant facts” relating to the system, as detailed in Paragraph 61.12(c) of the NFIP regulations.

Data and Documentation Requirements

The data and documentation to be submitted with each request includes but is not limited to, the following:

  • Supporting technical data (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project data);
  • Cost schedules;
  • Budget appropriation data;
  • Full and precise statement of the purpose of the system;
  • Information sufficient to identify all persons affected by the system/project;
  • Carefully detailed description of the project, including construction completion target dates;
  • True copies of all contracts, agreements, leases, instruments and other documents; and
  • Calculations to establish the present value of the project when the present value is to be used to support any of the above criteria.

Project Statement of Facts

Relevant facts reflected in the submitted documents must be included in the project statement of facts. Each fact must not be merely incorporated by reference but must be accompanied by an analysis of its bearing on the requirements by specifying the pertinent provisions of Paragraph 61.12(b) of the NFIP regulations. The request must contain a statement whether, to the best of the knowledge of the person responsible for preparing the application for the community, the project is the subject of litigation before any federal, state or local court or administrative agency and the purpose of that litigation. The request must also contain a statement as to whether the community has previously requested an “adequate progress” determination from FEMA, detailing the disposition of that request.

Impact on a Community’s FIRM

Upon issuing an “adequate progress” determination to the community CEO or designee in writing, FEMA will revise the affected FIRM panel(s) to change the flood insurance risk zone designation for the levee-impacted area (that is, the area where the flood risk will be reduced once the project is complete) to Zone A99.

Impact on Property Owners

The flood insurance premium rates for properties located within the area designated Zone A99 will be the same as the standard lower (Zone X (shaded)) risk rates that would be applicable when the project is completed. However, the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement is still in effect for areas receiving the designation change. The adjusted rate goes into effect on the date the “adequate progress” determination is effective.

Impact on Floodplain Management and Building Requirements

At a minimum, the floodplain management and building requirements of Section 60.3 of the NFIP regulations – specifically, Subsections 60.3 (a)(1) through (a)(4)(i) and Subsections 60.3 (b)(5) through (b)(8) – apply in areas designated Zone A99 on an effective FIRM. NFIP participating communities must collect and maintain records documenting the following requirements in Zone A99 areas:

  • Floodplain management permits;
  • A determination whether the building site will be reasonably safe from flooding;
  • New or substantially improved building that are subject to flooding must be constructed by methods and practices to minimize flood damage; and
  • A review of subdivision proposals to determine whether proposed structures will be reasonably safe from flooding.

If a community chooses to adopt and enforce higher regulatory standards, these standards will be documented in the local floodplain management ordinance.

Removing the Zone 99 Designation From a FIRM

The Zone A99 designation can be removed if:

  • A community submits certification to the FEMA Regional Office that the project has been completed and the FEMA Regional Office confirms that the completed project provides adequate risk reduction to the 1-percent-annual-chance flood. In such cases, FEMA will change the flood insurance risk zone designation for the levee- impacted area from Zone A99 to Zone X (shaded);
  • At any time, all progress on the completion of the project has been halted or the project has been canceled. In such cases, FEMA will revise the affected FIRM panel(s) to present flood hazard and risk information based on the levee system not providing adequate risk reduction to the 1-percent-annual-chance flood. The levee-impacted area would be analyzed to determine how to properly map the resulting flood hazards.

Actions Required to Maintain the Zone A99 Designation

To maintain the Zone A99 designation on the affected FIRM panel(s), the community must certify that no present delay in completion of the project is attributable to local sponsors of the project and that a good faith effort to complete the project is being made. This certification is to be submitted to the FEMA Regional Office annually, on the anniversary date of receipt of the “adequate progress” determination.

If the community notifies the FEMA Regional Office that all progress on completion of the project has been halted or the project has been canceled, FEMA will revise the affected FIRM panel(s) to show the impacted area as Zone A or Zone AE, depending on the type of engineering study that had been performed for the flooding source.

Additional Resources

For additional levee information and resources, visit:

Levee System and Construction Projects - Page highlights the requirements, responsibilities and impacts of constructing or restoring levees.

Adequate Progress (Zone A99) Requirements - Fact sheet provides information on FEMA regulatory and procedural requirements for adequate progress (Zone A99) determinations.

Flood Protection Restoration (Zone AR) Requirements - Page provides information on FEMA regulatory and procedural requirements for flood protection restoration (Zone AR) determinations.

Get Assistance

Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions are provided for the following user groups: homeowners, engineers, surveyors and architects, insurance professionals and lenders and floodplain managers.

For additional information or assistance, contact a Map Specialist in the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) through the following methods:

  • Call (1-877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) Monday through Friday, 8:00 am through 6:30 pm (Eastern Time)
  • Email
  • Chat with a Map Specialist Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time)

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Last Updated: 
06/02/2015 - 15:54
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