Floods & floodplain planning

We lead floodplain management in Washington by providing technical assistance and grants to local communities to help them better plan within a floodplain. We work to reduce life and property losses, and protect the environmental functions that floodplains offer.

Technical assistance and planning

National Flood Insurance Program  We assist local governments with the National Flood Insurance Program managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). We provide technical assistance, flood ordinance reviews, and community assistance visits to communities.  

Critical Areas Ordinance & Frequently Flooded Areas  Washington cities and counties are required to periodically review and update their Critical Areas Ordinances (CAO). To promote safety from floods, frequently flooded areas are covered by the CAO. For more information, see Guidance for Floodplains: Critical Area Ordinance (CAO).

Information about Washington's shorelines including public access, beach closures, and flood hazard maps can be found on our Washington State Coastal Atlas.

We have regional floodplain management staff in Spokane, Yakima, Bellevue, and Olympia to assist communities. For more information, contact the floodplain specialist for your area listed below.

Floodplain grants

Floodplains by Design is our primary grant program for floodplain projects. This partnership of local governments, state and federal agencies, and private organizations works to coordinate multi-benefit projects that reduce flood hazards and restore the natural functions of the floodplain.

The Flood Control Assistance Account Program is the main source of floodplain management planning funds. Due to budget constraints, we can only provide emergency assistance grants at this time.

Risk MAP: Flood maps & more

We work in partnership with FEMA to run the Risk MAP program in Washington. This program delivers high-quality data, risk assessment tools, and mitigation expertise to local and tribal governments and communities to reduce risks from natural hazards, including floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and landslides.