44 CFR 9.7 - Determination of proposed action's location.
(a) The purpose of this section is to establish Agency procedures for determining whether any action as proposed is located in or affects (1) the base floodplain (the Agency shall substitute the 500-year floodplain for the base floodplain where the action being proposed involves a critical action), or (2) a wetland.
(b) Information needed. The Agency shall obtain enough information so that it can fulfill the requirements of the Orders to (1) avoid floodplain and wetland locations unless they are the only practicable alternatives; and (2) minimize harm to and within floodplains and wetlands. In all cases, FEMA shall determine whether the proposed action is located in a floodplain or wetland. In the absence of a finding to the contrary, FEMA may assume that a proposed action involving a facility or structure that has been flooded is in the floodplain. Information about the 100-year and 500-year floods and location of floodways and coastal high hazard areas may also be needed to comply with these regulations, especially § 9.11. The following additional flooding characteristics shall be identified by the Regional Administrator as appropriate:
(i) Velocity of floodwater;
(ii) Rate of rise of floodwater;
(iii) Duration of flooding;
(iv) Available warning and evacuation time and routes;
(v) Special problems:
(D) Sink holes;
(E) Ice jams;
(F) Debris load;
(H) Wave heights;
(I) Groundwater flooding;
(c) Floodplain determination.
(1) In the search for flood hazard information, FEMA shall follow the sequence below:
(i) The Regional Administrator shall consult the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) the Flood Boundary Floodway Map (FBFM) and the Flood Insurance Study (FIS).
(ii) If a detailed map (FIRM or FBFM) is not available, the Regional Administrator shall consult an FEMA Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) . If data on flood elevations, floodways, or coastal high hazard areas are needed, or if the map does not delineate the flood hazard boundaries in the vicinity of the proposed site, the Regional Administrator shall seek the necessary detailed information and assistance from the sources listed below.
(iii) If the sources listed do not have or know of the information necessary to comply with the Orders' requirements, the Regional Administrator shall seek the services of a Federal or other engineer experienced in this type of work.
(2) If a decision involves an area or location within extensive Federal or state holdings or a headwater area, and an FIS, FIRM, FBFM, or FHBM is not available, the Regional Administrator shall seek information from the land administering agency before information and/or assistance is sought from the sources listed in this section. If none of these sources has information or can provide assistance, the services of an experienced Federal or other engineer shall be sought as described above.
(d) Wetland determination. The following sequence shall be followed by the Agency in making the wetland determination.
(1) The Agency shall consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for information concerning the location, scale and type of wetlands within the area which could be affected by the proposed action.
(2) If the FWS does not have adequate information upon which to base the determination, the Agency shall consult wetland inventories maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, various states, communities and others.
(3) If state or other sources do not have adequate information upon which to base the determination, the Agency shall carry out an on-site analysis performed by a representative of the FWS or other qualified individual for wetlands characteristics based on the performance definition of what constitutes a wetland.
(4) If an action is in a wetland but not in a floodplain, and the action is new construction, the provisions of this regulation shall apply. Even if the action is not in a wetland, the Regional Administrator shall determine if the action has the potential to result in indirect impacts on wetlands. If so, all adverse impacts shall be minimized. For actions which are in a wetland and the floodplain, completion of the decision-making process is required. (See § 9.6.) In such a case the wetland will be considered as one of the natural and beneficial values of floodplain.