Recommendations for a National Levee Safety Program ...From the National Committee on Levee Safety

Aligning Existing Federal Programs


Recommendations for a National Levee Safety Program | Report to Congress | National Leadership | State Levee Safety Programs | Aligning Existing Federal Programs | Feedback on the National Levee Safety Program


Photo of PPalm Canyon, CA. Courtesy of Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.
Palm Canyon, CA. Courtesy of Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.
Photo of Lupines on the levee.
Lupines on a Sacramento River levee in Sacramento, California.
FEMA Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map.
FEMA Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map.

At the federal level, several agencies have a role in levee safety, either through programs covering levees built or operated under their jurisdictions (including the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), or as part of a broader national program such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program and Flood Hazard Mapping program.

These federal programs vary in scope, scale and available resources. There is currently no single agency with the authority to effectively align existing federal programs to promote effective incentives and disincentives for increased levee safety. This unaligned and diffused responsibility impedes the development of comprehensive safety programs and policies, impairs ongoing coordination, and prevents a sustained focus on the issue.

The NCLS recommends that federal programs that significantly impact governmental and individual decision-making in leveed areas must be aligned toward the goal of reliable levees, an informed, involved public, and shared responsibility for protection of human life and mitigation of public and private economic damages. Harmonization of federal levee-related programs and requirements would provide a consistency for states and communities, and incentives for the development of strong levee safety programs.

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View of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. August 2005.
View of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. August 2005.

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Test Your Levee IQ

What percentage of the approximately 15,000 miles of levees in US Army Corps of Engineers Levee Safety Program are operated and maintained by local sponsors?

  1. 10%
  2. 25%
  3. 65%
  4. 85%

Answers to this, and past, questions.