Levee Safety Program

Levee systems are part of our nation’s landscape and important to communities because of the benefits they provide. For example, more than 13 million people live or work behind levees in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Levee Safety Program. And, public and private property worth more than one trillion dollars are behind these levees.

Through, the Levee Safety Program, USACE partners with levee sponsors to manage more than 1,600 levees across the U.S. that help reduce flood risk to people, businesses, critical infrastructure and the environment.

USACE and levee sponsors work together to understand the benefits and risks associated with levees, build awareness among the public, fulfill daily responsibilities on levees, and take actions to manage the future performance of the levee.

The USACE Levee Safety Program serves as an organizing framework to improve consistency and coordination in how levee-related activities are implemented across USACE. Key program activities include levee inspections, risk assessments, and sharing levee information. These activities are intended to support defendable levee decisions and more aware communities and members of the public.

Principles of the levee safety program:

  • Levees do not eliminate flood risk, but can provide critical time for local emergency management officials to evacuate residents safely. 
  • It is important to communicate accurate and timely information about the risk of living and working behind levees. Communicating risk-related issues and concerns, holding life safety as paramount, supports Corps and local decisions aimed at reducing risk. 
  • Levee safety is a component of a broader flood risk management approach. Levee safety actions should be incorporated into a community's Hazard Mitigation Plan. 
  • sustainable, systems and collaborative approach is the most effective way to manage and assess levees and other flood risk reduction methods. 
  • Levee safety and managing risks are shared responsibilities. With this, the Corps works closely with federal, state and local partners to share information and develop solutions. 

Levee Safety Program Guidance

USACE recently published Engineer Circular 1165-2-218: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Levee Safety Program, which informs how USACE implements its Levee Safety Program. The Engineer Circular will expire two years after publication. USACE will work with its partners to implement and improve this guidance during this two-year period and issue more permanent agency guidance based on input and lessons learned.

Helpful Links and Resources:

  • View all comments submitted during the open comment period on the Federal Register docket.
  • Read a draft summary of the comments received during the open comment period, to be finalized once the Engineer Circular is published, here.
  • Take a look at this fact sheet that covers key facts about the Levee Safety Program and PL 84-99 Rehabilitation Program,  here.