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National Levee Safety

These web pages present a history of the work of the National Committee on Levee Safety, including a record of meetings, workshops, information sessions, and testimony before Congress.

Recommendations for a National Levee Safety Program

Ever since communities have been built next to rivers, there have been levees. Built to reduce the impacts of floods on people and property, today many of our nation's levees no longer provide the protection expected of them. In other areas, development has put a population at an increasing risk of flooding they may not fully understand. As time goes on, the risks of loss of life, property and environmental damage continue to increase.

Levees also play a large role in protecting our infrastructure, the very infrastructure that we depend on during an emergency event.

Although we do know that there are levees in all 50 states, the total number, location and condition of many of the nation's levees — and the population and property they protect — remains unknown. Preliminary estimates indicate there may be more than 100,000 miles of levees across the United States, and tens of millions of people live and work behind them.
Created by Congress, the National Committee on Levee Safety developed 20 recommendations for creating a National Levee Safety Program based on three central concepts:

  • National leadership via a National Levee Safety Program that includes an inventory and assessment of all the nation's levees, development of national levee safety standards, comprehensive risk communication and education, and coordination of environmental and safety concerns;
  • Strong state levee safety programs that provide oversight, critical levee safety processes, and support for community levee safety activities; and
  • A foundation of well-aligned federal agency programs and processes.

For More Information

Photo of rising waters in Illinois
IL, April 15, 2011 -- Flood Insurance: The Best Defense Against Rising Waters. Photo: Mike Moore/FEMA.