USACE Program Levees

Two parallel levees in an urban setting.It is a common misperception that USACE manages all levees in the nation.  In reality, the levees included in the USACE Levee Safety Program represent only about 10 percent of the nation’s levees (as estimated by the National Committee on Levee Safety).  However, more than 10 million people live or work behind USACE program levees.  For this reason, USACE considers its role in assessing, communicating and managing risk to be a top priority.

Levee In and Outside the Levee Safety Program

Key Program Definitions

Levee A man-made structure, usually an earthen embankment or concrete floodwall, designed and constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices to contain, control, or divert the flow of water so as to provide reasonable assurance of excluding temporary flooding from the leveed area. 
Levee Segment  A discrete portion of a levee system that is operated and maintained by a single entity. 
Levee System  One or more levee segments and other features such as floodwalls and pump stations, which are interconnected and necessary to ensure exclusion of the design flood from the associated leveed area. 
Leveed Area  The lands from which flood water is excluded by the levee system. 



  • National Levee Database The National Levee Database contains detailed information on levees.
  • USACE Rehabilitation and Inspection Program  Information about the USACE Rehabilitation and Inspection Program (in accordance with Public Law (P.L.) 84-99), which provides federal rehabilitation assistance for eligible flood risk reduction structures. 
  • So You Live Behind a Levee A brochure developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers with basic information about levees and how to prepare for flood events.