Find the Information You Need About Levee Risk, Safety, Accreditation, Mapping and More
- Levee Basics: Resources
- Levee Safety Resources
- FEMA Levee Accreditation and Mapping Resources
- For More Information
Levee Basics: Resources
Get the basics on levees and levee risk through the selection of FEMA levee fact sheets listed below. The latest information on levee-related topics can be found on the FEMA Levee Homepage. Resources designed specifically for the media are available through the Levee Media Resources webpage.
FloodSmart’s Levee webpage features the interactive Levee Simulator, designed to help users understand the different ways that levees can fail, video testimonials of homeowners affected by levees, and more.
FEMA Fact Sheets
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District’s Corps Concepts program features a series of online videos explaining the basics of levees and levee systems, levee inspections and other topics.
Levee Safety Resources
FEMA’s levee stakeholder information webpages contain detailed information on levee risk and taking action to be prepared for levee-related flooding:
Additionally, FEMA’s preparedness website, Ready.gov also features critical information on disaster preparedness when it comes to levees and other types of disasters.
The American Society of Civil Engineers’ preparedness guide, So You Live Behind a Levee!, outlines both the risks associated with levees, and steps that can be taken to prepare for levee-related disasters. Similarly, the Association of State Floodplain Manager’s brochure, Levee Residual Risk Areas: Are You at Risk?, explains the concept of levee residual risk and actions that can be taken by the public to reduce this risk.
National Committee on Levee Safety
With the passage of the National Levee Safety Program Act of 2007, the U.S. Congress created the National Committee on Levee Safety (NCLS) “to develop recommendations for a national levee safety program, including a strategic plan for implementation of the program.” The Committee consists of representatives of state, regional, and local agencies, the private sector, and federal agencies including the U.S Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. The NCLS website features a wealth of information on levee safety, including their January 2009 report to Congress on the subject, and numerous other levee safety white papers, in addition to basic information on levees, and their quarterly newsletter, Levee Safety Connections.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Resources
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Levee Safety Program assesses the integrity and viability of levees and recommends ways to keep the public safe. Their Program webpages feature reference documents, the latest Program activities, information on the USACE’s levee inspection process, and more.
The USACE’s National Levee Database contains safety information on many of the nation’s levees, featuring specific information on design, construction, and maintenance. FEMA’s Mid-Term Levee Inventory database, which focuses on levee ownership, accreditation and flood protection status of levees in communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program will be integrated with the National Levee Database in the near future. For additional information on FEMA’s Mid-Term Levee Inventory, contact your FEMA Regional Office.
FEMA Levee Accreditation and Mapping Resources
FEMA Levee Accreditation and Mapping
Levees that are designed to provide protection from at least the 1%-annual-chance flood may be accredited by FEMA, and areas immediately behind them mapped as a moderate-risk zone on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for a community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In order for a levee to be accredited by FEMA and shown on a FIRM as providing protection from the 1%-annual-chance flood, the levee must first be certified by a Professional Engineer or a Federal Agency that designs levees that it is in compliance with the requirements outlined in Section 65.10 of the NFIP regulations and the appropriate documentation included.
FEMA does not build, own or certify levees. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for building and maintaining USACE-owned levees and for inspecting those structures to determine their level of maintenance. States, communities, and private levee owners are responsible for maintaining and operate the levees they own according to specific design criteria.
USACE Engineering Circular 1110-2-6067 (USACE Process For the National Flood Insurance Program Levee System Evaluation) issued August 31, 2010 comprehensively outlines the USACE’s policy for levee system evaluations performed by the USACE for FEMA NFIP accreditation of levees. For additional USACE documents relating to levee assessment visit the USACE's Levee Safety Program Key Documents web page.
Upcoming Changes to FEMA’s Levee Mapping Approach
FEMA is currently assessing the approach used to analyze areas on the landward side of non-accredited levees on Flood Insurance Rate Maps, and is developing more precise methods to identify flood hazards in these areas. Get the latest information on the Levee Analysis and Mapping Approach webpage and the FEMA Levee Homepage.
FEMA Fact Sheets and Other Documentation on Levee Accreditation and Mapping
Provisionally Accredited Levees (PALs)
When reasonably expected to continue to provide protection against the 1%-annual-chance flood, levees may be provisionally accredited by FEMA in order to facilitate the certification and accreditation process. Additional information on PALs is available in the following documents:
Levee-Related FEMA Procedure Memorandums
The Levee Procedure Memorandums fact sheet summarizes guidance delivered in all levee-related Procedure Memorandums PMs issued by FEMA. These PMs discuss various topics relating to levee mapping, accreditation, and PALs and in some cases provide clarification of information set forth in Appendix H of the FEMA Guidelines and Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping. These PMs in their entirety are accessible at the links below.
- PM 34 (Issued August 22, 2005): Interim Guidance for Studies including Levees
- PM 43 (Issued March 16, 2007 - originally issued September 25, 2006): Guidelines for Identifying Provisionally Accredited Levees
- PM 45 (Issued May 12, 2008): Revisions to Accredited Levee and Provisionally Accredited Levee Notation
- PM 51 (Issued February 27, 2009): Guidance for Mapping of Non-Levee Embankments Previously Identified as Accredited
- PM 52 (Issued April 24, 2009): Guidance for Mapping Processes Associated with Levee Systems
- PM 53 (Issued April 24, 2009): Guidance for Notification and Mapping of Expiring Provisionally Accredited Levee Designations
- PM 63 (Issued September 2, 2010): Guidance for Reviewing Levee Accreditation Submittals
Levee System Construction and Restoration Projects
Information on levee system construction and restoration projects, including the use of Zones A99 and AR on Flood Insurance Rate Maps is available through the Levee System Construction and Restoration Projects Homepage.
For More Information
For more information or additional assistance: