FEMA Levee Resources Library

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This page provides information specific to levees including risk, safety, accreditation and mapping. Included are basic resources, definitions and general fact sheets, as well as technical information including levee accreditation and mapping resources. This page is intended for the general public and state and local officials.

Levee Basics: Resources

FEMA Resources

Community backing on to a leveeGet 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

FEMA Levee Outreach toolkit

FEMA has developed a Levee Outreach Toolkit to assist in local outreach efforts regarding levees.  The toolkit includes templated, flexible materials which local government officials, real estate, lending, and insurance professionals, and others can adapt and use to effectively communicate about flood risks behind levees and the flood insurance implications of levee status changes.  The Levee Outreach Toolkit materials are available through the following webpages:

Other Resources

FEMA and community officials discuss the unique risks associated with levees and the steps that communities and residents can take to ensure their safety in the Levee Officials Video available through FloodSmart.gov.

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 Resources

FEMA’s levee stakeholder information webpages contain detailed information on levee risk and taking action to be prepared for levee-related flooding:A levee assessment team at work.

Additionally, FEMA’s preparedness website, Ready.gov also features critical information on disaster preparedness when it comes to levees and other types of disasters.

Other Resources

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.

Levee Analysis & Mapping Approach Released

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released its Analysis and Mapping Procedures for Non-Accredited Levees on July 12, 2013. Review additional information available on the FEMA Levee Analysis and Mapping Approach page.

FEMA Levee Accreditation and Mapping Resources

FEMA Levee Accreditation and Mapping

Community near an accredited levee 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 page.

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 Guidelines and Standards

FEMA’s guidelines and standards related to levees and the accreditation process is available through the Guidelines and Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping page. The Levee Procedure Memorandums fact sheet summarizes guidance delivered in all levee-related Procedure Memorandums issued by FEMA. These documents provide guidance on various topics relating to levee mapping, accreditation and PALs and in some cases provide clarification of information set forth in Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners, Appendix H: Guidance for Mapping or Areas Protected by Levee Systems (Apr 2003).

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.

Levee Seclusion Mapping

Levee seclusion mapping was developed by FEMA as a method to allow the release of revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for communities that include one or more levees that have not been demonstrated to meet the requirements of 44CFR 65.10 regarding the levee’s ability to provide 1% annual chance flood risk reduction and whose release has been delayed or otherwise impacted by the development of the levee analysis and mapping approach for non-accredited levees.  Levee seclusion mapping allows the preliminary revised FIRM to become effective by adding a “seclusion” boundary to the FIRM around the areas impacted by a non-accredited levee and maintaining the flood hazard information in effect prior to the FIRM update within this boundary. In addition, explanatory notes are added to the FIRM and to the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report explaining that the flood hazards within the seclusion boundary are subject to revision at a later date when the updated levee analysis and mapping approach is applied.

Levee seclusion mapping will allow FEMA to provide community officials, residents and business owners with updated flood hazard information outside the areas impacted by levees where compliance with 44CFR 65.10 has not been demonstrated and levee-related flood hazards will be updated at a later time.

Not every FIRM update is eligible for levee seclusion mapping. Visit Levee Seclusion Mapping in the FEMA Library for more information on levee seclusion mapping, eligibility, flood hazards associated with secluded levees, secluded levees depiction on FIRMs and other additional resources.

For More Information

Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions are provided for the following user groups: homeowners, engineers, surveyors and architects, insurance professionals and lenders and floodplain managers.

For additional information or assistance, contact a Map Specialist in the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) through the following methods:

  • Call (1-877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) Monday through Friday, 8:00 am through 6:30 pm (Eastern Time)
  • Email FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com
  • Chat with a Map Specialist Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time)

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Last Updated: 
04/21/2015 - 14:20
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