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Living with Levees: NFIP Levee Resources for the Media

This section provides National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) information to members of the media who may be interested in levee mapping issues or reporting in communities with levees. Reporters and journalists can find information regarding how to communicate information about levees and useful links to FEMA video and photo libraries featuring images of communities and levees.

Know Your Risk, Know Your Role, Take Action Today!

 Michael Rieger/FEMANashville, Tenn., May 4, 2010 -- FEMA is completing aerial preliminary damage assessments over Tennessee following the severe storms and floods that have damaged or destroyed homes and businesses in May 2010.  David Fine/FEMAFayetteville, N.C., September 2, 2010 -- FEMA Public Information Officer Ted Stuckey answers questions from a reporter about FEMA supplies being staged at Fort Bragg. At the state's request, FEMA will provide food, water and other essential supplies to communities affected by Hurricane Earl. David Fine / FEMA

Communicating the Facts About Levees

While reporting on levee issues, it is critically important to remember that levees may reduce the risk of flooding, but they do not eliminate it. When levees fail, or are overtopped, the results can be catastrophic. In fact, the flood damage can be greater than if the levee had not been built.

Even without a major flood, levees can fail if they are not properly maintained. Levees can and do deteriorate and must be maintained to retain their effectiveness. Improper drainage, erosion, seepage, subsidence, and even earthquakes can all cause levees to fail and result in catastrophic flooding.

When it comes to working with communities on levee-related issues, FEMA shares a mission of public safety with its State partners and other Federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). That mission entails helping levee owners, flood control districts, community officials, floodplain managers, the media, and other relevant stakeholders understand and properly communicate the risks associated with living and working in levee-impacted areas. This can sometimes be particularly challenging because, while a levee is designed to reduce flood risk, it does not eliminate the risk of flooding.

When reporting on levees, it is important for the general public to fully understand their risk. For example, this means knowing their community’s evacuation plans in the event of a flood or levee failure. It also means considering purchasing flood insurance, even if not required to do so. Twenty percent of flood insurance claims come from properties located outside the Special Flood Hazard Area, and flood insurance can help significantly in the recovery process.

Follow the links below to access background information, news releases, and advisories related to levees and to search levee-specific photos by FEMA Region or State and view levee-related video. If you need additional information or would like to request an interview, contact the Regional External Affairs Office serving your area.

Publications and Fact Sheets

Visit FEMA’s Levee Resources Library for comprehensive information on levees, levee risk, levee safety and mapping, including downloadable fact sheets, online resources, and more.

FEMA Photo Library

The FEMA Photo Library contains thousands of images from across the United Sates. Using the search function on the Photo Library page, type in the keyword ‘levee’ anFEMA Photo Libraryd chose the appropriate State from the location dropdown box.

Get Assistance

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 Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX) through the following methods:

  • Call (1-877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) Monday through Friday, 8:00 am through 7:00 pm (Eastern Time)
  • Email the FMIX
  • Chat with a Map Specialist Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time)

Subscribe to receive flood hazard mapping updates via email.

Last Updated: 
06/03/2020 - 10:34