Main Content

Living with Levees: Levee Resources for the Media

This section provides information to members of the media that may be reporting in communities near levees. Reporters and journalists can find information regarding how to communicate facts about levees and useful links to video and photo libraries featuring images of levees and nearby communities.

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 important to remember that levees reduce the risk of flooding. They do not eliminate it. Over time, levees can and do deteriorate and must be maintained to retain their effectiveness. 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. Improper drainage, erosion, seepage, subsidence, and even earthquakes can all cause levees to fail and result in catastrophic flooding.

The responsibility of living in an area with levees is a shared one. FEMA is responsible for identifying and mapping risk; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for operating and maintaining levees in the Federal levee system; local governments, communities and private levee owners are responsible for maintaining their levees; and citizens are responsible for knowing the risks and taking steps to safeguard their homes, businesses and families.

For more information, follow the links below to access background information regarding levees and news releases and advisories related to levees, 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, web 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.

FloodSmart Video Library

FloodSmart Video Library

View homeowners’ stories of recovery from levee-related flooding at FloodSmart’s Video Library:


Home rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina

Denise Thornton and her family were able to rebuild their home in New Orleans after the devastation Hurricane Katrina left in its wake.


Financial recovery following an unexpected flood

In an area that rarely flooded, the Lusks recovered financially while many of their neighbors without flood insurance lost everything.


FloodSmart Levee Simulator

FloodSmart Levee SimulatorFloodSmart’s interactive Levee Simulator demonstrates how levees function and the different ways levees can fail. It helps users understand that there is always a risk associated with living near a levee.

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 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 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: 
05/03/2018 - 11:09