Levees play a critical role in protecting many American communities and their economies at risk of dangerous flooding. Those in the USACE Levee Safety Program protect over 300 universities, 30 professional sports venues, 100 breweries, and an estimated $1.3 trillion in property. During floods in the summer of 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated that levees in the south, central, and southwestern United States prevented more than $13.1 billion in damage. Along the Mississippi River decades of levee upgrades have prevented $306 billion in flood damage prevention, equating to a 24-to-1 return on investment of that infrastructure. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which encourages flood risk mitigation activities and requires at-risk homeowners to purchase insurance, saves the national economy $1.7 billion in avoided losses due to flooding.
With ownership and maintenance responsibilities for U.S. levees spread across multiple jurisdictions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), USACE, and local partners have undertaken efforts to increase coordination across agencies for levee inventories, inspections, safety ratings, and public awareness, including development of public safety and information programs.Back to Levees