Line handlers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District and the Philip R. Clarke moor the ship in the Poe Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. on Jan. 16, 2024. The Philip R. Clarke was the last ship through the Soo Locks for the 2023-2024 Great Lakes navigation season.


Levee Safety

Published Jan. 16, 2024
Updated: Jan. 16, 2024
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District Emergency Management Chief George Minges and Emergency Management Planner Jeff Brooks wrap a levee with plastic during flood fight training, Feb. 9, 2023 in Frankfort, Kentucky.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District Emergency Management Chief George Minges and Emergency Management Planner Jeff Brooks wrap a levee with plastic during flood fight training, Feb. 9, 2023 in Frankfort, Kentucky. The Louisville District Emergency Management team also provided training on other flood fighting techniques and an overview of USACE capabilities for fighting floods. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Charles Delano)

Levee systems are part of our nation’s landscape and important to communities because of the benefits they provide. For example, more than 13 million people live or work behind levees in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Levee Safety Program. And, public and private property worth more than one trillion dollars are behind these levees.

Through, the Levee Safety Program, USACE partners with levee sponsors to manage more than 1,600 levees across the U.S. that help reduce flood risk to people, businesses, critical infrastructure and the environment.

USACE and levee sponsors work together to understand the benefits and risks associated with levees, build awareness among the public, fulfill daily responsibilities on levees, and take actions to manage the future performance of the levee.

The USACE Levee Safety Program serves as an organizing framework to improve consistency and coordination in how levee-related activities are implemented across USACE. Key program activities include levee inspections, risk assessments, and sharing levee information. These activities are intended to support defendable levee decisions and more aware communities and members of the public.

Levee Safety Program Guidance

USACE recently published Engineer Circular 1165-2-218: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Levee Safety Program, which informs how USACE implements its Levee Safety Program. The Engineer Circular will expire two years after publication. USACE will work with its partners to implement and improve this guidance during this two-year period and issue more permanent agency guidance based on input and lessons learned.

Helpful Links and Resources:

  • View all comments submitted during the open comment period on the Federal Register docket.
  • Read a draft summary of the comments received during the open comment period, to be finalized once the Engineer Circular is published, here.
  • Take a look at this fact sheet that covers key facts about the Levee Safety Program and PL 84-99 Rehabilitation Program, here.

Levee Design Manual Update

USACE is updating Engineer Manual (EM) 1110-2-1913, which provides guidance for evaluating, designing, and constructing levees. This is the first significant update to the manual since 2000.

A fact sheet about EM 1110-2-1913 is available here.

The latest draft of the manual is available for download and review here. All final comments must be submitted to no later than January 31, 2024.

A recorded presentation from the team of the manual updates, highlighting stakeholder feedback and updates and changes to the draft manual, is available here.

Relief Wells Engineer Manual Update

USACE is finalizing updates to Engineer Manual (EM) 1110-2-1914, which provides guidance for the design, construction, and maintenance of relief wells, focusing on their use at dams and levees. This is the first update to the manual since it was published in 1992.

Helpful Links and Resources:

  • The latest version of EM 1110-2-1914 – Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Relief Wells is available for download and review here.
  • A fact sheet on EM 1110-2-1914 is available here.
  • USACE hosted webinars to discuss the draft for review.

Levee Portfolio Report

Want to learn more about USACE Levee Safety Program levees? Check out the Levee Portfolio report for more information:

National Levee Safety Program Initiative

Congress has authorized development of a National Levee Safety Program, a new initiative being co-led by USACE and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This program is focused on developing tools and resources to support all stakeholders across the Nation in promoting consistent levee management, reducing flooding impacts, and increasing community resilience in areas behind levees. Tools and resources include a consistent set of national best practices, a database of the most complete data record for all levees, and various types of assistance (e.g., templates and training). More information on the National Levee Safety Program and upcoming opportunities to offer input is available by visiting

National Levee Database

The National Levee Database, captures all known levees in the U.S. It is designed to provide a variety of users the ability to search for specific data about levees and serves as a national resource to support awareness and actions to address flooding.

National Levee Database
Levee Safety Program
Chick Lock

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