Levee Safety Program

Rock Island District
Published Oct. 1, 2021
Levee System Map

Levee System Map


Rock Island District, Nationwide


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and non-federal levee sponsors work together to understand the risks associated with levees, build awareness among the public, fulfill daily responsibilities on the levee structure, and take actions to manage the future performance of the levee. The USACE Levee Safety Program (LSP) was designed to fulfill the following purposes:

• to ensure that new and existing levees are managed to continue providing the intended benefits to human lives and property;

• to encourage the use of appropriate engineering policies, procedures, and technical practices for levee site investigation, design, construction, operation and maintenance, inspection, assessment, and emergency preparedness;

• to build public awareness of the benefits and risks associated with living behind a levee; and

• to develop technical assistance materials, seminars, and guidelines to improve the reliability of levees of the United States.

Operation and maintenance (O&M) is an important component of the LSP. Corps districts utilize routine and periodic inspections to gather detailed information on the current condition of levee systems.  The detailed inspection data, along with other data, are used to conduct risk assessments.  These risk assessments may include qualitative and quantitative risk assessments, which are used for screening systems to identify consequences and key risk drivers associated with a levee system. 

USACE completed 103 routine annual levee inspections in FY21, which represents the full number of levees active in the Public Law 84-99 flood damage rehabilitation program.  In FY22 USACE will again complete routine annual levee inspections while gradually transitioning to the new draft EC 1165-2-218 guidance which includes changes to the inspection program. These changes include implementing formal inspections occurring at a 5-year frequency, and site visits occurring between formal inspections. This will replace the current practice of annual routine inspections. Formal inspections will be more detailed than the routine inspections that they replace, although formal inspections will occur at a lesser frequency.


In the Rock Island District, more than $6 billion dollars of real property and more than 40,000 people live or work behind levees in the USACE program. Congress appropriated funds to build levees with the assurance that the local sponsors would properly maintain this public investment. Congress mandated USACE to make sure that the levees were properly operated and maintained (O&M) and that risks are properly managed. MVR spends approximately $1.2 million annually in the levee safety program.

Our 70-year-old levee infrastructure continues to age as floods that test these systems seem to be occurring more frequently. MVR struggles with fully implementing the Levee Safety Act of 2007 as the district is behind in its required allocation of $33 Million/decade to fully fund the LSP. Therefore, full implementation of the USACE obligations have not been realized.  Funding for Levee Safety and the safety of our citizens directly competes with other O&M tasks for locks, dams and recreation facilities.

Additional Information


SI - Special Interest
National Levee Safety Act of 2007 contained in 2007 WRDA Title IX, WRRDA 2014

Summarized MVR Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost/10yr period


Estimated Non-Federal Cost


Estimated Total Project Cost


Allocations Prior to FY 2022


FY 2021 Allocation


FY 2022 Allocation


FY 2022 President’s Budget


FY 2022 Total Capability



Major Work Item Prior Fiscal Year

FY2021: The program moved forward with performing annual levee inspections, 5 detailed formal inspections, a semi-quantitative risk assessment of the Des Moines, IA (Birdland) levee system, and levee screening-level risk assessments.

Major Work Item Current Fiscal Year

FY2022: If funded, work will proceed with flood risk communication with local levee owners (sponsors) and communities, and with screening-level levee risk assessments. The program will transition to the new levee safety program guidance requirements in Engineering Circular 1165-2-218, which includes changes to the levee inspection program, such as replacing annual inspections with more detailed 5-year frequency formal inspections and interim site visits.