Des Moines 408 Review

Rock Island District
Published Oct. 30, 2023
Map of downtown Des Moines, Iowa, levees

Map of downtown Des Moines, Iowa, levees


Des Moines Metropolitan Area


This project is a proposal to raise portions of Des Moines I, II and III levee systems, and to raise and relocate portions of the Southeast Des Moines levee system, which is part of the Lake Red Rock Remedial Works. The proposed levee raises range from approximately 6 inches to 4.0 feet. The purpose of the proposed levee raise is to comply with FEMA’s levee certification requirements.


In May 2017, the city of Des Moines submitted an initial comprehensive plan that described all the proposed levee modifications and associated mitigation actions the City is requesting Section 408 permissions. The Rock Island District reviewed this plan and approved it on July 20, 2018. The Rock Island District also entered into a cultural programmatic agreement with the City and the State Historical Preservation Office to ensure compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.


Following the approval of this conceptual plan the city began submitting detailed plans for each levee system for final review and approval. The City has identified eight phases (A-H) for submittal of detailed plans. Phase A was approved in 2020. Phases B and C were approved in 2022. Phase E 30% plans were reviewed and approved in 2022. The City is actively advancing design and real estate acquisition processes on the remaining portions of the levee system, nothing is currently under 408 review with USACE. In September of 2022 the City requested through the District's Levee Safety Program that USACE partner with the City to conduct a semi-quantitative risk assessment (SQRA) on the Des Moines I levee. The outcome of this study will influence the design of the remaining phases. The SQRA Cost Share Agreement was executed in July 2023.

Additional Information


33 USC 408 (Section 408) and Lake Red Rock Remedial Works Authorities

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost

$ 976,000

Estimated Non-Federal Cost

$ 559,000

Estimated Total Project Cost

$ 1,535,000

Allocations Prior to FY 2023

$ 415,000

FY 2023 Allocation

$ 45,000

FY 2024 Allocation


FY 2024 President’s Budget

$ 0

FY 2024 Total Capability



Major Work Item Prior Fiscal Year

FY 2023: During FY 2023, the District continued to review and coordination city of Des Moines’s Sec 408 request to ensure responses and determinations align with the city's construction schedule. The city is designing and constructing these modifications at their expense.

 Major Work Item Current Year

FY 2024: If funded, work will proceed with coordination with the City and their A/E design firms, review and approval of final plans and specifications, review of real estate requirements, and ensure environmental compliance on phases D-H segments. The District also plans to conduct a semi-quantitative risk assessment on the Des Moines I levee at the request of the city.