In 2007, Congress tasked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with a daunting task: create a user-friendly database of the nation’s estimated 100,000 miles of levees. Last Thursday, the Corps launched the National Levee Database, which currently includes 92% of federal levee systems (i.e., systems owned, operated and maintained by the Corps; systems constructed by the Corps but operated and maintained by local sponsors; and systems owned, operated and maintained by local entities that are active in the PL 84-99 program). The database is a work in progress but I would recommend flood plain managers, levee and drainage districts, property owners protected by a levee, and purchasers or lessees performing real estate due diligence explore this website – there is a plethora of information that has been centralized into one, user-friendly website.
I participated in a webinar last week introducing this new tool and the most impressive aspect is the mapping feature. It uses Google Earth to enable users to see component parts of a levee system and overlay federal datasets for flood insurance rate maps, data from the U.S. Geological Survey, real time weather conditions and forecasted water levels. The Corps intends to expand the database to include other federal levee systems as well as state and local flood protection systems as information becomes available. The database will be updated regularly as new inspections and reports become available.