Levee Safety Program: Iowa

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published Feb. 26, 2015
Updated: April 3, 2024
USACE Levee Safety Program Logo

USACE Levee Safety Program Logo


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Levee Safety Program was created in 2006 to assess the integrity and viability of levees and to make sure that levee systems do not present unacceptable risks to the public, property and environment.


The basic objectives of the Levee Safety Program are to develop balanced and informed assessments of levees within the program; evaluate, prioritize and justify levee safety decisions; and recommend improvements to public safety associated with levee systems. The Corps created the National Levee Database, inventoried all levees in the program and improved inspection procedures. The Corps is developing a method to manage its levee systems and is reviewing and revising current levee-related policies and procedures.

The Levee Safety Program is composed of more than 14,000 miles of levees and includes: systems operated and maintained by the Corps; federally authorized systems locally operated and maintained and covered under the Corps Inspection of Completed Works programs; and locally constructed, operated, and maintained systems in accordance with Public Law 84‒99.


The Corps, in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), continues to communicate our ongoing activities and identification of the benefits, risks and flood risk management measures on levee systems in our portfolio. The Corps has completed screening level assessments to understand the risks associated with each levee system, which will be utilized to inform the communication effort with local sponsors. Formal inspections of all federal levees system are conducted on a five-year frequency to determine the ongoing eligibility of the system and evaluate operation and maintenance practices.

For levee systems with complex issues, project sponsors can maintain eligibility through the Corps system-wide improvement framework (SWIF) process while implementing improvements to the levee system. Currently, there are no systems in the state of Iowa that are engaged in this process.

Levee Systems in St. Paul District Portfolio

Federally authorized levee systems, locally operated and maintained:

  • Guttenberg, Iowa
  • Decorah, Iowa (2 levee systems)
  • New Albin, Iowa (federal channel, no levees)