Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Levee Stories

From MSNBC dot com, May 2008
Army Corps says condition of levees unknown

Agency that oversees nation's levees lacks inventory of thousands of them.

The Army Corps of Engineers made a startling revelation in the light of recent storms in the US which have seen numerous people killed saying they have no inventory of the country's levees and no idea of their condition.

Recent wet weather in the US is creating concern within the Corp which oversees levees. A University of California at Berkeley levee expert said when an inventory is finally produced "I think we're not going to like what we find."

Last year, the National Levee Safety Act was passed in the US congress which so far has failed to provided funding for the inventory of levees the act promised and isn’t likely to do so until 2009.

Today, about 2,000 levees are either operated by the corps or by local entities in partnership with the corps, generally protecting major population areas such as St. Louis and New Orleans.

Thousands of others _ no one is sure how many _ are privately owned, operated and maintained. The majority of those are "farm" levees keeping water out of fields, but some protect populated areas, industries and businesses.

Here's a pdf list of "levees of maintenance concerns" compiled in February 2007. This list accompanied a blog post I did last May about the fact that substandard levees - the cause for New Orleans' flooding after Katrina - are not just located in the deep south.

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