Current Status

For the last several years, our region has worked to upgrade the 75-mile levee system that protects the American Bottoms and has helped prevent FEMA from issuing special flood hazard mapping that would negatively impact our region’s economic development. To accomplish this, the leadership of the region created the Flood Prevention District Council (FPD) to upgrade the levees to at least the 100-year level of protection. As of the end of May 2015, 57% of the work needed is complete, representing $34.5 million in improvements. The FPD expects to have substantially all of the work completed by year end.

This is a magnificent accomplishment, as those spearheading the project have had to overcome challenges with weather, obtaining necessary right of way for some projects and managing through a very difficult Corps of Engineers permitting and design process. The Corps itself has also invested tens of millions of dollars in improvements to the system.

As work progresses, our attention is shifting to the FEMA accreditation process and the updating of flood maps for our region. We expect to see the certifications from the Flood Prevention District go into FEMA for review beginning late this year. We anticipate a four-month FEMA review before receiving word that the levees are accredited for 100-year protection. The document submittals, including the flood risk assessment by the Corps of Engineers, will continue into mid-2016. This will lead to accreditation of all five levee systems that protect the American Bottoms by the end of 2016.

In fact, these levees were originally designed and built to protect from floods far above the 100-year incidence rate. In February, the FPD passed a resolution that said it is committed to improving the levees to their original authorized level of protection, which is often referred to as the 500-year level of protection. That is a very important decision for our area as we heard testimony regarding how important this level of protection is for future expansion and development. The Water Resources Development Act from last year allows work, in kind, to be performed to satisfy the local match for federal funds. This funding will allow this critical work to move forward over the next several years.

View a presentation from AMEC about the progress being made as of June 17, 2015.

For all the latest details, please see the Flood Prevention District Council’s most recent board meeting materials here. (

Milestones since August 2007

(Last updated June 2015)