81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas


WHEREAS, levee systems provide tremendous benefit to communities across the country, and in 2011 contributed to more than $120 billion of damages prevented; and

WHEREAS, in response to the damage caused by breach levees in Hurricane Katrina, Title IX of Water Resources Development Act of 2007 required the establishment of a national inventory of levees to help provide an accurate count of the nation’s levee system; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) estimates that there are about 15,000 miles of levees built under its flood control program. The additional miles built and maintained by states, localities and private entities are unknown; and

WHEREAS, subsequent to the requirements of the 2007 WRDA the USACE is working on a guidance document to be used as the basis for evaluation and certification of levees and flood control structures, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is requiring levees to be certified in order for the areas protected to continue their exclusion from FEMA inundation areas; and

WHEREAS, recertification of levees is required every ten years by FEMA in order for property owners to qualify for flood insurance, and to retain USACE funding for levee repairs; and

WHEREAS, MAP-21, signed into law on July 6, 2012, required USACE and FEMA to establish a joint task force to address the ability for USACE levee inspections to partially address NFIP accreditation of levees. Attached are the joint task force’s presentation and the interim report to Congress. Map-21 established the following deadlines: an interim report, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act; and a final report, not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act; and

WHEREAS, most of the nation’s levees are over 50 years old, with a large percentage of levees having been locally maintained since construction and the level of care and record keeping varying greatly. In almost every case, the design storm of record has increased during that time period and almost all embankment levees have experienced some settlement or encroachment; and

WHEREAS, the American Council of Engineering Companies points out a need for clarification with the overlap of regulations and in order to eliminate legal misinterpretation, the USACE and FEMA should define the terms "certification" and "certify" to accurately denote the agencies’ intention or refer to “compliance determination” instead of certification; and

WHEREAS, the effort to evaluate and repair and rebuild these levees to achieve certification nationwide has been estimated to be as high as $100 billion,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency should clarify and align regulatory language before any required deadline of the recertification process; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED, these new regulations are costly and will significantly impact the budgets of many communities across the country, and that Congress should provide sufficient funding for its share of mitigating levee system deficiencies, and should provide incentives for state, local, and private sources to augment their contributions.