Report Highlights Vulnerability of Levees Along the Mississippi River

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Mississippi River levee breach. (WHO-HD)

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A new report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center says three levees along the Mississippi River that protect thousands of Iowans and nearly $3 billion in property are at risk of failing.

The highest-risk levee is in Clinton, in eastern Iowa, which affects nearly 15,000 people.

Levees in Muscatine and Guttenberg are considered to be at moderate risk for breach and five other levees are deemed low-risk.

The report says 20 other levees in Iowa have not been assessed in at least three years.

Two of the levees along the Mississippi River in Iowa did breach during flooding in 2019. Those were in Davenport and Burlington.
Levees are generally built and inspected by the Army Corps of Engineers and then turned over to levee districts, which own and maintain them.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center says heavier springtime rains, caused by climate change, will mean more levee breaches are possible if they’re not maintained and repaired regularly.

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