Every year floods sweep through communities across the Unites States taking lives, destroying property, shutting down businesses, harming the environment and causing millions of dollars in damages. It is impossible to prevent all floods, but it is possible to prevent some and to limit the impact of those that do occur.
One of the primary missions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is flood risk management. Through effective planning, forecasting and preparation USACE is working to help communities prevent floods where possible and significantly reduce the loss of lives and the economic and environmental impact when they do occur. USACE also is involved in flood emergency response efforts.
The types of infrastructure that fall under this category of investment include levees, storage reservoirs, and other types of floodplain management structural measures. Some of these projects may have multiple purposes. For example, reservoirs that help prevent flooding may also provide storage for water supply and produce hydropower. This infrastructure includes approximately 715 dams and 4,100 miles of levees. In addition to operating and maintaining this infrastructure, USACE has an active role in assessing, managing, and communicating the associated flood risk.
USACE annually tracks Flood Risk Management programmatic benefits in its Annual Flood Damage Report to Congress. Each Annual Flood Damage Report includes assessments of flood damages, acres inundated, property damages, loss of life, and damages prevented by previously completed flood risk management projects (not including reductions in damages from coastal storm surge impacts).