Levee Certification

Levee certification picture showing a leveeLevee certification is a technical finding for floodplain mapping purposes as part of the National Flood Insurance Program, that concludes there is reasonable certainty that the levee protecting the area will contain the base (1% annual chance exceedance, sometimes referred to as the 100-year) regulatory flood. The certification finding must be accomplished by either a registered professional engineer or a federal agency with levee design and construction qualifications such as the Corps.


Responsibility for seeking levee certification belongs to the local agency with jurisdiction over the floodplain in question. The local agency may perform the certification analysis with staff or consultants, or may request such technical determination by others. The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not certify levees; instead, FEMA is the recipient of levee certification determination documentation forwarded by the local agency. If levee certification documentation is found to be in order, FEMA has the authority to accredit the levee and the associated flood insurance rate maps depicting flood hazard will show the floodplain areas as protected from the base (regulatory) flood.

Levee certification program details

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 Authority and funding
The Corps does not have a specific authority that addresses levee certifications nor is it funded for levee certifications. Certification of levees for the National Flood Insurance Program is the responsibility of the local levee owner or sponsor. There may be a few cases in which the Corps can perform a certification, for example if the levee is part of an ongoing Corps project. In many cases, however, the Corps' Levee Safety Program activities will help inform and support the certification process. Corps districts are working with local levee owners to provide them with available levee information and technical data.
 Certification policy
The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued the basic policy governing levee certification for the National Flood Insurance Program in 1986 as 44 CFR 65.10. This policy requires complete engineering analysis of hydrology, hydraulics, structural and geotechnical, and operations and maintenance of the levee undergoing study for certification determination. See www.FEMA.gov for more information.
 Technical guidance
The draft Engineer Technical Letter 1110-2-570 provides a consolidated document of Corps procedures for levee/floodwall systems certification determinations in support of the National Flood Insurance Program as administered by FEMA. The Engineer Technical Letter will be used to respond to requests for local sponsor levee systems certifications.