Note: Information on this page serves as a general guideline regarding repairs to flood-damaged levee systems and flood damage reduction projects within the jurisdiction of the Corps’ Portland District following a flood event. This information does not include all the details concerning the review and approval process for repairs to levees and flood damage reduction projects and these guidelines are not a guarantee of federal assistance.

Levee Rehabilitation & Inspection Program (Public Law 84-99)

Image of levee construction related to PL 84-99Enrollment in the Rehabilitation & Inspection Program under Public Law 84-99 (PL 84-99) provides reimbursement for specific damages to levees that result from high-water events.

The program is a partnered solution to flood damage similar to hazard insurance that you may have on your house. The levee sponsor enrolls in the program and provides levee maintenance to a standard level that is acceptable to the Corps. This maintenance and proper operation of the levee prevents routine damages and reduces the possibility of levee failure. In the case of severe flood-related levee damage to a properly maintained levee, the Corps provides post-damage assistance.

Levees are either federally constructed and enhanced in cooperation with a local sponsor then turned over to the local sponsor to own and operate, or are non-federally constructed or enhanced and owned and operated by a local sponsor. Federally designed and constructed levees are enrolled at the end of construction; non-federally constructed levees have to apply and be accepted into the Public Law 84-99 program. In Portland District, the sponsor is responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair and replacement of the levee in both cases.

Responsibilities of the sponsor and the Corps are set out in the programmatic guidance documents. Beginning in 2006, all Portland District Public Law 84-99 Levee sponsors received a copy of the Levee Owner’s Manual that documents procedures for inspection and continued participation in the Public Law 84-99 program.

Program eligibility

Levee systems that are eligible for rehabilitation assistance under Public Law (P.L.) 84-99 following flood or storm damage include those federally authorized, operated and maintained by a non-federal sponsor or non-federally built, operated and maintained by a non-federal sponsor. These levees remain eligible if operated and maintained to acceptable or minimally acceptable standards.

Federal government policy regarding repairs to levee systems and flood control projects damaged by floods is as follows:

  • Federally constructed or enhanced; locally maintained systems (in PL 84-99 program): Will be repaired by the federal government at 100 percent federal cost. Pending letter of request by maintaining authority and funding by Congress.
  • Non-federally constructed; locally maintained systems (in PL 84-99 program): Will be repaired by the federal government at 80 percent federal/20 percent local cost share. Pending letter of request by maintaining authority and funding by Congress.
  • Systems NOT in the PL 84-99 program; Federally or non-federally constructed or enhanced; locally maintained systems: Will NOT be repaired by the federal government.
    *Note: Repairs can only be made to pre-event conditions. No improvements or enhancements with federal funding are authorized.

Ratings and inspections

Levee systems and/or flood control projects are authorized for repairs if damaged by a flood event when the levee system is within the Corps' PL 84-99 program. Ratings given to a levee system as a result of Corps inspections (sometimes referred to as continuing eligibility inspections) are used to determine if a project is “active” in the Corps' Rehabilitation and Inspection Program. 

To be included in the PL 84-99 program, a levee system or flood control project must be routinely inspected by the Corps of Engineers and found to meet Corps of Engineers construction standards and to be maintained in a fashion that does not deter from its structural integrity. A levee system must maintain an Acceptable or Minimally Acceptable rating on 18 line items to remain active.

Examples of conditions that will lessen the integrity of a levee system and/or flood control project and may result in a Corps determination that the levee system/flood control project does not meet Corps standards: burrow holes (mammal or man-made), tree growth (roots degrade structure; tree weight causes undue stress), erosion, any other condition determined to be a detriment to the structure.

Portland District works closely with project sponsors if a levee system receives an overall rating of unacceptable to explain the deficiencies and help devise a plan to correct the deficiencies. The sponsor is placed in an inactive status until the corrections are made. The levee system remains eligible for flood fighting assistance, but not federal rehabilitation assistance. The Corps also will notify the appropriate Federal Emergency Management Agency region and state and local emergency management agencies of the inspection results.

Criteria: On March 21, 2014, the Corps released interim policy guidance for determining eligibility status of Flood Damage Reduction Systems in the Public Law (PL) 84-99 Rehabilitation and Inspection Program. This interim policy changes the way PL 84-99 Rehabilitation and Inspection Program eligibility is determined for flood damage reduction systems.

Eighteen line items in the USACE Flood Damage Reduction System inspection report have been identified as the criteria that will be used to determine P.L. 84-99 eligibility. These line items are referred to as the interim eligibility inspection criteria. Any line item rating of Unacceptable “U” on any one of the eighteen inspection items will generate an inactive status in the P.L. 84-99 Rehabilitation and Inspection Program. Line item ratings of Minimally Acceptable “M”, Acceptable “A”, or Not Applicable “N/A” on all the eighteen line items will generate an active status in PL 84-99.

The maintaining authority will be notified of failure to meet Corps standards and be provided ample time to correct deficiencies. If deficiencies are not corrected, the levee system/flood control project will be removed from the PL 84-99 program and become ineligible for federally assisted repairs if damages are incurred due to a flood event.


System-Wide Improvement Framework (SWIF)

The Corps now offers non-federal sponsors a process through the System-Wide Improvement Framework to remain temporarily eligible for P.L. 84-99 assistance while they correct unacceptable operation and maintenance deficiencies as part of a broader, system-wide improvement to their levee systems. Submitting a system-wide improvement framework plan is a two-step process. A Letter of Intent is submitted followed by submission of a SWIF plan. The applicant has up to two years to develop the plan. 

A SWIF provides committed sponsors the opportunity to transition their levees over time to Corps standards. By using a SWIF, sponsors can prioritize deficiencies to address the highest risk first to achieve system-wide risk reduction. 

In preparing the requirements for a SWIF, the Corps recognized that sponsors may engage at the federal, state, and local levels to address complex levee system issues in a more long-term, comprehensive approach to identify solutions that optimize resources; prioritize improvements and corrective actions based on risk; and coordinate overlapping or competing programs and requirements.

Examples of situations where a SWIF is appropriate are when a longer-term, holistic approach may be necessary to address multiple engineering deficiencies AND operation and maintenance deficiencies; when broader improvements involve multiple levee segments/systems; or when additional time and coordination are needed to consider complex, endangered species habitat or Native American concerns while meeting requirements for levee safety.

Considerations prior to submitting a SWIF:

  • May include corrective action for overarching operation and maintenance deficiencies, for example, a system-wide culvert replacement.
  • Is not intended for correction only of individual operation and maintenance deficiencies, for example, a single culvert replacement.
  • Is not a process for acceptance into the P.L. 84-99 program.
  • May include a vegetation variance request.
  • Recognizes regional differences.
  • Must be closely synchronized to align with other Corps levee policies.