What is a levee?

A levee is an embankment generally constructed close to the banks of a stream or river; intended to reduce the risk of flooding for the neighboring properties.

The levees in Council Bluffs were originally designed and constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the risk of flooding from the Missouri River to the City. Without the levees, approximately 64% of the incorporated city limits would be at greater risk of flooding.



Approximate levee length (in miles)


Residential buildings within the leveed area


Population within leveed area

Levee locations in Council Bluffs

The map below shows the leveed area of Council Bluffs.



Residual Risk

Even after all preventative flood measures have been taken, there is still a risk of flooding.

With all of the tools individuals and government agencies use to reduce flood risk, risk cannot be eliminated completely. This is known as Residual Risk.

The Residual Risk graphic has been designed to help you understand the collective steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of flooding. Tools range from zoning regulations to structural flood control projects such as levees.

Levee Maintenance

Like other important investments, such as homes and cars, levees require continued maintenance in order to ensure their performance and longevity. At over 60 years old, the City’s levees require continued maintenance as well as rehabilitation of aged components. Browse below to view photos of the ongoing levee maintenance and rehabilitation projects in Council Bluffs.

Additional Resources

National Levee Database

The National Levee Database (NLD), developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), is the focal point for comprehensive information about our nation's levees. Authorized by Congress in 2007, the database contains information to facilitate and link activities, such as flood risk communication, levee system evaluation for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), levee system inspections, flood plain management, and risk assessments.

Launch National Levee Database

Cost of Flooding

Estimate the cost of damages if a flood structure your home

Read Cost of Flooding Information

Flood Smart

Assess your flood risk, find trained flood insurance agents, protect your home. Learn about flood risks like levee failure and Winter Rainy Season.

Go to Flood Smart

"So You Live Behind a Levee" Brochure

Are your home and loved ones safe from floods? How much protection does the levee really provide? What do you need to know to be safe? The American Society of Civil Engineers has created an informational brochure to help individuals and communities better protect themselves against future flood threats. Please follow the link to view the brochure.

Read "So You Live Behind a Levee" Brochure