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Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice (2012)

Chapter: Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States." National Research Council. 2012. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13393.
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APPENDIX C

Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States

This appendix provides some details of laws, policies, and guidelines that have driven dam and levee safety policy in the United States. Principal laws and policies that shape the governance of dam safety in the United States are provided in a simplified chronologic list in Table C.1. Table C.2 is a similar list of laws and policies that shape the governance of levee safety in the United States; it includes only what the committee interpreted as defining statutes.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States." National Research Council. 2012. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13393.
×

TABLE C.1 Principal Laws and Policies Shaping Dam Safety Governance

Date Law or Mandate Relevance Policy and Programs Enabled
1917 Flood Control Act First major flood legislation Dealt primarily with levees on the Mississippi and Sacramento Rivers
1928 Flood Control Act Expanded Extended 1917 act to include control mechanisms Policy extended to include floodways, spillways, and channels; provided foundation for dam safety legislation
1972 33 USC 467: National Dam Safety Act Authorized national inspection of dams U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tasked with inventorying and inspecting dams
1977 Department of Energy Organization Act Established Department of Energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from Federal Power Commission FERC licenses and inspects nonfederal hydroelectric projects
1979 Executive Order 12148 Created Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); required federal agencies to implement federal guidelines for dam safety Guidelines for dam safety management
1986 Water Resources Development Act Authorized National Dam Safety Program under secretary of the Army Established National Dam Safety Review Board, National Inventory of Dams, and state assistance
1996 Water Resources Development Act, Pub. L. 104-303, § 215, National Dam Safety Program Act Reauthorized National Dam Safety Program under FEMA Granted assistance to states for research and training; expanded National Dam Safety Review Board
2002 PL 107-310: Dam Safety and Security Act Reauthorized National Dam Safety Program and added national-security considerations Failed to provide funding for repair and rehabilitation
2006 PL 109-460 National Dam Safety Program Act Reauthorized National Dam Safety Program
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States." National Research Council. 2012. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13393.
×

TABLE C.2 Principal Laws and Policies Shaping Levee Safety Governance

Date Law Relevance Policy and Programs Enabled
1917 Flood Control Act First major flood legislation—Mississippi and Sacramento Rivers Dealt primarily with levees
1928 Flood Control Act Expanded Extended 1917 act to include control mechanism Extended policy to include floodways, spillways, and channels
1936 Flood Control Act Declared flood control a federal interest and vested authority in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Levees along main stem of Mississippi become federal
1955 Pub. L. 84-99: Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies Act Directed USACE to provide emergency repair or rehabilitation of federally authorized flood control works
1968 National Flood Insurance Act Authorized National Flood Insurance Program Levees became part of the equation for flood insurance
1994 National Flood Insurance Reform Act Prevented loans from federal agencies and programs for property in specific flood hazard areas Placed some accountability in insurance program
2005 Pub. L. 109-148: National Levee Data Base Authority Authorized national levee inventory and database Interagency Levee Policy Review Committee established by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); USACE initiated levee inventory
2007 Pub. L. 110-114: WRDA, National Levee Safety Program Act Established National Levee Safety Program (oversight by FEMA) and National Committee on Levee Safety (NCLS, chaired by USACE) Mandated that NCLS develop a National Levee Safety Policy
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States." National Research Council. 2012. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13393.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States." National Research Council. 2012. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13393.
×
Page 153
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States." National Research Council. 2012. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13393.
×
Page 154
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States." National Research Council. 2012. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13393.
×
Page 155
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Laws, Policies, and Guidelines Driving Dam and Levee Safety in the United States." National Research Council. 2012. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13393.
×
Page 156
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Although advances in engineering can reduce the risk of dam and levee failure, some failures will still occur. Such events cause impacts on social and physical infrastructure that extend far beyond the flood zone. Broadening dam and levee safety programs to consider community- and regional-level priorities in decision making can help reduce the risk of, and increase community resilience to, potential dam and levee failures.

Collaboration between dam and levee safety professionals at all levels, persons and property owners at direct risk, members of the wider economy, and the social and environmental networks in a community would allow all stakeholders to understand risks, shared needs, and opportunities, and make more informed decisions related to dam and levee infrastructure and community resilience. Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice explains that fundamental shifts in safety culture will be necessary to integrate the concepts of resilience into dam and levee safety programs.

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