Village At Risk if FEMA Doesn't Approve Levee

Aug 12, 2019

The fate of a Mississippi River levee that's awaiting a decision on federal accreditation could put a southern Illinois village at risk of destructive flooding.

Village President Ray Cole says if the levee in Prairie du Rocher loses Federal Emergency Management Agency recognition, homeowners' flood insurance premiums could spike by double digits from about $400 a year.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found the levee needs millions of dollars in upgrades to meet FEMA regulations on seepage.

The National Flood Insurance Program could decide Prairie du Rocher is a high-risk area. Cole says that change would affect insurance for about 30% of the village's roughly 250 homes.

A FEMA spokesman says the agency is expected to finalize maps by late 2019.

After devastating flooding in recent years, some U.S. states are starting to put more money into efforts to guard against rising waters.

An analysis of preliminary data by The Associated Press has identified about $1.2 billion in damage to roads and bridges, utilities and other public infrastructure from storms and flooding during the first half of 2019.

The Army Corps of Engineers has estimated it will cost an additional $1 billion to repair hundreds of damaged levees in the Missouri River basin.

States such as Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa already have put more money toward flood recovery and protection efforts. Voters in Texas will decide later this year whether to amend the constitution to create a $793 million fund for flood control. Other states also are considering new flood protections.