ST. LOUIS, MO - Across America, earthen flood levees protect big cities and small towns, wealthy suburbs and rich farmland.
And while the Army Corps of Engineers has recently completed an inventory of levees it maintains and or helps fund, it has no such inventory of the nation's thousands of private levees. That means it has no idea how many there are, where they sit, what they protect, ow how sturdy they are.
Congress has authorized an inventory of private levees, but so far hasn't provided any money for the project.
Critics are troubled that the government lacks answers about levees. Many are old, with rusting infrastructure and built to protect against relatively common floods, not the big ones like the Great Flood of 1993, when 1,100 levees were broken or overtopped.