May 11, 2008--Army Corps says condition of many levees a mystery (New York Times)

Across America, earthen flood levees protect big cities and small towns, wealthy suburbs and rich farmland. But the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that oversees levees, lacks an inventory of thousands of them and has no idea of their condition, the corps' chief levee expert told The Associated Press. The uncertainty, amid an unusually wet spring that has already caused significant flooding across many states, is creating worry even within the corps. ''We have to get our arms around this issue and understand how many levees there are in the country, who's watching over them, what populations and properties are behind them,'' Eric Halpin, the corps' special assistant for dam and levee safety, said in an interview last month. ''What is the risk posed to the public?'' Critics are troubled that the government doesn't know the answer. 

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