The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (www.usace.army.mil) has repaired 220 miles of levees and floodwalls in the New Orleans metro area since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, according to a report in the Corps’ Dec. 15 newsletter. It has also improved the Hurricane Protection System (HPS) by, among other things, adding pumps and floodgates at the three major outfall canals.

The Corps says it is now completing sections of the Hurricane Protection System for which it has received authorization and funding. However, it says its ultimate goal is to reach the 100-year level of protection for the New Orleans metro area by 2010. The legislation authorizing this work reads: “…provide the levels of protection necessary to achieve the certification required for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program under the base flood elevations…”

To begin construction to provide the 100-year level of protection, the Corps says it must first determine what elevation the levees and floodwalls should be to certify them to provide the 100-year level of protection. According to the Corps, the elevations for this level of protection will vary by location. As such, it says the process of determining the correct floodwall and levee elevations will be “one of the most complicated assignments it has ever encountered.”