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Living Next to a Levee

Anatomy of a levee: Levee cross-section depicting the 10 foot maintenance and flood fighting easement.

What You Should Know about Your Local Levee

  • A levee is an important flood control structure.
  • It is maintained for your protection.
  • These levees are so important that they are under control of local, state, and federal agencies.
  • Construction near a levee must be permitted by the State Reclamation board.
  • Debris or overgrown vegetation around levees can dangerously impede flood fighting.

A levee slope free of obstructions: An unobstructed view allows flood fighters to work quickly, effectively and safely to protect private property and the lives of those living behind the levee.


The levee near your property may seem family mundane. It's an easy thing to take for granted, but take a moment to think about the protection that it gives you and your community from floodwaters that could damage neighborhood property and dramatically interrupt your lives.


Like any structure, levees require routine maintenance to help prevent failure from occurring. Even though you are protected by a levee, there is always a risk. However, by knowing what to look for and whom to call, you play a vital role in keeping your community safe.


An unauthorized encroachment: Vegetation blocks the view for inspection, and makes a flood fight impossible. Such vegetation needs to be removed.


Because your property is protected by a levee, it is a significant piece of a local system of flood control. It is important that you understand the restrictions and work to be done on or near a levee.

  • Any work to be performed on or within ten feet of a levee must be permitted by the CA Central Valley Flood Protection Board and endorsed by the ARFCD Board of Trustees.
  • Our staff will work with you to try to find a mutually satisfactory solution as well as provide information on how to apply for a CA Central Valley Flood Protection Board Encroachment Permit.
  • Any work that could affect the structural integrity of a levee or impedes flood fighting will not be permitted.
  • Please click here to obtain an encroachment permit application and instructions.

A sack ring around a boil: A boil is a condition under which water passes through or under a levee. If this water has sufficient velocity to carry earthen material to the landward side the levee could fail. A clear levee slope allows inspectors and local agencies to detect and monitor boils. The ability to detect a boil early will reduce the risk of property damage and allows those responding to take appropriate action to protect your property.


Inspectors from the CA Department of Water Resources and ARFCD Management verify that your levee is in compliance with standards set by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Owners of properties posing a hazard to levee maintenance will be notified and allowed to resolve the situation with ARFCD Management and Board of Trustees.


Emergency Supply Checklist

Download the Emergency Supply Checklist (PDF format)

Who Do I Call

Download this handy contact list for local, state and federal agencies (PDF format)

Living Next to a Levee Brochure

Download the Living Next to a Levee Brochure (PDF format)


Download the Living Next to a Levee Brochure (Need Acrobat Reader? Download Here)