The Big Five Levee System is locally operated and maintained by East Cape Girardeau and Clear Creek Drainage District, North Alexander Drainage & Levee District, Preston Drainage & Levee District, and Clear Creek Levee & Drainage District. The levee system was completed in 1957, and is federally authorized to reduce the risk of flooding from the Mississippi River and tributaries to the communities of East Cape Girardeau, McClure, Wolf Lake and Ware, Illinois. During 2019, it is estimated that the system prevented more than $241 million in flood damages.
Levee systems are part of our nation’s landscape and important to communities because of the benefits they provide. For example, more than ten million people live or work behind levees in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Levee Safety Program. And, public and private property worth more than one trillion dollars are behind these levees.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Levee Safety Program works with local levee sponsors and stakeholders to make sure these levees provide their intended benefits. Working together to assess, manage and communicate flood risks to residents and businesses is our priority because, more than anything, life safety is paramount.
Our partners play an important role in levee safety because we all must work together, sharing responsibility, to solve and manage flood risk management challenges. Ultimately, individuals who know what to do before a flood or storm happens can make our communities safer places to live and work.