Levee Protection: Working With The Geology And Environment To Build Resiliency

Thursday, June 19, 2008
Room 2325 Rayburn
3:00 to 4:00 PM

The United States has thousands of miles of levee systems and 43 percent of the U.S. population lives in counties with levees. Many are earthen embankments designed to provide some level of protection from flooding and some are as old as 150 years. Some levee systems were built for agricultural purposes, while those that protect urban areas may have been built to higher standards. In 2006, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) noted that about 122 levees were deficiently maintained and many others need assessment. FEMA is working with USACE to modernize flood maps, assess the current conditions of levees, educate the public about flood risk and improve the nation’s levee systems based on a 2006 report, “The National Levee Challenge”. The briefing will address these issues through an overview of the USACE flood risk program, a specific example of a levee system assessment and a concluding talk about the challenge in dealing with levee systems of the nation as a whole.


Pete Rabbon, Director of the National Flood Risk Management Program Initiative, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The Role of Levees in the USACE Flood Risk Management Program

David Simpson, Senior Engineering Geologist, URS Corporation
California Central Valley Levee Geotechnical Evaluations: Providing Protection for a Growing Population

Gerry Galloway, Glenn L Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, University of Maryland
Dealing with Levees in the Absence of National Policy

Speaker Biographies:

Peter Rabbon, P.E., is the Director of the National Flood Risk Management Program at the Institute for Water Resources within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Rabbon has over 30 years of professional engineering experience, with the last 20 years in the area of flood management for the State of California. In his most recent position, he served as General Manager of the California State Reclamation Board and Executive Officer of the California Water Commission. Previously, he has worked in private practice as well as in County and State government. Mr. Rabbon is a practicing civil engineer registered in California, Nevada, and Oregon. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of California at Davis. He also is a licensed engineering and building contractor.

David Simpson, C.E.G., has a Bachelor’s in Geology from University of California, Davis and a Master’s in Geology from the University of New Mexico. He is a licensed Professional Geologist and a Certified Engineering Geologist in the State of California. He began working for URS Corporation in 1990 and serves as the manager of URS' Engineering Geology Group in Oakland, California. He has worked on projects in most of the western states. Mr. Simpson has experience in developing, managing and performing geologic investigations for a variety of infrastructure facilities including earth, rock, and concrete dams, levees, tunnels, pipelines, bridges, and other structures. His technical experience also includes geologic and geomorphic mapping, rock and soil drilling and sampling, logging and interpretation of trench excavations for earthquake fault and landslide studies, and performing paleoflood studies on western rivers. He is currently URS' lead engineering geologist on the California Levees Evaluation Project being completed for the California Department of Water Resources.

Gerald E. GallowayP.E., Ph.D., is the Glenn L Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, and a Visiting Scholar at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources. Prior to joining the Maryland faculty, he was Vice President for Geospatial Strategies, ES3 Sector of the Titan Corporation. A civil engineer, public administrator, and geographer, he also serves as a water resources and flood mitigation consultant to a variety of national and international government organizations. He recently chaired the interagency committee examining FEMA levee policy and an expert panel examining deep flooding in California’s Central Valley In 1994, he was assigned to the White House to lead a committee in assessing the causes of the 1993 Mississippi River Flood. During a 38-year career in the military he served in various command and staff assignments in Germany, Southeast Asia and the United States, retiring in 1995 as a Brigadier General and Dean of the Academic Board at the U.S. Military Academy. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from West Point, Master’s degrees from Princeton, Penn State, and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. He has received numerous awards, is a registered engineer and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists
The Association of State Floodplain Managers
The American Society of Civil Engineers
Hazards Caucus Alliance