Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders initiates state review of levee system

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Friday that her office was arranging a review of the Arkansas levee system.

Sanders said she had signed a memorandum of agreement with the Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land to undertake an inventory of the current system. The review will take place as part of the larger Arkansas State Water Plan, which is currently being updated per an executive order signed by the governor in August 2023.

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The full inventory would allow the state to better prepare for flooding events and reduce flood risk, the governor said.

“Arkansas’ levees provide critical protection to communities across our state,” Sanders said. “But we can’t make improvements and repairs to our levee system if we don’t have a comprehensive inventory of our existing facilities.”

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Funding for the levee inventory will be shared from a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Planned Assistance to States agreement coupled with state funds. State Lands Commissioner Land has agreed to provide up to $250,000 as the state’s portion of the project cost, officials said.

“As Commissioner of State Lands and member of the 2019 Arkansas Levee Task Force, I have seen first-hand the importance of our levee system and what happens when those systems fail,” Land said. “It is vital for us to have an up-to-date view of our current levee system so they may be properly maintained and we will be prepared for potential disasters.”

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According to figures from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Arkansas has 1,593 miles of levees protecting $53.1 billion in property.

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