The construction of levees has significant impacts on the flow of water and the erosion of soil further downstream.  As these side effects of traditional water management come to light, there is a push to look for alternative and more natural ways to manage flooding.  Some communities have even gone as far as removing levees in an attempt to reduce flooding impacts and restore natural balance to the river system.


Allows the river to use naturally developed topography to manage flood waters, reducing peak flow.  When the area is not flooded, it represents a massive expansion in habitat for wildlife who need access to the river for water.


Allowing nearby fields to flood reduces their usefulness as agriculturally productive land in a time when farms are already facing the pressures of urban expansion.  Levee removal or redesign is an expensive process that needs to be weighed against the costs of flooding.


Example 1: Minnesota


Description: A presentation on the benefits of levee removal or setback as a solution to flooding in the Cedar River basin.


Example 2: Michigan

Nonstructural Alternatives Information Booklet

Description: An informational publication on levee alternatives that should help reduce flooding impacts.