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Flood Control Act of 1965: Map


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The Flood Control Act of 1965, Title II of , was enacted on October 27, 1965, by the 89th Congress and authorized the United States Army Corps of Engineers to design and construct numerous flood control projects.

The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1965 was also part of (Title III).

Basic Provisions

Sec 201 of the Act authorized the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers (of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) to design and construct any water resource development project, including navigation, flood control, and shore protection if the cost of any single project did not exceed $10 million. Any such project was subject to local cost sharing in the same manner as larger projects.


Sec 208 of the Act authorized the Corps of Engineers to conduct surveys for flood control and allied purposes, to include drainage and channel improvements.

Impact on New Orleans

Prior to 1965, the state of Louisiana designed and built its flood protection through its levee boards. After Hurricane Betsy, Congress gave control of the flood protection to the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Act which called for a flood protection system to protect south Louisianamarker from the worst storms characteristic of the region. The Corps began developing the storm model in 1959, called the Standard Project Hurricane (SPH). This model was not subsequently adjusted, despite the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the successor agency to the Weather Bureau) recommending increasing the strength of the model: the Corps did not change its construction plans. The local levee boards retained the role of maintenance once the projects were complete. When authorized, this mandate was projected to take 13 years to complete. When Katrina struck in 2005, the project was between 60-90% complete and the projected date of completion was estimated to be 2015.

Details of the congressional mandate are defined in the Government Accountability Office's testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on September 28, 2005. The opening paragraph of the twelve page report reads:

"Congress first authorized the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity, Louisiana Hurricane Protection Project in the Flood Control Act of 1965.
The project was to construct a series of control structures, concrete floodwalls, and levees to provide hurricane protection to areas around Lake Pontchartrain.
The project, when designed, was expected to take about 13 years to complete and cost about $85 million.
Although federally authorized, it was a joint federal, state, and local effort."

The initial scope of the project was to provide hurricane protection to areas around the lake in the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and St. Charles with the federal government paying 70 percent of the costs and the state and local interests paying 30 percent, the typical cost-share arrangement.

Specific Projects

Sec 204 of the Act authorized projects in the following locations:
  • St John River Basin, Maine
  • Housatonic River Basin, Connecticut
  • New England - Atlantic Coastal Area
  • Long Island Sound
  • New York - Atlantic Coastal Area
  • Elizabeth River Basin, New Jersey
  • Rahway River Basin, New Jersey
  • Neuse River Basin, North Carolina
  • Middle Atlantic Coastal Area
  • Flint River Basin, Georgia
  • Central and Southern Florida Basin
  • South Atlantic Coastal Area
  • Phillippi Creek Basin, Florida
  • Lower Mississippi River Basin, adapting the Birds Point - New Madrid project enacted by 45 Stat. 34 at an estimated cost of $189,109,000
  • General Projects - Grand Isle, Morgan City, and Lake Ponchartrain, Louisiana (Lake Ponchartrain at a cost of $56,235,000)
  • Ouchita River Basin, Louisiana
  • Red River Basin, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas
  • Gulf of Mexico - various bayous in Texas
  • Rio Grande Basin, Texas at a cost of $12,493,000
  • Arkansas River Basin, as authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1946 - various creeks and rivers in Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas
  • Missouri River Basin - various creeks and rivers in Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, and Montana
  • Ohio River Basin - various creeks and rivers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia
  • Red River of the North Basin
  • Upper Mississippi River Basin - various projects in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and South Dakota
  • Great Lakes Basin
  • Little Colorado River Basin
  • Gila River Basin, Arizona
  • Eel River, Whitewater River, Santa Ana River, Sacramento River, San Diego River Basins, California
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Columbia River Basin, Oregon and Washington

San Francisco Bay water quality

Sec 216 of the Act authorized the Corps of Engineers to study the water and wastewater quality of various bodies of water in the San Francisco Bay area.

Modification of Other Flood Control Acts


  1. Flood Control Act
  3. GAO-05-1050T Army Corps of Engineers: Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project
  4. ibid

See also

for related legislation which sometime also implement flood control provisions.

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