Letters of support sought for Muscatine Island Levee Project

A three-mile reach of the Muscatine Island Levee will be raised and strengthened later this year as the Muscatine Levee Improvement Project begins. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Muscatine Island Levee Stakeholder Group is asking for written comments from anyone having an interest in the alteration of the levee.

 The US Army Corp of Engineers issued a public notice  on the project earlier this year. Comments in support of this project are needed to make this project a reality. The Stakeholder Group is asking for your help to write a letter or send an email in support of this project. 

Help protect jobs, infrastructure, homes and livelihoods by sending a letter or comment.

All comments must be sent by May 17 to MVR408@usace.army.mil or by regular mail to:

District Engineer
US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District
Attn: Keller (PM-M)
Clock Tower Building
P. O. Box 2004
Rock Island IL 61204-2004

In 2013 the City of Muscatine, along with the US Army Corp of Engineers, completed a Levee Breach Study for the purpose of life saving. Due to the nature of the levee system, if an overtop situation were to occurred, the sand levee would erode and damage the levee allowing large amounts of water to break through. 

“Based on this study, a group of individuals, businesses, Muscatine and Louisa County and City officials created the Levee Stakeholder Group to determine potential improvements,” Rich Dwyer, a member of the group, said. “In addition, we’ve seen many natural disasters across the country and around the world occurring more often. In Muscatine, eight out of the top 10 historic crests have occurred since the year 2000.”

The Bi-State Regional Commission noted that “the key economic development need being addressed with the Muscatine Levee Improvement Project is protecting major businesses and industries in Muscatine County from disastrous flooding to allow them to remain in operation and employees to work during Mississippi River flood events.”

Many options were reviewed with the US Army Corp of Engineers along with Klingner and Associates, an engineering firm dedicated to improving levee systems. The final determination was to improve the lowest point in the levee, and create a hardening structure at the far end of the levee so when an overtop situation were to occur it would overflow at the hardening structure and not erode the levee itself. This solution allows the water to flow to the pump station and back into the river as it recedes.


The Muscatine Island Levee System is located along the right bank of the Mississippi River between river miles 455.1 and 442.28 and its purpose is to protect approximately 30,000 acres of commercial, industrial, and residential land uses within the Muscatine Island.  A 14.2-mile-long levee along the Mississippi River protects the Island interior.  The northernmost 3.2 miles is constructed to the 500-year level of protection plus three feet of freeboard. The remaining 11 miles is constructed to the 100-year level of protection plus three feet of freeboard. The levee is constructed of sand material, which is more vulnerable to breaching if the levee begins to overtop.

A 2013 Corps of Engineers levee breach study demonstrated Highway 61, a main evacuation route, would be inaccessible within 2-4 hours of a breach in the northern portion of the levee. The study also indicated a breach could create catastrophic environmental damage plus severely disrupt regional and national economic networks.  A simulation analysis showed that flood water would backfill into the entire industrial commercial area even when a breach occurs south of the industrial area.  

It could also disrupt the regional power grid as it would isolate MidAmerican Power Generating Plant located within the Island interior.  Additional critical infrastructure in the project area includes but is not limited to: the Muscatine Water Pollution Control Plant; the Grandview Well Field which supplies potable water to the project area; the Muscatine Power & Water power plant; an Army National Guard Center; and the Muscatine Municipal Airport.