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Encyclopedia > Levee

A levee, levée (from the feminine past participle of the French verb lever, "to raise"), floodbank or stopbank is a natural or artificial slope or wall, usually earthen and often parallels the course of a river. Linguists agree that the term came into English use in New Orleans circa 1672. French verbs are a complex area of French grammar, with a conjugation scheme that allows for three finite moods (with anywhere from one to five synthetic tenses), three non-finite moods, three voices, and two aspects. ... Loess field in Germany Surface-water-gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland Technically, Soil forms the pedosphere: the interface between the lithosphere (rocky part of the planet) and the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. ... Parallel is a term in geometry and in everyday life that refers to a property in Euclidean space of two or more lines or planes, or a combination of these. ... This bridge across the Danube River links Hungary with Slovakia. ...

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Artificial levees

Levee keeps high water on the Mississippi River from flooding Gretna, Louisiana, in March 2005.
Levee keeps high water on the Mississippi River from flooding Gretna, Louisiana, in March 2005.

The main purpose of an artificial levee is to prevent flooding of the adjoining countryside; however, they also confine the flow of the river resulting in higher and faster water flow. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1160x776, 191 KB) Mississippi River levee at Gretna, Louisiana. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1160x776, 191 KB) Mississippi River levee at Gretna, Louisiana. ... The city of Gretna is the parish seat of Jefferson Parish, in the US state of Louisiana. ... A flood (in Old English flod, a word common to Teutonic languages; compare German Flut, Dutch vloed from the same root as is seen in flow, float) is an overflow of water, an expanse of water submerging land, a deluge. ... Rural areas are sparsely settled places away from the influence of large cities and towns. ... This bridge across the Danube River links Hungary with Slovakia. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ...


Levees are usually built by piling earth on a cleared, level surface. Broad at the base, they taper to a level top, where temporary embankments or sandbags can be placed. Because flood discharge intensity increases in levees on both river banks, and because silt deposits raise the level of riverbeds, planning and auxiliary measures are vital. Sections are often set back from the river to form a wider channel, and flood valley basins are divided by multiple levees to prevent a single breach from flooding a large area. Embankment can be: An artificial slope which can be made out of earth, stones or bricks, or a combination of these. ... Building a sandbag dike along the Skagit River in anticipation of a flood, October 2003. ... The bed of this stream is made up of rocks, some very rounded (having had a longer life in the stream) and some not. ... Silt is soil or rock derived granular material of a specific grain size. ... Riverbed Technology, Inc. ...


Artificial levees require substantial engineering. Their surface must be protected from erosion, so they are planted with vegetation such as Bermuda grass in order to bind the earth together. On the land side of high levees, a low terrace of earth known as a banquette is usually added as another anti-erosion measure. On the river side, erosion from strong waves or currents presents an even greater threat to the integrity of the levee. The effects of erosion are countered by planting with willows, weighted matting or concrete revetments. Separate ditches or drainage tiles are constructed to ensure that the foundation does not become waterlogged. Common Bermudagrass Species Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) - other common names include Bahama Grass, Devils Grass, Couch Grass, Indian Doab, Grama, Scutch Grass - is a highly desirable turf grass in southern climates zones 9 - 12 needed for those regions for its heat and drought tolerance. ... Species About 350, including: Salix acutifolia - Violet Willow Salix alaxensis - Alaska Willow Salix alba - White Willow Salix alpina - Alpine Willow Salix amygdaloides - Peachleaf Willow Salix arbuscula - Mountain Willow Salix arbusculoides - Littletree Willow Salix arctica - Arctic Willow Salix atrocinerea Salix aurita - Eared Willow Salix babylonica - Peking Willow Salix bakko Salix barrattiana... Rocky revetment at a restoration site along Keene Creek, Duluth, Minnesota. ...


The first levees were constructed over 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, where a system of levees was built along the left bank of the River Nile for more than 600 miles (966 km), stretching from modern Aswan to the Nile Delta on the shores of the Mediterranean. The Mesopotamian civilizations and ancient China also built large levee systems. Because a levee is only as strong as its weakest point, the height and standards of construction have to be consistent along its length. Some authorities have argued that this requires a strong governing authority to guide the work, and may have been a catalyst for the development of systems of governance in early civilizations. However others point to evidence of large scale water-control earthen works such as canals and/or levees dating from before King Scorpion in Predynastic Egypt during which governance was far less centralized. Khafres Pyramid (4th dynasty) and Great Sphinx of Giza (c. ... For alternative meanings of Nile, see Nile (disambiguation) The Nile in Egypt Length 6 695 km Elevation of the source 1 134 m Average discharge 2 830 m³/s Area watershed 3 400 000 km² Origin Africa Mouth the Mediterranean Basin countries Uganda - Sudan - Egypt The Nile (Arabic: ا&#1604... Aswan (Arabic: أسوان Aswān) (, population 200,000) is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate. ... NASA satellite photograph of the Nile Delta (shown in false colour) The Nile Delta (Arabic:دلتا النيل) is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... Mesopotamia refers to the region now occupied by modern Iraq, eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and Southwest Iran. ... China is the worlds oldest continuous major civilization, with written records dating back about 3,500 years and with 5,000 years being commonly used by Chinese as the age of their civilization. ... King Serket, translating to King Scorpion or sometimes The Scorpion King, refers to one or two kings of Upper Egypt during the Protodynastic Period. ... The Predynastic Period of Egypt (prior to 3100 BC) is traditionally the period between the Early Neolithic and the beginning of the Pharaonic monarchy beginning with king Narmer. ...


In modern times, prominent levee systems exist along the Mississippi River and Sacramento Rivers in the United States, and the Po, Rhine, Meuse River, Loire, Vistula, and Danube in Europe. For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ... The Sacramento River is the longest river in the U.S. state of California. ... PO may stand for: Pareto optimality Parole Officer Per os, Latin for by mouth or orally Perfect Orange a third wave ska based in Knoxville, TN from 2002-2005 Petty Officer, a Non-Commissioned Officer Rank in many Navies Pilkington Optronics, now Thales Optronics Pilot Officer, a junior commissioned rank... The Rhine (German: ; Dutch: ; French: ; Italian: ; Romansh: ) is one of the longest and most important rivers in Europe at 1,320 kilometres (820 miles), with an average discharge of more than 2,000 cubic meters per second. ... The Meuse (Maas) at Maastricht Meuse near Grave The Meuse (Dutch & German Maas) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. ... This article is about the French department. ... The Vistula (Polish: ) is with 1,047 kilometers (678 miles) the longest river in Poland. ... The Danube (ancient Danuvius, Iranian *dānu, meaning river or stream, ancient Greek Istros) is the longest river in the European Union and Europes second longest river. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ...


The Mississippi River levee system represent one of the largest such systems found anywhere in the world. They comprise over 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of levees extending some 1,000 miles (1,600 km) along the Mississippi, stretching from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to the Mississippi Delta. They were begun by French settlers in Louisiana in the 18th century to protect the city of New Orleans. The first Louisianian levees were about 3 feet (0.9 m) high and covered a distance of about 50 miles (80 km) along the riverside. By the mid-1980s, they had reached their present extent and averaged 24 feet (7 m) in height; some Mississippi levees are as much as 50 feet (15 m) high. The Mississippi levees also include some of the longest continuous individual levees in the world. One such levee extends southwards from Pine Bluff, Arkansas for a distance of some 380 miles (611 km). Waterfront of Cape Girardeau along the Mississippi River during the Great Flood of 1993 Cape Girardeau (pronounced ) (French: Cap-Girardeau, pronounced ) is a city located in the county of the same name in Missouri, 115 miles south of Saint Louis. ... The shared flood plain of the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers The Mississippi Delta is the distinct northwest section of the state of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. ... Official language(s) de jure: none de facto: English & French Capital Baton Rouge Largest city New Orleans [1] Area  Ranked 31st  - Total 51,885 sq mi (134,382 km²)  - Width 130 miles (210 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 16  - Latitude 29°N to 33°N  - Longitude 89°W... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... This article cites very few or no references or sources. ... Coordinates: Country United States State Arkansas County Jefferson Founded 1832 Incorporated 1839 Mayor Carl Redus Area    - City 121. ...


Natural levees

The ability of a river to carry sediments varies very strongly with its speed. When a river floods over its banks, the water spreads out, slows down, and deposits its load of sediment. Over time, the river's banks are built up above the level of the rest of the floodplain. The resulting ridges are called natural levees. This picture shows the flood plain following a 1 in 10 year flood on the Isle of Wight. ...


When the river is not in flood state it may deposit material within its channel, raising its level. The combination can raise not just the surface, but even the bottom of the river above the surrounding country. Natural levees are especially noted on the Yellow River in China near the sea where oceangoing ships appear to sail high above the plain on the elevated river. Natural levees are a common feature of all meandering rivers in the world. For other Yellow Rivers, see Yellow River (disambiguation). ...


Levees in tidal waters

The basic process occurs in tidal creeks when the incoming tide carries mineral material of all grades up to the limit imposed by the energy of the flow. As the tide overflows the sides of the creek towards high water, the flow rate at the brink slows and larger sediment is deposited, forming the levee. At the height of the tide, the water stands on the salt-marsh or flats and the finer particles slowly settle, forming clay. In the early ebb, the water level in the creek falls leaving the broad expanse of water standing on the marsh at a higher level.


The area of water on the marsh is much greater than the water surface of the creek so that in the latter, the flow rate is much greater. It is this rush of water, perhaps an hour after high water, which keeps the creek channel open. The cross-sectional area of the water body in the creek is small compared with that initially over the levee which at this stage is acting as a weir. The deposited sediment (coarse on the levee and on the mud flats or salt-marsh) therefore tends to stay put so that, tide by tide, the marsh and levee grow higher until they are of such a height that few tides overflow them. In an active system, the levee is always higher than the marsh. That is how it came to be called "une rive levée" or raised shore!


Levee failures

Example of overtopping of a levee, taken on Jan. 1, 2006 on Sherman Island levee adjacent to the San Joaquin River during high winds and Higher High tide.

Levees can fail in a number of ways. The most frequent (and dangerous) form of levee failure is a breach. A levee breach is when part of the levee actually breaks away, leaving a large opening for water to flood the land protected by the levee. A breach can be a sudden or gradual failure that is caused either by surface erosion or by a subsurface failure of the levee. Levee breaches are often accompanied by boils boil, or sand boils. A sand boil occurs when the upward pressure of water flowing through soil pores under the levee (underseepage) exceeds the downward pressure from the weight of the soil above it. The underseepage resurfaces on the landside, in the form of a volcano-like cone of sand. Boils signal a condition of incipient instability which may lead to erosion of the levee toe or foundation or result in sinking of the levee into the liquefied foundation below. Complete breach of the levee may quickly follow. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2048x1536, 530 KB) Photograph: Mike Burns, Uploaded by User:MCalamari. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2048x1536, 530 KB) Photograph: Mike Burns, Uploaded by User:MCalamari. ... The San Joaquin River, 330 miles (530 km) long, is the second-longest river in California, United States. ...


Sometimes levees are said to fail when water overtops the crest of the levee. Levee overtopping can be caused when flood waters simply exceed the lowest crest of the levee system or if high winds begin to generate significant swells in the ocean or river water to bring waves crashing over the levee. Overtopping can lead to significant landside erosion of the levee or even be the mechanism for complete breach.


Incidents of Levee Failures and Breaches

The Great Mississippi Flood occurred in 1927 when the Mississippi River breached levees and flooded 27,000 square miles, killing 246 people in seven states and displacing 700,000 people. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in United States history until the Hurricane Katrina flood of 2005. ... Year 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ...


In the North Sea flood of 1953, levees and flood defenses collapsed in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, killing over 2,100 people. The North Sea flood of 1953 and the associated storm combined to create a major natural disaster which affected the coastlines of the Netherlands and England on the night of 31 January 1953 – 1 February 1953. ...


On June 3, 2004, Jones Tract, an inland island that is protected by a series of levees located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, failed. Though the exact cause of the levee failure is not known, the breach in the levee allowed water from the Middle River to flood the island. The Sacramento Delta. ...


On August 29, 2005, levees in metro New Orleans breached in 53 different places and caused catastrophic flooding when Hurricane Katrina came ashore and passed east of New Orleans. These levees, built and constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, breached and failed. 80% of the City was submerged. The Industrial Canal breach in the Ninth Ward residential neighborhood tossed cars and homes. Effects of breached levees are discussed further in Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. In New Orleans, the US Army Corps of Engineers is, by federal law, the sole agency responsible for levee design and construction. [1] New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... Lowest pressure 902 mbar (hPa; 26. ... The effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans was catastrophic and long-lasting. ...


Levees in popular culture

The song "The Little Things Give You Away" by American band Linkin Park mentions Levees in the lyrics "The levees are breaking." The song itself was written after a trip to floodstricken New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Linkin Park is a rock band from Agoura Hills, California. ...


The American folksong "I've Been Working on the Railroad" was, according to Carl Sandburg, originally from an Irish folksong called "I've Been Working on the Levee" before the days of railroads. Carl Sandburg in 1955 Carl August Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American poet, historian, novelist, balladeer, and folklorist. ... This is the top-level page of WikiProject trains Rail tracks Rail transport refers to the land transport of passengers and goods along railways or railroads. ...


The song "Row Jimmy", recorded by The Grateful Dead (1973), mentions "Look at Julie down below, the levee doin the do-pas-o". Wake of the Flood is the sixth studio album by the Grateful Dead. ... The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in San Francisco, California. ...


Don McLean mentions driving his "Chevy to the levee" in his song "American Pie". Chevrolet, or Chevy, is a brand of automobile that is now part of the General Motors group. ... American Pie is an eight-and-a-half minute long classic rock song by singer-songwriter Don McLean, about the day the music died. Recorded in 1971 and released that year on the album of the same name, it was a number-one U.S. hit in 1972. ...


The song "When the Levee Breaks" written and first recorded by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy in 1929, and later covered by Led Zeppelin and others, was about the Great Mississippi Flood. When the Levee Breaks is a blues song written and first recorded by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. ... Memphis Minnie McCoy (born June 3, 1897 - died August 6, 1973) was an American Blues musician. ... Joe McCoy (born May 11, 1905 – died January 28, 1950) was an African American blues musician. ... Year 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Led Zeppelin were an English rock band who formed in 1968. ... The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in United States history until the Hurricane Katrina flood of 2005. ...


"The Levee's Gonna Break" is a song written and recorded by Bob Dylan from his album, Modern Times. Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is a Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, author, musician, and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades. ... Modern Times is Bob Dylans 32nd studio album, released on August 29, 2006 by Sony BMG. The album was Dylans third straight (following Time out of Mind and Love and Theft) to be met with nearly universal praise from fans and critics. ...


Canadian band The Tragically Hip penned "New Orleans is Sinking" in 1989. The Tragically Hip are a Canadian rock band from Kingston, Ontario, consisting of Gordon Downie (lead vocals and occasional acoustic guitar), Paul Langlois (guitar), Rob Baker (guitar), Gord Sinclair (bass) and Johnny Fay (drums). ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ...


The song "The Levee", recorded by Jonny Lang mentions "Take me down, to the levee where the river flows, gonna throw my blues down the levee and let them go". Jonny Lang (born Jon Gordon Langseth, Jr. ...


Behind The Levee is an album by New Orleans band The Subdudes The Subdudes are a rock group with 6 cds: Annunciation, Primitive Streak, The Subdudes (self-titled), Lucky, Live at Last, and Miracle Mule. ...


The song "He Made a Woman out of Me", written by Fred Burch and Donald Hill and appearing in the movie Crossroads, mentions "I was born on a levy/A little bit south of Montgomery". Crossroads is a 1986 cult film inspired by the legend of Robert Johnson. ...


"When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" is a 2006 documentary film directed by Spike Lee, about the devastation of New Orleans, Louisiana due to the failure of the levees during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The logo for When the Levees Broke shows the title on a depiction of a damaged New Orleans street sign When the Levees Broke, subtitled A Requiem in Four Acts is a 2006 documentary film directed by Spike Lee, about the devastation of New Orleans, Louisiana due to the failure... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... This article contains a trivia section. ... Nickname: Location in the State of Louisiana and the United States Coordinates: Country United States State Louisiana Parish Orleans Founded 1718 Government  - Mayor Ray Nagin (D) Area  - City  350. ... Lowest pressure 902 mbar (hPa; 26. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


"Hooch", a song by the band Everything states "Let's get real, Let's get heavy/ Till the water breaks the levee".


See also

This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... A dyke (or dike) is a stone or earthen wall constructed as a defence or as a boundary. ... A flood (in Old English flod, a word common to Teutonic languages; compare German Flut, Dutch vloed from the same root as is seen in flow, float) is an overflow of water, an expanse of water submerging land, a deluge. ... A road destroyed by subsidence and shear. ...

External links

  • Levees.Org (activist group in New Orleans to Hold the Corps Accountable)
  • New Orleans and the Delta
  • DeltaWorks.Org Project of levees, dams and barriers in the Netherlands
  • Effort to rebuild New Orleans Levees to Category 5 Design (non-profit)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Modern History Sourcebook: The Levée en Masse, Augt 23, 1793 (497 words)
In response to the dangers of foreign war, the Committee of public safety established a mass conscription (Levée en Masse) and succeeded in training an army of about 800,000 soldiers in less than a year.
In addition to bringing out the creativity of the Committee of Public Safety, the Levée en Masse represents a turning point in the history of warfare.
From now on, war was to become "total" involving all elements of the population, and all the reserves of the state.
Levee Fixes Falling Short, Experts Warn (1487 words)
Levee armoring significantly lowers the risk that a levee will collapse when it is overtopped by floodwaters.
Corps officials acknowledge that many surviving levees may have been weakened by the storm, but testing of the entire 350-mile system is not expected for a least another year.
Where the levee was to be rebuilt, the soil was white sand the consistency of powdered sugar, intermingled with a copious amount of tiny seashells.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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