Local officials have stepped up inspections near crucial Mississippi River levees, shutting down about a dozen construction sites deemed hazardous to the flood barriers. Any sort of dirt-moving procedure within 1,500 feet of a levee requires approvals from both local levee districts and the Army Corps of Engineers, and even then construction is supposed to halt during periods of high water. "We're ... seeing a rash of people right now who're doing work without levee district permits, and that makes stopping it more difficult," says Fran Campbell, executive director of the East Jefferson Levee District.

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