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Planning

We study potential water resource development projects in Oregon and parts of southwestern Washington, analyzing and solving water resource issues of concern to local communities. These issues may involve navigational improvements, flood damage reduction, or ecosystem restoration

Planning Branch

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The Corps planning process follows a structured approach to problem-solving, using a rational framework for sound decision-making; it is also applicable for many other types of studies and we encourage its use. This six-step process is used for all Corps planning studies:

  1. Identifying problems and opportunities
  2. Inventorying and forecasting conditions
  3. Formulating alternative plans
  4. Evaluating alternative plans
  5. Comparing alternative plans
  6. Selecting a plan

Under a number of authorities, Planning Branch staff serve as both planners and managers for several types of projects, including:

  • Individually authorized studies and projects
  • Continuing Authorities Program
  • Planning Assistance to States
  • Flood Plain Management Services
  • Lower Columbia River Estuary

General Investigation studies and projects, also known as Individually Authorized studies and projects, are the usual and most common way for us to help resolve a water resource problem. They involve jointly conducting a study with a sponsor and, if shown by the study to be feasible, the construction and implementation of the project. This requires Congress first authorize a feasibility study and second, separately authorize the project itself. The project studies and construction are cost-shared between the federal government and the sponsor, who usually pays all operations and maintenance costs. Project-specific federal costs for individually authorized studies or projects aren't limited, unlike the Continuing Authorities Program.

 

The Project Partnership Kit introduces potential sponsors to:

  1. our organization and authorities;
  2. the scope of the Corps' civil works missions and programs;
  3. the project development process by which projects are planned, designed, constructed and maintained; and
  4. the Project Delivery Team.

Planning information

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The Planning Assistance to States program, also known as the Section 22 Program, is authorized by Section 22 of the Water Resource Development Act of 1974. This program authorizes the Corps to use its technical expertise in management of water and related land resources to help States deal with their water resource problems.

 

Upon request, the Corps of Engineers will cooperate with states in the preparation of plans for the development, utilization and conservation of water and related land resources located within the boundaries of the state. Assistance is given within the limits of available appropriations, but $500,000 is the maximum Federal funds available annually to any State. Cost sharing of this program is required by the non-Federal sponsor at 50 percent.The state's annual requests for assistance in addressing these resource problems are used to develop the Corps study program for that year.

 

A state's eligibility for planning assistance is determined by comparing the requested work items to the state's water and related land resource plan. Almost any non-federal entity can be a sponsor of a PAS study, including, but not limited to, a city, county, state agency, tribe, diking district, watershed council, etc. Another federal agency, private company or individual cannot be a sponsor.

 

Types of activities

  Typical activities studied under this program are flood damage reduction, water conservation, water quality, hydropower, erosion, methodology to evaluate a wetland or other resource and navigation. Studies vary in scope from environmental investigations for an individual reservoir to a comprehensive study to establish a state water budget. The number of studies is limited by the 500,000 in federal funds available annually for each state. Click here for a model of the Planning Assistance to States agreement. A sample of a letter of interest is available here.

Review Plans for Portland District planning studies are posted in accordance with Engineering Circular 1105-2-410 (published 22 August 2008).

The purpose of this circular is to provide "procedures for ensuring the quality and credibility of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision documents through an independent review process." It complies with Section 515 of Public Law 106-554 (referred to as the "Information Quality Act"); and the Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review by the Office of Management and Budget (referred to as the "OMB Peer Review Bulletin"). It also provides guidance for the implementation of Section 2034 of WRDA 2007 (P.L. 110-114).

This circular presents a framework for establishing the appropriate level and independence of review and detailed requirements for review documentation and dissemination.