The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has long been one of the federal government's key agencies in planning the uses of the nation's waterways and water resources. Though responsible for a range of water-related programs, the Corps's two traditional programs have been flood damage reduction and navigation enhancement. The water resource needs of the nation, however, have for decades been shifting away from engineered control of watersheds toward restoration of ecosystem services and natural hydrologic variability. In response to these shifting needs, legislation was enacted in 1990 which initiated the Corps's involvement in ecological restoration, which is now on par with the Corps's traditional flood damage reduction and navigation roles.
This book provides an analysis of the Corps's efforts in ecological restoration, and provides broader recommendations on how the corps might streamline their planning process. It also assesses the impacts of federal legislation on the Corps planning and projects, and provides recommendations on how relevant federal policies might be altered in order to improve Corps planning. Another important shift affecting the Corps has been federal cost-sharing arrangements (enacted in 1986), mandating greater financial participation in Corps water projects by local co-sponsors. The book describes how this has affected the Corps-sponsor relationship, and comments upon how each group must adjust to new planning and political realities.