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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS WATER RESOURCES PLANNING

A NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR SERVICE

Coordinating Committee

Committee to Assess the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Methods of Analysis and Peer Review for Water Resources Project Planning

Water Science and Technology Board

Ocean Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the governing board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under contract no. DACW72-01-C-0001. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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COMMITTEE TO ASSESS THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS METHODS OF ANALYSIS AND PEER REVIEW FOR WATER RESOURCES PROJECT PLANNING

COORDINATING COMMITTEE*

LEONARD SHABMAN, Chair,

Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C.

GREGORY B. BAECHER,

University of Maryland, College Park

DONALD F. BOESCH,

University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Estuarine Studies, Cambridge

ROBERT W. HOWARTH,

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (through November 2002)

GERALDINE KNATZ,

Port of Long Beach, California

JAMES K. MITCHELL,

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

LARRY A. ROESNER,

Colorado State University, Fort Collins (through August 2003)

A. DAN TARLOCK,

Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois

VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL,

The Nature Conservancy, Altamonte Springs, Florida

JAMES G. WENZEL,

Marine Development Associates, Saratoga, California

M. GORDON WOLMAN,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

National Research Council Staff

JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Study Director

ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate

*  

The coordinating committee and four panels were organized and overseen by the National Academies’ Water Science and Technology Board (lead) and Ocean Studies Board to carry out studies mandated in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000. The members of the two boards and these panels are listed in Appendix C.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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Foreword

In the early 1800s the U.S. Congress first asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (which was created in 1775) to improve navigation on our waterways. From that beginning, the Corps began a program of public works that has reshaped virtually all of the nation’s river basins and coastal areas. Today we share in the benefits of those works: a reliable water transportation network, harbors that help link our economy to global markets, previously flood-prone land that is productive for urban and agricultural uses, hydroelectric power, and widely used recreational facilities.

Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Corps’ program is under intense scrutiny. Traditional constituencies press the Corps to complete projects that have been planned for many years and campaign for new projects to serve traditional flood control and navigation purposes. At the same time, environmental and taxpayer groups express concerns about these projects in Congress and in the courts. Some of these groups have exposed technical errors in analyses that have been used to justify projects. For these critics, the Corps’ water project development program must be reformed and the budget reduced or redirected.

Some of these same groups are pressing the administration, Congress, and the agency itself toward a new Corps mission, broadly described as environmental restoration. However, the concept of restoration awaits more precise definition, and the science of ecosystem restoration is in its infancy. Nevertheless, it is clear that restoration is a call for water resources management that accommodates and benefits from, rather than controls, annual and multiyear variability in the patterns and timing of river flows and the extremes of flood and drought.

Meanwhile, the Corps is affected by a general trend in all federal agencies toward smaller budgets and staffs. As demands for reform mount, the Corps’ current staffing and organization may have to be re-configured to provide improved and more credible planning reports.

As a result of this national debate over the Corps’ programs and the quality of its planning studies, the U.S. Congress in Section 216 of the

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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2000 Water Resources Development Act, requested that the National Academies conduct a study of procedures for reviewing the Corps’ planning studies. In addition, Congress requested a review of the “methods of analysis” used in Corps water resources planning.

In response to this request, the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC), in collaboration with the NRC’s Ocean Studies Board, appointed four study panels to assess (1) peer review, (2) planning methods, (3) river basin and coastal systems planning, and (4) resource stewardship and adaptive management, along with a coordinating committee to follow these panels’ progress and to write a synthesis report.

Our study panels and coordinating committee held several meetings over the course of the study period beginning in 2001. We spoke with dozens of Corps of Engineers personnel, visited several Corps projects, and heard from different groups with interests in Corps projects. We came away with an appreciation for the dedication of Corps personnel and the complications and challenges they face in trying to be responsive to local project sponsors and the nation’s taxpayers.

This is not the first study of the Corps by the National Academies. However, past studies were often focused on specific projects or on particular planning aspects. The reports in this series address the agency’s programs in a wider context. Because we appreciate the importance of the U.S. Congress and the sitting administration in directing Corps programs, many of our recommendations are directed to them.

The Corps has a long history of serving the nation and is one of our oldest and most recognized federal agencies, but it is today at an important crossroads. The nation, through the administration and Congress, must help the agency chart its way for the next century.

Leonard Shabman

Chair, Coordinating Committee

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
×

Preface

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has planned for and built many of the dams, levees, and channels that today control the flow of the nation’s rivers and that maintain navigable depths for its ports and harbors. Today, inland and deep-draft navigation contributes to the U.S. and international economies. Projects that mitigate flood flows and coastal storm surges allow human activity in areas that were once uninhabitable. Corps projects generate hydroelectric power, provide water supply storage for rural and urban areas, and support extensive water-based and coastal recreation opportunities. In the past three decades, the Corps has included environmental protection and aquatic ecosystem restoration objectives in its water project planning and development program. There is widespread recognition and appreciation of the benefits provided by Corps of Engineers programs. However, at the turn of twenty-first century the Corps finds itself with a shrinking budget and in the midst of numerous water planning and management controversies, even as many members of the public and in the Congress continue to hold the agency and its programs in high regard.

In Section 216 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000, the U.S. Congress asked The National Academies to review Corps planning and project review practices (the Foreword to this report explains the overall structure of the “216 studies”). This report recommends a new planning authority that will allow the Corps to better meet emerging national water management challenges. This authority, if executed according to this report’s recommendations, will help ensure that operations of the engineering works along the nation’s rivers and coasts are integrated with new project investments and are responsive to emerging demands on the nation’s aquatic environment. Planning in accord with this authority should help streamline decision making processes that are today often bound with conflict.

In developing this report, the coordinating committee benefited from participation in the deliberations of the panels on Peer Review, Planning

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
×

Methods, River Basin and Coastal Systems Planning, and Adaptive Management. We especially thank the study panel chairs, who also served on the coordinating committee and who kept us apprised of the status of each panel’s progress: Gregory Baecher, Donald Boesch, James Mitchell, and Peter Wilcock. Larry Roesner of Colorado State University served as chair of the River Basin and Coastal Systems Planning Panel during the early phases of the study and provided several important insights to the coordinating committee’s work. Chapter 1 of this report is a summary of the four panel reports.

We are grateful to the many individuals who shared their time and insights with this committee. From the administration, Fred Caver, Deputy Director of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dominic Izzo, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and Rick Mertens of the Water and Power Branch, Office of Management and Budget made helpful presentations. John Anderson and Art Chan of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Ben Grumbles of the House Committee on Science provided congressional staff perspectives on the scope and purpose of the 216 studies. We were also honored by the opportunity to meet with U.S. Representative Wayne Gilchrest (D-MD). General Vald Heiberg, former Chief of Engineers, presented a useful historical perspective on the Corps program. General Robert Griffin, Director of Civil Works and James Johnson, former Chief of Planning, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave their time generously in speculating honestly and openly on the challenges now facing the agency. William Werick, of the Corps Institute for Water Resources, in partnership with Eldon James of the Rappahannock River (Virginia) Basin Commission, provided an informative tutorial on the Corps’ Shared Vision Modeling package.

The coordinating committee acknowledges the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB) staff for its steadfast effort in organizing the committee’s activities during and between meetings throughout the study process. Their assistance has been both tireless and encouraging. In particular, the willingness of Jeffrey Jacobs, senior staff officer, to debate and challenge the arguments being made and then to edit drafts with great care made it possible for the committee to prepare a concisely-written, substantive report. Ellen de Guzman, research associate at the WSTB, expertly attended to administrative details and also assisted with editorial, referencing, and graphics needs. The advice and counsel of Stephen Parker, director of the Board, helped keep all the 216 panels focused on their individual tasks. We also thank the staff from the Ocean Studies Board—especially

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
×

Dan Walker—who oversaw the Panel on River Basins and Coastal Systems. Our thanks also go to Patricia McAdams, who provided able assistance and a fresh perspective in helping to prepare the summary of the panel reports.

This report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for diversity of perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following for their reviews of the report: Lillian Borrone, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (retired); Robert Frosch, Harvard University; Thomas Graff, Environmental Defense; Henry Hatch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (retired); Walter Lynn, Cornell University; Robert Perciasepe, National Aududon Society; Peter Rogers, Harvard University, and; James Wescoat, University of Illinois. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or the recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was monitored by Richard Conway, Union Carbide (retired). Dr. Conway was appointed by the National Research council and was responsible for ensuring that an independent examination of the report was carefully carried out in accordance with NRC institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

Leonard A. Shabman

Chair

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Planning: A New Opportunity for Service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10975.
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From the Executive Summary:

There are some concerns that the current Corps planning and construction budget has not kept pace with expanding national water management needs for flood hazard management, water transportation, and other purposes. At the same time, others question the wisdom of and budgetary prospects for the continuation of a traditional water project construction program. Debates about water use and funding priorities now extend to intense scrutiny of Corps of Engineers planning, investment, and project operations programs.

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