Each year, the Secretary of the Army submits an annual report to Congress, as instructed by the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, Section 7001. The Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development (Annual Report) identifies potential future water resources development studies and projects. All listed projects have completed feasibility reports, proposed feasibility studies, or proposed modifications to authorized water resources development projects or studies.
For inclusion on this list, Section 7001, requires a proposal to be submitted by non-federal interests. The list also includes any signed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Reports, recommending Congressional authorization of a water resources development project.
Feasibility reports, proposed studies and proposed modification must meet certain criteria: related to the Corps missions and authorities; require specific congressional authorization and have not yet been authorized; have not been included in a previous annual report; and if authorized, could be carried out by the Corps.
On April 11, 2017, the Corps published a notice in the Federal Registrar for proposals, with a deadline of August 9, 2017. The notice attempted to clarify the process for evaluating proposals based on the established criteria.
Proposals seeking construction authorizations include:
• Signed Chief’s Reports;
• Non-Federal feasibility reports submitted for review to the Secretary of the Army under Section 203 of WRDA 1986, as amended, under administration review;
• Ongoing feasibility studies that are expected to result in a Chief’s Report;
• Proposed modifications to environmental infrastructure projects that were authorized prior to the date of enactment of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (December 16, 2016); and
• Proposed modifications to authorized water resources development projects, requested by non-Federal interests through the WRRDA 2014 Section 7001 process.
Proposals seeking study authorizations include:
• New feasibility studies proposed by non-Federal interests through the WRRDA 2014 Section 7001 process will be evaluated by the Corps to determine whether or not there is existing study authority; and
• Proposed modifications to studies requested by non-Federal interests through the Section 7001 of WRRDA 2014 process will be evaluated by the Corps to determine whether or not there is existing study authority.
The following types of proposals are considered ineligible for inclusion in the annual report:
• Proposals for modifications to non-Federal projects where USACE has provided previous technical assistance. Authorization to provide technical assistance does not provide authorization of a water resources development project.
• Proposals for construction of a new water resources development project that is not the subject of a currently authorized USACE project or a complete or ongoing feasibility study.
• Proposals that do not include a request for a potential future water resources development project through completed feasibility reports, proposed feasibility studies, and proposed modifications to authorized projects or studies.
Of the 34 proposals submitted for the 2018 Annual Report, 18 were proposals for new feasibility study authorization and 16 were for modifications to existing projects. Of these proposals, 7 met the criteria and are listed in the main report table. The remaining 27 proposals that did not meet the criteria, appear in the appendix.
The report said the primary reason proposals are included in the appendix is that authority already exists to perform the requested work. It also noted that where authority already exists to undertake the efforts described in the proposals, inclusion in the appendix to the 2018 Annual Report does not stop the Corps from carrying out either the study or construction.