Corps Invites Comment On Agency-Specific Procedures For Water Management

On February 16, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for the Army for Civil Works posted a notice in the Federal Register regarding a comment period for a proposed rule guiding how the Corps of Engineers assesses water resources investments.

“The rule establishes Agency Specific Procedures (ASPs) for the Corps’ implementation of the Principles, Requirements, and Guidelines which have guided how the Corps of Engineers assesses water resources investments since 1983.” the notice stated. “It provides a framework to govern how the Corps would evaluate proposed water resource investments, including identification of which Corps programs and activities are subject to the PR&Gs. The Corps is proposing this rule in response to congressional direction provided in authorizing language in the Water Resources Development Act of 2020.”

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register to gather comments over a 60-day period. Comments must be received on or before April 15. Webinars will be conducted to provide an overview of the proposed rule and to gather additional input. Comments may be submitted through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:

“Through these procedures, we will continue our efforts to modernize Civil Works programs by maximizing public benefits and ensuring recommended projects achieve their water management objectives and better reflect community needs and priorities,” said Michael Connor, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works. “We are committed to integrating economic, environmental and social benefits into our planning and improving the Corps’ ability to build resilience in a broad range of communities, including rural, tribal and low-income areas.”

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Through the ASPs, the Corps has laid out a decision-making framework to meet the federal objective for future water resource investments set forth in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. Passed after Hurricane Katrina, WRDA 2007 set forth the federal objective for future water resource investments to reflect national priorities, encourage economic development and protect the environment by seeking to maximize sustainable economic development, avoid the unwise use of floodplains and protect and restore natural ecosystems. Additional changes to the procedures to evaluate proposed investments include how “nature-based solutions” and “nonstructural features” can be better incorporated into projects.

An example of a “nature-based solution” that would also be “nonstructural,” according to Jennifer Armstrong, director of government relations at Waterways Council Inc., might be a series of sand dunes protecting a beach, rather than a sea wall.

For further information, contact Stacey M. Jensen, acting director for policy and legislation, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), 108 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310–0108, at (703) 459–6026 or

The WCI plans to submit its own detailed comments after further study.