US Army Corps of Engineers

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a number of authorities, clustered around implementation of the Clean Water Act. Salish Sea work is managed by the Seattle District, led by a Colonel, the District Engineer, on a three year rotation.

  • The Civil Works Program could be among the nations largest pathways for Federal restoration capacity in the Salish Sea. USACE has specific procedures for planning that lead to authorization and appropriation, with may checks and balances. Navigating that process requires both financial, technical, and political capacity. Substantial resources are consumed before construction, the local partner may need to make substantial progress before USACE will commit to a project, and ultimately, USACE firmly controls their planning and decision process.
  • Levee Management and Flood Response
  • Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering - an inter-agency initiative focused on developing strategies for shoreline protection. Due to the USACE project-based fiscal model, such initiatives are rare and represent a limited resource for programmatic work.
  • Regulatory Program
    • USACE administers federal wetland regulations under Clean Water Act (section 404), and Rivers and Harbors Act which under section 10 regulates work in navigable waters. This serves as the "Federal Nexus" for "in-water work" and so USACE regulators manage a range of federal requirements. In this way, when any effort falls under USACE jurisdiction, it results in a dramatic increase of regulatory review. - Seattle District


  • Clean Water Act - Section 404 regulation of wetlands and other "waters of the United States".
  • Rivers and Harbors Act - Section 10 regulation of navigable waterways
  • Section 408 regulation is required for modification of any federal levee on a river.
  • Continuing Authorities Programs - civil works for ecosystem restoration and flood management
  • USACE is a major player in Flood Hazard Management, both levee maintenance and emergency response.
  • Dredged material management and dredging Operations
  • Dam safety
  • Army Corps staffing is project driven, with staff having to bill labor to project accounts in 15 minute increments, such that the organization may have difficulty taking on diffuse or speculative programmatic efforts.