local, and international concerns not fully addressed by the NED plan should also be formulated” (US WRC, 1983).
As described in Chapter 3 , the 1970 Flood Control Act authorizes the Corps to consider navigation, flood control, and water supply project operation alternatives, as well as alternatives focused on improving environmental quality. However, the study purpose and scope in the UMR–IWW navigation draft feasibility study was framed in comparatively narrow terms (USACE, 2000b):
The Navigation Study is a feasibility study addressing navigation improvement planning for the UMR–IWW System for the years 2000–2050. This study assesses the need for navigation improvements at 29 lock and dam sites (35 locks) on the UMR and 8 locks on the IWW and the impacts of providing these improvements. More specifically, the principal problem being addressed is the potential for significant traffic delays on the system within the 50-year planning horizon, delays that will result in economic losses to the Nation.
The study was conducted to determine whether navigation improvements were justified and, if so, the appropriate navigation improvements, sites, and sequencing for the 50-year planning horizon. The feasibility study effort also included the preparation of a system Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (USACE, 2000a).
This statement of study scope does not include consideration of alternatives aimed at enhancing environmental quality. Instead, it focuses solely on capital investments, with little attention devoted to facility operational alternatives. Moreover, environmental considerations are relegated to the status of constraints, rather than considered as planning objectives. The Corps thus ignored guidelines that allow them to address a wider array of environmental issues.
The committee notes that the Corps has recently addressed the extent to which environmental improvement may be used as a planning objective toward which alternatives may be formulated and evaluated. Chapter 2 of the Corps' Civil Works Planning Guidance Notebook defines a National Ecosystem Restoration (NER) objective, defining NER outputs as “increases in the net quantity and/or quality of desired ecosystem resources” (USACE, 2000a). This planning guidance was released well after the Corps began its feasibility study. Thus, rather than holding the Corps and the draft feasibility study to these recently-released standards, the committee suggests that this and other recent guidance be followed in future revisions to the feasibility study.
Another provision of this internal Corps planning guidance is the following:
Measurement of NER is based on changes in ecological resource quality as a function of improvement in habitat quality and/or quantity and expresses quantitatively in physical units or indexes (but not monetary units). These net changes are measured in the planning area and in the rest of the Nation. Single purpose ecosystem restoration plans shall be formulated and evaluated in terms of their net contributions to increases in ecosystem value (NER outputs), expressed in