It is important to emphasize, however, that it is not a particular applicant's financial standing that is the primary consideration for determining practicability, but rather characteristics of the project and what constitutes a reasonable expense for these types of projects that are most relevant to practicability determinations.
The analysis of alternatives, pursuant to the Guidelines will also satisfy NEPA, which also requires the analysis of alternatives. Therefore, districts should not conduct or document separate alternatives analyses for NEPA and the Guidelines. The only fundamental difference between alternatives analyses for NEPA and the Guidelines is that under NEPA, alternatives outside of the applicant's control may be considered. If such an analysis is conducted, simply document the findings, under the appropriate title, within the combined alternatives discussion.
Other Federal agencies (e.g., Federal Highway Administration/State Departments of Transportation (DOT)) routinely prepare NEPA documentation, containing alternatives analyses, in conjunction with projects which require Corps permits. Districts should strive to communicate the Guidelines alternatives analysis requirements to the lead agency to enable that agency to conduct an analysis of alternatives to satisfy Guidelines requirements and avoid the need for the district to have to conduct a subsequent analysis. For example, State DOT prepare NEPA documents to analyze alternative corridor alignments for new highways. To the extent that any of these proposed alignments involve waters of the United States and require an SP, the State DOT NEPA document should incorporate Guidelines alternatives requirements into the analysis of corridor alternatives.
- Corps responsibility
- Refer to 33 CFR 320.4
- Provides environmental as well as public interest protection
- Require mitigation
- Analyze alternatives
The public interest determination involves much more than an evaluation of impacts to wetlands. Once the project has satisfied the Guidelines, the project must also be evaluated to ensure that it is not contrary to the “public interest” (33 CFR Part 320.4). There are 20 public interest factors listed in 33 CFR 320.4. A project may have an adverse effect, a beneficial effect, a negligible effect or no effect on any or all of these factors. The Corps must evaluate the project in light of these factors, other