8
Epilogue

There is a long record of formal development of and progress in federal water resources planning methods. The Corps of Engineers was for many years at the forefront of civil engineering practice, and Corps methods and techniques have underpinned the evaluation and development of much of the national infrastructure for flood control and navigation systems. Corps of Engineers planning guidance today is embodied largely within both the federal Principles and Guidelines and the Corps Planning Guidance Notebook. The Principles and Guidelines continues to frame Corps planning methods and the use of data sets, numerical models, and other analytical means. The P&G, however, has not been revised since 1983, and some of its analytical and planning precepts date back to the 1960s. This report has emphasized the changed nature of context of Corps projects and planning studies in the late twentieth century. As water resources management concepts and priorities, and social preferences and viewpoints, have broadened, the Corps has been challenged to stay abreast of analytical developments beyond traditional civil engineering concerns. In addition to these changes, the Corps works closely with other federal agencies with important water resources-related responsibilities and there is growing respect for the uncertainties inherent to ecosystems and the difficulties of accurately forecasting the outcomes of human interventions in ecosystems. Finally, the legislative context in which the Corps operates has become increasingly complex.

Against this backdrop—and guided by federal planning guidance in need of updating—the Corps has developed complex agency-specific guidance reflected in the more than 600 page Planning Guidance Notebook and scores of economic, engineering, and ecological models. These positive actions, however, have not clarified agency direction or reduced criticisms of the agency. The administration and Congress should rectify inconsistent legislation and set priorities, promote coordination across agencies, and provide leadership in revising federal guidance for the



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 117
Analytical Methods and Approaches for Water Resources Project Planning 8 Epilogue There is a long record of formal development of and progress in federal water resources planning methods. The Corps of Engineers was for many years at the forefront of civil engineering practice, and Corps methods and techniques have underpinned the evaluation and development of much of the national infrastructure for flood control and navigation systems. Corps of Engineers planning guidance today is embodied largely within both the federal Principles and Guidelines and the Corps Planning Guidance Notebook. The Principles and Guidelines continues to frame Corps planning methods and the use of data sets, numerical models, and other analytical means. The P&G, however, has not been revised since 1983, and some of its analytical and planning precepts date back to the 1960s. This report has emphasized the changed nature of context of Corps projects and planning studies in the late twentieth century. As water resources management concepts and priorities, and social preferences and viewpoints, have broadened, the Corps has been challenged to stay abreast of analytical developments beyond traditional civil engineering concerns. In addition to these changes, the Corps works closely with other federal agencies with important water resources-related responsibilities and there is growing respect for the uncertainties inherent to ecosystems and the difficulties of accurately forecasting the outcomes of human interventions in ecosystems. Finally, the legislative context in which the Corps operates has become increasingly complex. Against this backdrop—and guided by federal planning guidance in need of updating—the Corps has developed complex agency-specific guidance reflected in the more than 600 page Planning Guidance Notebook and scores of economic, engineering, and ecological models. These positive actions, however, have not clarified agency direction or reduced criticisms of the agency. The administration and Congress should rectify inconsistent legislation and set priorities, promote coordination across agencies, and provide leadership in revising federal guidance for the

OCR for page 117
Analytical Methods and Approaches for Water Resources Project Planning Corps. The Corps itself, too, must make changes; the agency is experiencing a shift from primarily constructing new civil works projects to (perhaps) primarily operating those civil works projects and is also grappling with possible future roles in ecosystem restoration. Internal adjustments will be necessary to make a successful transition. The Corps may have to undergo changes in organizational culture as well, because its studies and projects are assuming more interdisciplinary dimensions, and there may be additional pressures to better understand the effects of past projects in order to better manage the existing infrastructure. Fundamental legislative changes and a greater attention to inter-agency coordination will be essential. Without this leadership, the Corps will continue to be challenged to resolve conflicts between competing authorizations and competing stakeholder groups, and will continue to lack clarity on which types of planning methods and models the agency should pursue in addressing future water resources needs.