as the “216” study panels), and one served as an overarching “coordinating committee.” Chairmen of the four study panels were all members of the coordinating committee, which facilitated discussions within and among the study panels. Each panel operated independently and in accord with National Research Council guidelines. The coordinating committee also issued its own report, which was subjected to standard National Research Council procedures. In doing so, it considered the draft reports from the panels (in the case of the Panel on Peer Review Procedures, its final report was used; see NRC, 2002b), as well as discussions among panels, panel chairs, and other coordinating committee members. This report from the coordinating committee is in accord with its statement of task, which requested that the committee “produce a synthesis document that includes the panel’s findings and recommendations and provides advice on implementation of the panels’ recommendations” as well as “identify overarching themes, issues, or recommendations that emerge from the panels’ studies, including possible future roles for the Corps in sustainable management of coastal and inland waters in the United States” (the coordinating committee’s full statement of task is listed in Chapter 1). The Corps of Engineers water resources infrastructure is extensive (it is located in all 50 U.S. states), the agency’s water projects impound some of the nation’s largest reservoirs, and its operations and maintenance activities support some of the nation’s great harbors and inland waterway systems. Corps infrastructure and operations, however, represent only a subset of a much larger national water resources infrastructure that includes projects from other federal agencies (e.g., the Bureau of Reclamation), state and local governments, and the private sector. This larger national water infrastructure includes dams, reservoirs, and water treatment and distribution systems. This report does not apply to all national water infrastructure, but rather focuses on the portion that is owned, operated, and maintained by the Corps of Engineers.

Following this Executive Summary, Chapter 1 summarizes and synthesizes the findings and recommendations of the other four study panels. The coordinating committee’s own study is then presented in Chapters 2-6.


A key theme that emerged from the 216 study panels was the need for authorities, planning approaches, and guidelines that better match the

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