New Directions in Water Resources Planning for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Committee to Assess the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Project Planning Procedures

Water Science and Technology Board

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1999



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--> New Directions in Water Resources Planning for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Committee to Assess the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Project Planning Procedures Water Science and Technology Board Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1999

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--> NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. DACW-72-96-C-0005 between the National Academy of Sciences and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 99-60701  International Standard Book Number 0-309-06097-4 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Ave., NW Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Cover by Van Nguyen, National Academy Press, using a photo from the South Florida Water Management District (http://www.sfwmd.gov). Copyright 1999 © by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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--> COMMITTEE TO ASSESS THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS WATER RESOURCES PROJECT PLANNING PROCEDURES DAVID H. MOREAU, Chair, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill FRED P. BOSSELMAN, IIT, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois RICHARD T. CARSON, Jr., University of California, San Diego JEANNE NIENABER CLARKE, University of Arizona, Tucson LEO M. EISEL, McLaughlin Water Engineers, Denver, Colorado WILFORD R. GARDNER, University of California, Berkeley RICHARD F. GORINI, J. Simmons Group, Houston, Texas CONSTANCE E. HUNT, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C. RAY B. KRONE, University of California, Davis ANN L. RILEY, Waterways Restoration Institute, Berkeley, California RICHARD E. SPARKS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign BORY STEINBERG, Steinberg and Associates, McLean, Virginia DOUGLAS C. WOOLLEY, Radford University, Radford, Virginia Staff JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Study Director ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Senior Project Assistant

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--> WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD HENRY J. VAUX, Jr., Chair, University of California, Oakland CAROL A. JOHNSTON, Vice Chair, University of Minnesota, Duluth RICHELLE ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington JOHN S. BOYER, University of Delaware, Lewes JOHN BRISCOE, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. DENISE FORT, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque EVILLE GORHAM, University of Minnesota, St. Paul CHARLES D. D. HOWARD, Charles Howard and Associates, Ltd., Victoria, British Columbia WILLIAM A. JURY, University of California, Riverside WILLIAM M. LEWIS, JR., University of Colorado, Boulder GARY S. LOGSDON, Black & Veatch, Cincinnati, Ohio RICHARD LUTHY, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh JOHN W. MORRIS, J.W. Morris, Ltd., Arlington, Virginia CHARLES R. O'MELIA, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland PHILIP A. PALMER, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Wilmington, Delaware REBECCA T. PARKIN, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. JOAN B. ROSE, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, Florida ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director JACQUELINE A. MACDONALD, Associate Director CHRIS ELFRING, Senior Staff Officer LAURA J. EHLERS, Staff Officer JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Staff Officer MARK GIBSON, Research Associate JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Senior Project Assistant KIMBERLY SWARTZ, Project Assistant

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--> COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville PATRICK R. ATKINS, Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JERRY F. FRANKLIN, University of Washington, Seattle B. JOHN GARRICK, PLG, Inc., Newport Beach, California THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. KAI N. LEE, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts JUDITH E. MCDOWELL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts RICHARD A. MESERVE, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. HUGH C. MORRIS, Canadian Global Change Program, Delta, British Columbia RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens THOMAS C. SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park MARY LOU ZOBACK, United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California Staff ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Associate Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative & Financial Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate MARQUITA SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst

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--> The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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--> Preface The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, like many other federal agencies, is a large, complex organization driven by executive and legislative directives, as well as its own traditions. It is also an organization in transition, moving from its traditional role as a leader in engineering solutions to the nation's flood and other water-related problems to a new role as a cooperative partner with nonfederal entities and addressing diverse, new priorities. Our committee was charged to review the Corps' planning procedures, consider the necessity for a major evaluation of the federal Principles and Guidelines, assess the implications of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, and comment upon the impacts of the use of risk and uncertainty analysis in Corps planning. Through the course of this study, it became clear to the committee that many desired improvements to the Corps' planning process can only be pursued in the context of broader, federal policy considerations. Moreover, at its first meeting the committee was encouraged by Assistant Secretary of the Army, Martin Lancaster, to "think outside the box" and assume a broad view of Corps planning. Our committee thus chose to consider some additional issues regarding the Corps' planning process, such as basinwide and regional planning and the Corps' environmental restoration activities. Our task was complicated by the numerous views about how the Corps does business. Traditional stories and anecdotes about the Corps abound. Many are true and supported by evidence; some are probably true but lacking documentation; others are probably untrue. Given our committee's diversity and wide range of perspectives, we spent considerable time trying to separate fact from fiction. In some instances were we able to do so. In others, a lack of time and resources limited our investigation, and we concluded by recommending to the Corps that they investigate the issues in greater depth. Our report does not call for radical changes in Corps planning procedures, although we do recommend several steps to modernize planning concepts and techniques. Several steps within the Corps' planning process require detailed engineering, environmental, and economic analyses. These procedures are inherently time-consuming and cannot be significantly streamlined without compromising their quality. While opportunities exist for the Corps to further reduce the length of its planning process, the committee found that the Corps' planning procedures are generally not excessively lengthy. While the committee's charge was restricted to a review of domestic activities, the Corps has also worked overseas and with foreign water resources

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--> planners, a tradition that continues today. The Corps should be encouraged to continue its cooperative efforts in international water planning, whether they involve overseas project planning or hosting foreign scientists at Corps research centers. The Corps should especially seek to apply the same high standards of project analysis in its international programs that it uses in its domestic efforts. Although several factors made our task difficult, a number of individuals made our task easier. Ed Dickey, former Chief of Planning for the Corps, informed us, encouraged us, and at times corrected us. Bob Daniel at Corps headquarters was very helpful in providing information and arranging interactions with Corps personnel in the districts and research organizations. John D'Anello and Raleigh Leef from Corps headquarters provided important input and advice. Kyle Schilling from the Corps' Institute for Water Resources also provided guidance. We also owe our thanks to literally dozens of other Corps of Engineers employees, too numerous to mention individually, who provided presentations and logistical support at the committee's various meetings and field trips across the country. Our thanks also go to Mike Slimak from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who provided a presentation to the committee at its meeting in Washington, DC in October 1997. Thanks also go to Tom MacVicar of MacVicar, Frederico, and Lamb, and Holly Stoerker of the Upper Mississippi River Basin Commission, who spoke to the committee at its West Palm Beach, FL meeting in February 1998. We also wish to thank Jack Morris, former Chief of Engineers and a current member of the Water Science and Technology Board, for attending the committee's meetings and providing valuable advice and oversight. Our work would not have been possible without the excellent staff of the Water Science and Technology Board. Steve Parker, Director of the Board, provided logistical support and overall direction of the project. Gary Krauss gave us excellent support while he was with the Board, but the heavy duty work fell to Jeffrey Jacobs, especially during the project's final stages when we had to assemble a coherent report from disparate parts and respond to the reviewers' many insightful comments. Ellen de Guzman's assistance with logistics and her work in pulling together the various manuscripts and revising them are greatly appreciated. Our committee thanks them all for their assistance. This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review and draft manuscripts remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: David Kennedy, California Department of Water Resources; Carol Johnston, University of Minnesota Natural Resources Research Institute; Debra Knopman, Progressive Policy Institute; Rutherford Platt, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Peter Rogers, Harvard University; Theodore M. Schad, consultant, Arlington, Virginia; Leonard Shabman, Virginia Polytechnical Institute; and Juan Valdés, University of Arizona.

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--> Although the individuals listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC. DAVID H. MOREAU CHAIR

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Evolution of Corps Programs and Federal Water Policies   10     Early Corps Activities in the Nation's River Basins   10     Federal Water Resources Planning at Mid-Century   13     The U.S. Water Resources Council and Title II River Basin Commissions   15     Program Reduction, 1970-1985   17 2   The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 and Other Legislative and Administrative Initiatives   19     Implications of WRDA '86 and other WRDAs   19     Risk and Uncertainty Issues   20 3   Assessment of the Corps' Planning Process   33     The Corps Planning Process   33     Types, Length, and Costs of Corps Planning Studies   39     Federal Budgeting and Authorization   41     Streamlining the Planning Process   43     Committee Recommendations   45     Commentary   47 4   Gaps Between Practices and Principles: Adjusting Planning and Guidance   51     Water Resource Planning Principles   51     Regional-Scale Planning   56     Partnership Planning   57     Reducing the Nation's Flood Damages: Policy and Procedural Issues   58     Other Considerations: The Need for Assessments   63 5   The Corps' Environmental Protection and Restoration Programs   65     Integrating Ecology into Water Resources Planning   66

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-->     Valuing the Benefits of Environmental Projects   67     Options for the Corps   70     Choosing Project Alternatives   72     The Current Debate over Project Evaluation   73     Measuring Environmental Benefits and Costs   75     Other Issues   77 6   Recommendations   79     Internal Organization   81     External Issues   81     Relations with Local Sponsors   82     Analytical Methodology   83     References   85     List of Acronyms   90     Appendices     A   Planning Guidance Letter 97-10   93 B   Cost Analysis of Selected Studies 1986-1996   99 C   List of Conditional Authorization Projects in WRDA '96   100 D   Beach Nourishment   102 E   Biographical Information   104