Acts further encouraged local interests to become more active stakeholders. As a result, nonfederal sponsors, having made substantial investments in project studies, have tended to become impatient with the Corps' planning process.
WRDA '86 initiated the sharing of construction costs of virtually all types of civil works projects. The cost-sharing requirements for the nonfederal sponsors developed in WRDA '86 are summarized in Table 2.1, and an example of the implications of these new arrangements is provided in Box 2.1, which compares cost-sharing arrangements before and after WRDA '86. Changes initiated by WRDA '96 are not included in either. The committee was especially interested in determining if these cost-sharing criteria contained any biases against nonstructural flood damage reduction projects. As described in Box 2.1, the committee found that no such biases were intended to result from the WRDA '86 cost-sharing criteria.
Table 2.1 lists cost-sharing criteria for structural and nonstructural projects; the distinction between the two is important. In Corps terminology, a nonstructural project is one that does not store or divert flood flows away from an inhabited area, whereas a structural project uses dams or levees to keep flood waters away from buildings and other infrastructure. A nonstructural project might include raising buildings above the high-water mark, relocating a community, or taking some other action that does not alter high flows. A structural project includes any structure designed to keep water away from an inhabited area.
Since the mid-1980s, legislation has expanded the types of studies and projects the Corps is allowed to undertake, especially when environmental outputs are a main objective. In WRDA '96, many programs authorized between WRDA '86 and WRDA '92 were enlarged and broadened. Several of the major changes are summarized in Table 2.2.
In addition, many new environmental programs and projects were authorized in WRDA '96 (Table 2.3). It should be noted that no further congressional authorization is generally needed to implement the recommendations, although modifications to broaden or increase the appropriations ceilings specified are likely to be necessary. The basic difference in the traditional study-to-construction process is that no further authorization is required for those programs authorized for construction. These tables suggest that the Corps is looking for innovative, cost-effective and technically sound solutions to a variety of water-related environmental problems.
Treatment of risk and uncertainty in the planning of Corps of Engineers projects has been among the organization's critical planning issues in the 1990s. The