if the need for modernization of the P&G is clear, the procedures for accomplishing their modification are not, because the WRC is dormant and there are no plans to reestablish it. The administration should take whatever action necessary to charge someone to carefully evaluate the P&G, make updates and revisions, and propose a new document. If neither the administration nor Congress soon begins a new interagency effort to update these procedures, the Corps should take it upon itself to draft new planning procedures that reflect current conditions. The Corps is currently moving in that direction through its draft revisions of the "Guidance for Conducting Civil Works Planning Studies."
The Science Advisory Board of the EPA recently called attention to the fact that no existing federal program systematically addresses the highest categories of ecological risks, such as hydrologic alteration, habitat conversion, turbidity/sedimentation, habitat fragmentation, and introduction of exotic species. The Corps should take the opportunity to revise its planning guidelines to address these issues.
The understanding, modeling, and prediction of ecological system behavior is complex and time-consuming, even more challenging than the Corps' complex hydrologic modeling studies. To build on its existing expertise and extend it into these new areas, the Corps must continue to strengthen its knowledge in the biological and ecological sciences and attempt to quantify ecological benefits and costs as part of its modeling processes. Beyond monetized ecological values, the Corps should consider noneconomic ecosystem values and services, such as biodiversity and natural carbon storage, in considering water project alternatives. In revising its planning processes, the Corps should reconsider WRC standards and analytical techniques that disfavored nonstructural solutions to water resource problems. The best modem engineering practices usually lead to projects that include both structural and nonstructural components, and the planning rules should not bias the selection of the mixture.
To manage the nation's water resources effectively, the Corps must evaluate its larger projects from a regional perspective. For example, flood damage reduction projects that merely pass floods downstream do not serve the national interest, nor does shoreline protection that increases erosion elsewhere. The Corps should use the watershed or river basin, the estuarial region, and coastal unit as the basic spatial units in planning to account for the cumulative effects of water projects in the same hydrologic system.
The expansion of scientific knowledge has caused increased planning time not only for the Corps, but for every other government agency and the private sector. Similarly, increasingly complex analytical procedures, such as the Corps risk and uncertainty analyses, further lengthen the process. Our understanding of the world's complexity will only increase, and time saved through improved communications and more streamlined procedures can counteract but not reverse this trend. Expectations of reduced planning times should thus be modest.
Local cosponsors occasionally do not provide the Corps with adequate information about local stakeholder interests and desires, contributing to delays in planning. The committee thus recommends that local sponsors be required to provide basic economic and demographic data to the Corps, as well as provide assurances of local stakeholder involvement, before asking the Corps to undertake water project planning. The local sponsor should also be required to identify the