implications all tend to lengthen the planning process. To maintain the high quality of its planning studies, the Corps must stay abreast of and use contemporary planning theories and methods, even if these add time to the planning process.
As a federal steward of the nation's water resources, the Corps promotes projects in the national interest and constructs projects consistent with the nation's economic and environmental statutes and goals. Not only does this require thorough and sometimes lengthy studies, but these larger concerns may conflict with local plans and projects. This clearly represents a conundrum for the Corps: to protect the federal interests or to promote local interests? Maintaining a responsiveness to local sponsor concerns and desires—which are often justified and understandable—while assuring that those local concerns are consistent with federal and basinwide goals, will present a great challenge to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the early 21st century.