ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA. February 2016. The Institute for Water
Resources (IWR) published the document “Trends and Outlook: The Aquatic
Ecosystem Restoration Program of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers,” authored
by Dr. Dick Cole, environmental scientist, USACE.
1996, Congress authorized the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to improve
environmental quality (EQ), as first defined by the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA), using aquatic ecosystem restoration and protection measures.
The program grew rapidly before recently leveling off. Despite demonstrable restoration needs, many
forces may limit future success. This
study assessed the trends and trend-shaping forces potentially affecting the
success of the Corps aquatic ecosystem restoration program over the next three
decades, as indicated by program objective achievement. The trends and forces
document profound degradation and restoration needs as well as impediments to
report was developed primarily for use in Civil Works strategic planning. The
achievement of program-area objectives is the basis for evaluating program
success and ranking projects for investment priority. Consistent with that focus, this report
gauges past and future trends and forces influencing success based on
achievement of the program-area objectives interpreted from Corps authority and
policy guidance. The main consideration
is the form and amount of national benefit intended from program investment.
Future program achievement depends on being aware of and managing to possible
extent those trends and forces that impede objective achievement.
report organization reflects trends and forces influencing the Corps at global,
continental, and regional scales; in federal government; and the Corps itself. Except for megatrends, the analysis of trends
and possibilities of future trend-shifting events relies largely on qualitative
historical assessments because of data limitations. Outlook uncertainty is
unavoidable. The more probable trends and forces are emphasized in the
discussion, which focuses largely on aspects that the Corps may be able to
change or influence, as well as those aspects it cannot influence but should
consider for their effects and adaptation needs. Major points are summarized at the end.