The following is a discussion of the types of decision documents that may need to be prepared to support the project cooperation agreement. Once Congress authorizes a study, the reconnaissance and feasibility phases will normally result in a feasibility report and NEPA document. Ideally, this feasibility report is both the authorizing document and the supporting document for the project cooperation agreement. However, this requires the following conditions to be true: that the project cooperation agreement is completed within 3 years of the last approved economic analysis; that changes do not occur between completion of the feasibility report and completion of the project cooperation agreement; and that the project was developed after September 1989. When any of these conditions are not true, the following guidance is provided:
No Change from Feasibility Report. If more than 3 years have elapsed since the last approved economic analysis in a feasibility report, and there are no changes, then a post-authorization decision document, which may be titled as a limited reevaluation report (LRR), is prepared to update the economic analysis to show that the project remains justified. This post-authorization decision document, along with the feasibility report are then used as the basis for a Federal commitment and supporting documents for the project cooperation agreement.
Limited Changes from Feasibility Report. If the project has changed, but not substantially, then a post-authorization decision document, which may also be titled as a limited reevaluation report (LRR) or an engineering documentation report (EDR), is prepared. This situation covers reevaluations where more than an economic update is needed but the changes are within the approval authority of the district commander. The post-authorization decision document may also evaluate the recommended plan for compliance with current policies, criteria, guidelines and incremental justification, and may involve limited changes in economics and/or environmental effects or other technical aspects of the recommended project. The post authorization decision document along with the feasibility report are then used as the basis for a Federal commitment and supporting documents for the project cooperation agreement.
Project Exceeds Maximum Cost Limit. Section 902, of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, as amended, legislates a maximum total project cost. Projects to which this limitation applies and for which increases in costs exceed the limitations established by Section 902, as amended, will require further authorization by Congress, raising the maximum cost established for the project. If the current estimate of the project exceeds the maximum cost limit and there are no other substantial changes from the feasibility report, then a post-authorization decision document, which may be titled as a limited reevaluation report (LRR), is prepared as a basis to obtain the required authorization by Congress. In this case, the post-authorization decision document would recommend congressional reauthorization of the project. Pending congressional authorization, the post-authorization decision document along with the feasibility report are then used as the basis for a Federal commitment and supporting documents for the project cooperation agreement.
Significant Changes from Feasibility Report. If a project has changed substantially after authorization, then a post-authorization decision document, which may be titled as a general reevaluation report (GRR), is prepared and used as the supporting document for the project cooperation agreement. Substantial changes are defined as changes that are beyond the district commander's approval authority. The post-authorization document that reformulates a project would be similar to a feasibility report and will contain an engineering appendix, and National Environmental Policy Act documentation. A post-authorization document that reformulates an authorized portion of a project, such as recreation or mitigation features, along with the feasibility study, would be used as the basis for a Federal commitment and supporting documents for the project cooperation agreement. If the Federal share of the total project cost is not greater than $15 million and the changes proposed in the post-authorization decision document are within the Chief of Engineers' discretionary authority, then the document will be approved by the Division Commander. If reauthorization is necessary, the document will be processed in the same manner as a feasibility report.
Document Titles. Prior USACE guidance has established definitions for limited reevaluation reports (LRR), general reevaluation reports (GRR), engineering documentation reports (EDR) and decision documents, which are all post-authorization decision documents, and the definitions are not mutually exclusive. While the paragraphs above provide criteria that can be used to define these documents, use of these names is not required. While the paragraphs above indicate that an alternate title may be used, each of the documents may be referred to as a post-authorization decision document. This convention would be especially appropriate in cases where the approval authority may change during the development of the document.
A more detailed discussion may be found at http://www.publications.usace.army.mil/USACE-Publications/Engineer-Regulations/ (ER 1105-2-100, Planning Guidance Notebook).