US Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources

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Value to the Nation


Value to the Nation: Environment

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration and Environmental Stewardship

The USACE Civil Works Environmental Program focuses on two key areas: aquatic ecosystem restoration and stewardship of project lands. Efforts in both areas are guided by USACE environmental operating principles, which help us balance economic and environmental concerns.

  • The purpose of the aquatic ecosystem restoration program, one of USACE's three core mission areas, is to restore degraded ecosystem structures, function and natural processes to a more natural condition.
  • The mission of the stewardship program is to manage, conserve and protect the natural and cultural resources at USACE operated projects, consistent with project authorities.

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration

The budget for the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration program prioritizes studies or projects that support the cost-effective restoration of nationally or regionally significant ecosystems that USACE is uniquely well-suited to manage.

It supports efforts in five ecosystems of significance with well-established interagency collaboration: California Bay Delta, Chesapeake Bay, and Great Lakes. It supports priority work in the Missouri River, Columbia-Snake, and the Upper Mississippi River.

USACE coordinates closely with other Federal agencies with ongoing work in these ecosystems to synchronize activities and best leverage the federal investment.

This program also includes funding for compliance with existing biological opinions for the Columbia-Snake and Missouri River Basins, as well as a recent biological opinion for Mud Mountain Dam on the White River in Washington State.

Funding has been provided to continue designs for the Cano Martin Peña project in Puerto Rico and the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration project in California.

Environmental Stewardship

USACE is responsible for stewardship of about 12 million acres of project lands, manages over 500 species of concern and 51,000 cultural sites. USACE has more than 390,000 acres of environmentally sensitive areas supporting unique ecosystems.

The budget for the Environmental Stewardship program aims to bring high-priority master plans into compliance, protect the most vulnerable and threatened cultural resources, and manage or control invasive plant and animal species on approximately 580,000 acres.

The program fully supports the Veterans Curation Program, which hires and trains returning veterans.

Additionally, the stewardship program in FY17 was scheduled to complete work to maintain approximately 2,110 miles of Federal property boundary line, address an estimated 3,551 encroachments and trespasses, process an estimated 2,553 total land use requests, and manage a shoreline program with 74,000 dock and vegetation permits.

The 2017 budget included $6.9 million to improve pollinator health through treatment of invasive species, management of prairies, and maintenance of pollinator gardens.

During the period FY05 through FY14, USACE restored approximately 88,700 acres to a less degraded, more natural condition.

For more information read our Environment Brochure (pdf,1.45 MB), our Lands and Water Brochure (pdf, 2.21 MB) or read more about the USACE Environmental Program.