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Value to the Nation


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works environmental program has two major focus areas: protection & restoration, and stewardship. Efforts in both areas are guided by the Corps environmental operating principles, which help us balance economic and environmental concerns.

Protection & Restoration

The Corps protection & restoration program focuses on re-establishing the natural functions of our nation's rivers, lakes, wetlands and coasts. Restoration projects range in size from very small to very large. An example of this is the key role the Corps is playing in implementing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which is the largest environmental restoration project ever undertaken. The plan focuses on recovering critical ecological features of the original Everglades, including restoring natural water flows. Over time implementation of the plan is expected to help restore habitats that house many rare, endangered and threatened species; improve the water quality of several related lakes and estuaries; and ultimately create a healthy, sustainable ecosystem in south Florida. The project also will improve water supplies and provide flood protection for area residents.


The Corps stewardship program focuses on the ongoing care and protection of the 12 million acres of rivers, lakes and wetlands for which we are directly responsible. The twin goals of our stewardship efforts are to help maintain healthy ecosystems and to ensure the availability of these natural resources for future generations. Stewardship also increases the benefits that the American people derive from these natural resources. Wisely managed lands and waters contribute to the purity of our air and water, to the fertility of our soil, and to the natural control of flooding along our rivers and streams. Stewardship reduces siltation in our reservoirs, maintaining their water storage for hydropower, navigation, and water supply. It also contributes to the variety and abundance of our fish and wildlife, and to the attractiveness of our lands and waters.

In recent years the Corps has adopted a watershed approach to environmental concerns that emphasizes integrated, collaborative, regional approaches to problems. This approach is reflected in both the protection & restoration and stewardship programs.

For more information read our Environment Brochure (pdf,1.45 MB) or our Lands and Water Brochure (pdf, 2.21 MB)

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An excellent example of the Corps’ efforts to improve our nation’s rivers is the Sustainable Rivers Project. Through this program, the Corps is working in partnership with The Nature Conservancy to preserve and restore rivers in over 13 states. Some of the Corps largest ecosystem restoration projects in 2010 involved rivers, including the Columbia River Fish & Wildlife Mitigation project, Missouri River Fish & Wildlife Mitigation project, and the Upper Mississippi River Restoration project. Read more…

The Corps manages over 400 lakes and their associated lands nationwide.

An example of Corps’ efforts in action to care for these natural resources is an innovative pilot program through which the Corps and seven other federal agencies are working to "reinvent" over 30 lakes nationwide by involving area residents in Citizen Focus Groups that actively participate in lake management. Together, the Corps and these focus groups are assessing environmental and economic challenges affecting the lakes and developing innovative solutions to address them. Read more…

Wetlands are often called the nurseries of life because they provide a rich mix of nutrients, insects and plants that make them ideal nesting, resting, feeding and breeding grounds for many different types of creatures. Over a third of all federally listed rare and endangered species live in or depend upon wetlands. In addition, wetlands control flooding, improve water quality and serve as rest stops for migratory birds. Read more…

The fragile ecosystems in our nation's coastal areas are in peril from development and storms. The importance of protecting our nation's coasts grows each year as more and more Americans move to coastal areas. According to 2000 census data more than 54 percent of Americans live within 50 miles of a coast. Read more…
In recent years, the Corps has moved toward a watershed approach to water resources management. This approach integrates understanding and consideration of aquatic resource interactions with planning, development, and management actions across broad regions. Read more…

The Corps has been active in environmental efforts in regards to a variety of areas, including Rivers, Lakes, Coasts, Wetlands, and Watersheds. Read more…