Institute for Water Resources

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Value to the Nation

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From our hundreds of rivers, lakes and wetlands to our thousands of miles of coastal shoreline, we are fortunate in America to enjoy an abundance of water resources. As a nation, we value these resources for their natural beauty; for the many ways they help meet human needs; and for the fact that they provide habitat for thousands of species of plants, fish and wildlife.

The Corps is proud to have the responsibility of helping to care for these important aquatic resources. Through its Civil Works program the Corps carries out a wide array of projects that provide:

One major challenge the Corps and other government agencies face is finding the right balance among the often conflicting concerns our society has related to our water resources. We want these resources to help fuel economic growth (navigation, hydropower). We want them to provide social benefits (recreation). And finally, we want to be sure that they are available for future generations (environmental protection and restoration).

The Corps seeks to achieve this balance through an integrated approach to water resources management that focuses on regional solutions, involving an array of stakeholders (i.e. other government agencies, environmental groups, businesses and private organizations). In recent years, this approach has largely concentrated on watersheds. More information about this approach is available in the Civil Works Strategic Plan (pdf, 2.46 MB).

For more information read our Civil Works Program Brochure (pdf, 3.90 MB) or browse through the information for each business line.

More Information

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Whether you live on the banks of a river or hundreds of miles from one, your life is impacted upon every day by what happens on our nation's waterways. Our rivers provide affordable transportation for raw materials, manufactured products and consumer goods; a ready water supply for homes and businesses; irrigation for farms; recreation; and habitats for plants, fish and wildlife. Read more
The Corps manages hundreds of lakes nationwide. Corps personnel work diligently to focus the resources of these lakes to meet a wide variety of purposes including generating power for homes and businesses; supplying water for nearby communities; and providing wonderful recreational get-away spots for camping, fishing, boating, hiking and more. We also strive to be good stewards of the environment in these areas. Read more
Wetlands play many critical environmental roles, including providing habitat for rare, threatened and endangered species; serving as rest stops for migratory birds; helping to prevent floods; controlling erosion; and filtering water. Wetlands can range in size and scope from small marshes to an area as large as the Everglades. Read more
America's ever-increasing population and the growing complexity of our society are making it increasingly challenging for the Corps and other groups to balance the many competing demands on our nation's water resources. Today, solving a problem in one location may well create problems in a nearby area. To address this concern the Corps and others have adopted a watershed approach to addressing water resource issues. Read more
From our bustling ports and harbors to our smooth, sand beaches, our nation's coasts are a testament to the economic vitality and natural beauty of America. Our coasts are also home to fragile ecosystems hosting many rare, threatened and endangered species. Read more
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