33 CFR 236.4 - Background.
(a) The role of the Corps of Engineers in the development of water and related land resources has gradually broadened over the past century. Starting with the development of navigation on the Mississippi River in 1824, the Corps role has grown to encompass, among others, flood control, beach erosion control and hurricane protection, hydroelectric power, recreation, water supply, water quality, fish and wildlife and low-flow augmentation. Laws, executive orders, and national policies promulgated in the past decade require that the quality of the environment be protected and, where possible, enhanced as the nation grows. As a result, the Federal role in EQ, including the Corps, has continued to broaden. Balancing economic and environmental interests is a major requirement to be considered in the planning of all Corps projects.
(b) Enhancement of the environment is an objective of Federal water resource programs to be considered in the planning, design, construction, and operation and maintenance of projects. Opportunities for enhancement of the environment are sought through each of the above phases of project development. Specific considerations may include, but are not limited to, actions to preserve or enhance critical habitat for fish and wildlife; maintain or enhance water quality; improve streamflow; preservation and restoration of certain cultural resources, and the preservation or creation of wetlands.
(c) The 1105-2-200 series of Engineer Regulations describe the procedures to be followed in developing water resource plans. These procedures require the establishment of planning objectives (generally encompassing a combination of National Economic Development (NED) and EQ outputs), and evaluation of alternative plans to meet those objectives to differing degrees. With respect to the recommendation of measures for Corps implementation, ER 1105-2-200 states that, “If the selected plan or a portion thereof is not within existing Corps implementation authority, but is responsive to the planning objectives established for the study, the reporting officer may recommend Federal (Corps) participation.” The ER further states that the basis for and extent of such participation is to be specified, including the precedent setting aspects of the recommendation, and further, that such recommendations are to be coordinated through DAEN-CWP before commitments are made to states or local interests. This regulation expands upon that policy and provides operational policies and criteria which will allow the field to recommend authorization for implementation of certain EQ measures.