33 CFR Appendix B to Part 263, Application of Multiobjective Planning Framework to Continuing Authorities Program

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Appendix B to Part 263 - Application of Multiobjective Planning Framework to Continuing Authorities Program

1. General. The planning process described in the ER 1105-2-200 series of regulations including the implementation of Federal planning and evaluation criteria, are generally applicable to studies conducted under the Continuing Authorities Program. However, due to the limited scope of many of the plans and projects considered under this program, modification of the process is appropriate. Specific modification of the requirements of the planning criteria is not appropriate since the legislative and executive authorities setting forth these criteria do not differentiate between various types of level C implementation studies. Discretion must be employed by reporting officers and reviewers of Detailed Project Reports to insure that projects recommended for implementation by the Corps have been selected on the basis of information and analyses consistent with the WRC Principles and Standards, while at the same time keeping the requirements for information and analyses consistent with the scope of the study, solutions recommended, and the Program completion-time objectives outlined in § 263.18 of this regulation.

2. Plan Formulation Stages.

a. Stage 1 - Reconnaissance Study (Recon). As presented in para. 6c, a Reconnaissance will replace the Development of a Plan of Study as the primary element of Stage 1 planning. As a general rule, a Recon should be conducted by a study team consisting of an engineer, an economist, and an environmentalist. A one-to-two day field reconnaissance should be sufficient to analyze the need for a project, to develop sketch plans, discuss views and capabilities of local interests, and identify the economy of the potential project area and possible environmental issues that would need to be addressed if a feasibility study were to be conducted. Additional effort should pinpoint all data deficiencies, types of investigations required for the feasibility study, and the estimated cost of the study. The latter identification process can be developed as a Plan of Study for the feasibility study, if approved and funded. To accomplish the intended purpose of the Recon, within the time and cost objectives given in this regulation, reporting officers are not required to develop a specific project (except for emergency situations under Section 14 or 3 Authorities), but should only provide the information required to make a decision as to whether there is a Federal interest in conducting a feasibility study. Mature, seasoned judgment is a prime requisite.

b. Stage 2 - Development of Alternative Plans. While the ER 1105-2-200 series of regulations provides for a three-stage development of plans, studies under Continuing Authorities may consolidate these two final stages (intermediate and detailed), into a single stage, if appropriate. This consolidation does not eliminate any of the planning tasks, as discussed in para 3 below, nor does it diminish the concept of screening a full array of alternatives including nonstructural measures, with increasing levels of detail in the assessment of impacts and evaluation as planning progresses to plan selection. The primary emphasis in making the consolidation of these two stages is that the plan selection is normally made on the basis of more limited data and analyses than appropriate for studies conducted under the Level C Survey Program or the Phase I AE&D Program.

c. Stage 3 - Development of Recommended Plan. The feasibility study under the Continuing Authorities Program will include the design of a recommended plan to the extent necessary to proceed directly from the Detailed Project Report to preparation of plans and specifications. While studies under the Level C Survey Program would complete plan formulation prior to accomplishing detailed project design, the nature of this Program necessitates a flexible design phase, wherein changes in scope of the selected plan, with accompanying changes in project impacts and evaluation, are to be expected and handled by planning personnel in order that the DPR will reflect a selected plan consistent with completed detailed design and a plan justified under the current Federal evaluation criteria for recommending Federal participation.

3. Planning Tasks.

a. Problem Identification. While planning under Continuing Authorities is to be on a multi-objective basis, the range of problems that can be addressed under a particular Program authority is more limited than normally considered in the conduct of studies specifically authorized by Congress. A good effort to focus the study on relevant problems should be made in the Recon phase of the study, while more intense efforts at data collection and definition of the problems and associated needs should be accomplished during Stage 2 planning.

b. Formulation of Alternatives. There are no fundamental differences in the process of formulating alternatives under these Program authorities than in Level C Survey studies, with the exception that the array of alternatives will normally be more limited based on the discussion in para 3a above. The level of detail to which the alternatives are formulated, with associated assessments of impacts and evaluation of beneficial and adverse contributions, will vary greatly depending on the study authority. In some cases, alternatives will be screened and eliminated for various reasons without full development of a tentative plan which can be assessed and evaluated. Such screening is consistent with the nature of this Program; however, good judgment and interdisciplinary participation should be emphasized in such preliminary screenings. The guidance in the ER 1105-2-200 series of regulations with regard to consideration of non-structural measures and formulation of NED and EQ plans, is fully applicable to studies conducted under this Program.

c. Impact Assessment. There is no difference in the requirements for the assessment of impacts for studies conducted under Continuing Authorities and those under the Level C Survey Program. As in all studies, the extent to which information is obtained to adequately assess impacts of alternative plans is a matter of discretion of the reporting officer, bearing in mind the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and Section 122, Public Law 91-611.

d. Evaluation. The processes, analyses and displays for evaluation of alternative plans as prescribed in the ER 1105-2-200 series of regulations are generally applicable to studies conducted under Continuing Authorities. Again, the level of detail, and not the process itself, is to be consistent with the study authority and the needs of the decision-making process.