Improvements Needed in the Corps of Engineers' Regulatory Program for Protecting the Nation's Waters

CED-78-17: Published: Dec 23, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 23, 1977.

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The Army Corps of Engineers has a broad mandate to protect and conserve the nation's waters by approving only those activities such as dredging, filling, and construction that are in the public interest. While some elements of local discretion are necessary in a program of this nature, inconsistencies and variances between the operations of the Corps' districts have been of such magnitude as to hamper the establishment of an effective nationwide program.

The Corp's regulatory program is difficult to manage and evaluate because of its ambiguity, size, diversity, and the variety of approaches the Corps districts use in carrying it out. The headquarters and districts will have management and evaluation difficulties until the Corps: (1) defines the geographical boundaries of the regulatory program; and (2) provides guidelines to the districts to aid in achieving expected program results and interpreting and applying regulations and guidelines.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should: (1) provide for improved management and control of the Corp's regulatory program by directing the Corps headquarters office to take a more aggressive posture in ensuring that regulatory boundaries are defined and in providing additional guidance for districts to use in defining geographic boundaries; (2) provide additional guidance to the districts for evaluating permit applications that involve wetlands, making cumulative impact assessments, using general and blanket permits, handling violations, and providing information to the public on proposed projects; (3) provide additional guidance to the districts as to the methods to be used to achieve expected program results; and (4) establish a requirement for and specific guidance to conduct periodic program evaluations.

    Agency Affected:


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