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Planning Models

    Certified and other national models, guidance, and PCX links.

    Certified Models
    These models have met all requirements and are certified for use on planning studies.
    • Beach-fx 1.0 (Certified)
        BEACH-fx is a certified prototype shore protection engineering-economic software tool. The model consists of a Monte-Carlo simulation that evaluates beach erosion, physical storm impacts, and damages that occur from a storm passing ashore. The goal of this project is to produce a tool to assist engineers in coastal nourishment and rehabilitation studies.
    • HarborSym (Certified)
        HarborSym is a planning-level simulation model designed to assist in economic analyses of coastal harbors. With user-provided input data, such as the port layout, vessel calls, and transit rules, the model calculates vessel interactions within the harbor. Unproductive wait times result when vessels are forced to delay sailing due to transit restrictions within the channel; HarborSym captures these delays.
    • HEC-EFM: Ecosystem Functions Model
        The Ecosystem Functions Model (HEC-EFM) is designed to help study teams determine ecosystem responses to changes in the flow regime of a river or connected wetland. HEC-EFM analyses involve: 1) statistical analyses of relationships between hydrology and ecology, 2) hydraulic modeling, and 3) use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to display results and other relevant spatial data.
    • HEC-FDA: Flood Damage Reduction Analysis Software (Certified)
        This certified software provides the capability to perform an integrated hydrologic engineering and economic analysis during the formulation and evaluation of flood risk management plans. HEC-FDA is designed to assist USACE study members in using risk analysis procedures for formulating and evaluating flood risk management measures (EM 1110-2-1619, ER 1105-2-101).
    • LifeSim
        The Risk Management Center's (RMC) Life Loss Estimation (LifeSim) software is spatially-distributed dynamic simulation modeling system for estimating potential life loss and direct economic damages from floods. The software is used extensively in the USACE Dam and Levee Safety Programs to inform program priorities and investment decisions; however, for use in traditional USACE planning studies it is certified for estimating potential life loss only.
    • IWR Planning Suite (Certified)
        This model assists with formulating plans, cost-effectiveness, and incremental cost analysis, which are required in ecosystem restoration projects. Use of this model is acceptable for studies with Review Plans approved prior to May 31, 2018. Other studies should be using IWR Planning Suite II (Version 2.0.9).
    • IWR Planning Suite 2.0.6 (Certified)
        This model expands Version by adding an "annualizer" module. This module allows for easy calculations of equivalent annual average values, total net values, annualizing non-monetary benefits, and calculating costs. Use of this model is acceptable for studies with Review Plans approved prior to May 31, 2018. Other studies should be using IWR Planning Suite II (Version 2.0.9).
    • IWR Planning Suite II (version 2.0.9) (Certified)
        IWR Planning Suite II (version 2.0.9) includes the following modules to assist with plan formulation and evaluation: Plan Generator; Cost-Effectiveness and Incremental Cost Analysis (CE/ICA); Annualizer; Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA); Uncertainty Analysis; and Watershed Wizard. This version of the software provides improved performance across all modules, a new user interface and database, and more robust reporting capabilities than previous versions. Please refer to the 31 May certification memo for conditions regarding use of this model.
    • Net Emissions Analysis Tool  Corps Castle
        The USACE Net Emissions Analysis Tool (NEAT) calculates the net emissions for air pollutants and greenhouse gas species and their corresponding social costs over a project lifetime. These calculations are required to quantify net emissions to meet guidance on National Environmental Policy Act Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change.
    • ORNIM (Certified)
        Ohio River Navigation Investment Model (ORNIM) is a planning-level model developed by the Corps of Engineers to assist in economic analysis of proposed inland navigation investments. OR-NIM was first used in the Ohio River Mainstem Systems Study (ORMSS) to develop a system investment plan incorporating risk and uncertainty, and made possible the first systemwide optimization of navigation investments.
    • Regional Economic System (RECONS)
        The RECONS 2.0 model is a regional economic impact modeling tool developed by the USACE Institute for Water Resources (IWR) to provide accurate and defensible estimates of regional economic impacts associated with Federal expenditures. This modeling tool automates calculations and generates estimates of jobs and other economic measures such as income and sales associated with USACE spending on Civil Works programs and projects. The RECONS 2.0 model incorporates impact area data, multipliers, direct ratios, and geographic capture rates extracted from other planning models utilized to evaluate the economic effects of proposed actions.
    • Section 902 Analysis Certified Tool
        Section 902 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 defines the maximum amount that a project may cost. This is often called the 902 Limit or Project Cost Cap. It is, "The maximum project cost limit imposed by Section 902 is a numerical value specified by law which must be computed in a legal manner (ER 1105-2-100 Appendix G)." This tool assists with this calculation.
    • Unit Day Value (UDV) tool
        The Unit Day Value (UDV) tool is a certified spreadsheet intended to calculate recreation values. Please note the policy limitations on using UDV and also ensure that the current year's version (updated annually) is being employed.

    National Models In Review
    • HEC-EFM Plotter: Ecosystem Functions Model Plotter
        HEC-EFM Plotter is designed to help users view, navigate, and interpret output generated by HEC-EFM. Available outputs are automatically imported as a series of "Standard Plots" for the flow regimes and relationships being analyzed in HEC-EFM.
    • HEC-WAT: Watershed Analysis Tool
        The Watershed Analysis Tool (HEC-WAT) software developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers' Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) is a tool that streamlines the analytical and reporting processes of software commonly used by the multi-disciplinary teams in Corps offices for water resources studies. The WAT accomplishes this through a common graphical user interface in the PC environment.

    Ecosystem Restoration Model Library
    The Ecosystem Restoration Planning Center of Expertise Model Library is intended to serve planners and practitioners of ecosystem restoration by consolidating and providing access to information about ecosystem restoration planning models and software.

    Model Documentation and Resources
    This page provides resources and links to different models that can be used on a variety of water resources projects.


    Planning Centers of Expertise


    • An Introduction to the Net Emissions Analysis Tool (NEAT) (19 October)
      This webinar provided an overview of the Net Emissions Analysis Tool (NEAT). Presenter Jason Emmons (Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis Sub-CoP) discussed the quantification of gross and net greenhouse gases (GHG) with their associated social costs, which should be included in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents per the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Interim NEPA Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change. Despite the numerous models available for quantifying emissions, a model is needed that can quantify and integrate air pollutant and GHG emissions from diverse emissions sources to compute the net effects relevant for USACE projects. To this end, the NEAT model was developed to utilize output data from pre-existing air pollutant and GHG emissions models while providing the capability to quantify GHG fluxes from Federal actions such as wetland restoration, flood risk management, and vertical construction. NEAT leverages the benefits of pre-existing models, while innovating new capabilities for quantifying emissions using an expandable tabular methodology that can accommodate additional GHG sources and sinks as needed. NEAT combines results from these sources and sinks to calculate the net emissions for air pollutants and GHG species and their corresponding social costs over a project lifetime. These calculations are essential for project planners in USACE as they quantify net emissions for NEPA purposes.

    • Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research Program (EMRRP) Overview (27 January)
      This webinar provided an overview of the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research Program (EMRRP) and how it can help address current and future environmental planning challenges. Presenter Dr. Brook Herman (Research Ecologist and Program Manager, EMRRP) discussed how EMRRP is designed to be a flexible research program capable of addressing a wide range of issues associated with ecosystem restoration that can be a source of collaboration bringing together planning teams with subject matter experts. Dr. Herman also described how research funded by EMRRP has addressed planning challenges, such as helping to increase the number of certified ecological planning models and providing knowledge transfer of monitoring and adaptive management practices. In addition, Dr. Herman addressed the Statement of Need (SON) process and important submittal dates.

    • Ecological Benefits, Resource Significance, and Their Impact on Project Budget (18 November)
      This webinar provided an overview of how significance, benefits, and budget work together. Presenter Debby Scerno (Environmental Reviewer, Office of Water Project Review) focused on Ecosystem Restoration projects, but much of the information provided can also be applied to compensatory mitigation. The webinar highlighted tools and resources to help project teams describe resource significance for both Ecosystem Restoration and mitigation, as well as to determine what benefits will be sought for a project.
    • Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and IWR Planning Suite (9 September)
      This webinar provided an overview of the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) module withing the Institute for Water Resources (IWR) Planning Suite II. Presenter Eric Johnson (Economist, IWR) provided an overview of the MCDA module’s ability to consider the influence of multiple criteria on project alternatives; how the module helps planners and economists clarify and convey tradeoffs across multiple criteria; and how the module can assist study teams in the evaluation of multiple benefit types across the four accounts (National Economic Development, Environmental Quality, Regional Economic Development, and Other Social Effects).

    • Overview of the Regional Economic System (RECONS) Model (3 September)
      This webinar provided an overview of the Regional Economic System (RECONS) model, which automates calculations of regional economic activity. RECONS Team members Wen Chang (Senior Economist, Institute for Water Resources), Dena Abou (Regional Technical Specialist, Inland Navigation Economics, Chicago District, and Holly Bender (Lead Regional Economist, Kansas City District) discussed the importance of RECONS in light of the 3 April 2020 directive issued by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)) for USACE to provide a comprehensive documentation of benefits in feasibility studies. RECONS is the Agency's only certified regional economic development (RED) model, making it an essential tool for compliance with the ASA(CW) directive. Presenters summarized key differences between the national economic development (NED) and RED accounts, and provided an overview of the RECONS model, including a live demo.
    • IWR Planning Suite II Uncertainty Module (23 July)
      This webinar provided an overview of the Uncertainty Module within the Institute for Water Resources (IWR) Planning Suite II. The module provides its users with the ability to consider the influence of uncertainty on the results of cost-effectiveness and incremental cost analyses performed on study alternatives involving monetary and non-monetary costs and benefits. Presenter Shawn Komlos (Supervisory Physical Scientist at IWR) discussed how the module, which is a standard component of the certified version of the IWR Planning Suite II software, was developed and implemented to support a study teams efforts to rapidly assess the influence of uncertainty on alternatives on or near the cost-effective frontier.
    • Ecological Model Review and Certification Process (9 July)
      This webinar, presented by Nate Richards (ECO-PCX Model Review Manager), provided an overview of the model certification process for ecological models and presented advancements in the process. Model review and certification has a reputation of taking a long time and requiring significant funds. These misconceptions, among others, have decreased in recent years thanks to a greater understanding of the certification requirements, increased emphasis on model quality by planning teams, delegation of approval authority, and implementation of best practices. The webinar also provided useful information and tips for planners, decision-makers, researchers, and others that develop, implement, and review aspects of ecological planning models.
    • Ecological Model Development within the Planning Phase (20 February)
      This webinar provided an overview of the advancements being made in ecological model development. The webinar was presented by Dr. Kyle McKay (ERDC-EL), Dr. Todd Swannack (ERDC-EL), and Nate Richards (ECO-PCX Model Review Manager), and focused on developed and implemented tools, guidelines, and methodologies that improve the way we develop ecological models and align development, certification, and project planning. Case studies presented demonstrated that model development and certification are not only possible within SMART Planning timelines, but also valuable to decision-making.

    • IWR Planning Suite II (3 October)
      This webinar provided an overview of the capabilities and uses of the USACE-certified IWR Planning Suite II (IWRPS-II) software. The webinar was presented by Shawn Komlos and Laura Witherow (Institute for Water Resources), as well as and Cory Rogers (CDM Smith) and focused on the IWRPS-II Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis module and its potential uses during execution of USACE Planning Studies.

    • IWR Planning Suite II (26 July)
      Ms. Laura Witherow (Institute for Water Resources) and Ms. Monique Savage (St. Paul District) provided information on the IWR Planning Suite II, the latest certified version of the IWR Planning Suite Software used to conduct Cost-Effectiveness and Incremental Cost Analyses and Annualize Ecosystem Outputs for ecosystem restoration, impact analysis, and mitigation planning. The webinar highlighted the new capabilities of IWR Planning Suite II, including multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), uncertainty, and watershed wizard. Additional topics included how the software is used in planning, a brief review of each module within the software, and instructions on downloading the software.

    • Assuring Quality of Planning Models: EC 1105-2-412 Rollout (14 June)
      Information for the field in implementing EC 1105-2-412, Assuring Quality of Planning Models. This circular established the process and the requirements for assuring the quality of planning models. Per Planning Bulletin 2013-02 (March 2013), EC 1105-2-412 remains in effect until permanent planning model guidance is issued.

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