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Planning Community Toolbox
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  • Guidance
    • EP 1105-2-57: Planning Stakeholder Engagement, Collaboration and Coordination (formerly Appendix B of the PGN)
      This pamphlet explains the benefits of, and requirements for, stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and coordination in Civil Works planning studies. These activities are critical to study success because they may foster trust and credibility between USACE and the communities we serve; increase collective understanding of problems; reduce controversy and litigation risks; and improve the quality and execution of our decisions. Note: This EP replaces the existing Appendix B of the Planning Guidance Notebook.
    • Implementation of the Interim Environmental Justice Strategic Plan: Memorandum and Strategic Plan
      This memorandum transmits the USACE Interim Environmental Justice Strategic Plan for Implementation across the Civil Works enterprise and provides requirements for the development of district strategic plans. The plan, which outlines seven objectives based on the 15 March 2022 Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works interim guidance, is included as an attachment.
    • Interim Implementation Guidance for Environmental Justice and the Justice40 Initiative
      This memorandum provides interim guidance and direction to the (USACE Civil Works program related to the implementation of environmental justice and the Justice40 Initiative. This memorandum applies to all Civil Works programs and missions, other than the Regulatory Program.
    • Tribal Partnership Program - Non-Traditional Water Resources Development Projects
      This memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works directs USACE to implement the Tribal Partnership Program (TPP) more broadly to provide the Army the flexibility to include projects that are not typically considered a traditional Corps water resources development project. It also directs that TPP comprehensive guidance under development will incorporate these additional "non-traditional" activities under the Program.
    • Director of Civil Works Memorandum - Comprehensive Documentation of Benefits in Decision Documents
      This memorandum from the Director of Civil Works reiterates that the memorandum issued by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)) dated 5 January 2021, Subject: Policy Directive - Comprehensive Documentation of Benefits in Decision Document is effective immediately, and that all feasibility studies and post-authorization studies will comply with the ASA(CW) memorandum.
    • Interim Environmental Justice Guidance for Civil Works Planning Studies
      This memorandum provides guidance on and outlines the requirements for incorporating Environmental Justice into Civil Works planning studies based on the 15 March 2022 Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works memorandum, Implementation of Environmental Justice and the Justice40 Initiative.

  • Resources
    • Collaboration and Public Participation Center of Expertise (CPCX)
      The CPCX's mission is to enable Corps staff to anticipate, prevent, and manage water-related conflicts through collaboration while ensuring the interests of the public are addressed in a fair and transparent manner by: providing direct support to the field; building the Corps collaborative capacity; advising Corps leadership; and establishing the Corps as a thought-leader in collaboration. The CPCX webpage contains a wealth of information and resources related to collaboration and public participation, including guidance and policy documents, newsletters, links to other federal agency conflict resolution programs and resources, and descriptions of the CPCX's services.
    • CPCX Communication Plan Resources  Corps Castle
      This folder contains multiple resources for use by district personnel in developing communication plans, including a USACE Communication Planning Workbook annotated for Environmental Justice outreach.
    • Enhanced Engagement and Risk Communication for Residents in Underserved Communities
      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s training, research, best practices, and lessons learned on coastal hazard risk communication with residents in underserved and underrepresented communities.
    • Guide for Preparing District Environmental Justice Strategic Plan
      The Guide for Preparing District Environmental Justice Strategic Plans is intended to assist districts in the development of tailored plans, per the direction provided in the 16 December 2022 Director of Civil Works memorandum, Implementation of the Interim Environmental Justice Strategic Plan. The Guide includes specific instructions and a template (Section 5) for use by district personnel. Districts may adjust the template to their specific needs as each Area of Responsibility is unique; however, the primary components must be included as specified in the memorandum.
    • Partnering with the Corps
      Resources for states, tribes, and communities that wish to partner with USACE, including information, webinars, guidance, and models.
    • Partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: A Guide for Communities, Local Governments, States, Tribes, and Non-Governmental Organizations
      Partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: A Guide for Communities, Local Governments, States, Tribes, and Non-Governmental Organizations provides potential sponsors with information on the programs and processes available for non-federal partners and USACE representatives to work together to address the Nation's water resources problems. The Guide includes an overview of the USACE Civil Works Program and describes how USACE can work with local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies and other non-federal partners on activities ranging from technical services and advice to planning and constructing water resources projects. A previous version of this document was originally published as the Project Partnership Kit by IWR back in 1996 and revised in 2001.
    • Risk Communication and Social Vulnerability: Guidance for Practitioners
      With funding support from USACE, the Natural Hazards Center produced an annotated bibliography and practitioner-oriented guide summarizing academic research and practical guidance on the topic of hazards and disaster risk communication, with a particular focus on socially vulnerable populations.
    • Shared Vision Planning
      Shared Vision Planning (SVP) is a collaborative approach to formulating water management solutions that combines three disparate practices: 1) traditional water resources planning, 2) structured public participation, and 3) collaborative computer modeling. IWR's SVP website includes tools, techniques, resources, references, and training materials. The USACE Shared Vision Planning webpage contains numerous SVP resources and tools, including methods, models, case studies, references, other educational material, and links to relevant training.


  • Interest Based Negotiation (24 March)
    This webinar presented by the Collaboration and Conflict Resolution Center provided participants an opportunity to learn about interest-based negotiation and tools for transforming potential conflicts into jointly-developed solutions. Presenter Hal Cardwell (Director, Collaboration and Public Participation Center of Expertise) instructed participants in how to move the conversation from “how to divide the pie” arguments among parties into collaborative “expand-the pie” solutions that meet the interests of the formerly competing parties. The webinar also led participants through an interactive case study as well as discussed real-world USACE examples of the power of moving from positions to interests.

  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (21 October)
    In celebration of Conflict Resolution Day 2021, this webinar provided practical application tips and an opportunity for conversation about negotiation and conflict resolution. Presented by Hunter Merritt (Social Scientist, Collaboration and Public Participation Center of Expertise), the webinar included participants sharing their collective experiences in order to help others navigate project-related conflicts and improve efficiency, trust, processes, and project execution.
  • Alaska Native Cultures & Tribal Engagement (3 February)
    In this webinar, presenters Kelly Eldridge (Alaska District Archeologist) and Kendall Campbell (Alaska District Tribal Liaison) introduced background information on the history of Alaska Natives and the diversity of indigenous cultures in the state of Alaska. The presentation included helpful hints and best practices for successful engagements and working with Alaska Natives on Civil Works projects.

  • An Introduction to Communication Planning (2 April)
    This webinar introduced participants to the new USACE Integrated Communication Planning Process. The process, which is applicable across the enterprise, is the result of a collaborative effort between the Public Affairs Office (PAO) and the Project Management, Planning, and Collaboration and Public Participation Communities of Practice (CoPs). Topics addressed included how to identify stakeholders and potential issues, determining communication goals and objectives, and developing key messages and talking points. The webinar was presented by Bill Peoples (Nashville District Public Affairs Chief) and Jacqueline Tate (Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Public Affairs Chief).

  • Applied Learning Environments (12 December)
    This webinar provided an overview of Applied Learning Environments (ALEs) and how they can help the planning community build empathy and collaboration with stakeholders, facilitate the development of more innovative alternatives, and save both time and money during the planning process. ALEs are simulated environments designed to engage participants in active/applied learning to achieve specific learning objectives (e.g., ERDC Ship/Tow Simulator, emergency preparedness table top exercises, multi-hazard tournaments, etc.) The webinar was presented by John Kucharski (HEC, Senior Economist), Andrea Carson (LRP, Community Planner), and Hunter Merritt (SPK, Water Resources Planner) and included an ALE application in which webinar attendees participated.

  • Floodplain Management Plans, A Short Course (6 April)
    Brian Rast, with the Collaboration and Public Participation Center of Expertise, Institute for Water Resources, presented an overview of floodplain management plans and described how development and implementation of these plans can contribute towards increased community resilience. Non-Federal interests are required to prepare and implement a floodplain management plan as part of construction of cost-shared flood risk management or coastal storm risk management project (Policy Guidance Letter 52). The presentation also shared examples of community-adopted floodplain management plans

  • Shared Vision Planning through the Multi-Hazard Tournament Framework (5 May)
    Dr. Harvey Hill (IWR), Marcia Hackett (Ft. Worth District), Michelle Hamor (Baltimore District), and Jason Smith (Rock Island District) shared their experiences with using the Multi-Hazard Tournament framework developed at IWR to engage communities and other state and federal agencies in planning and problem solving across multiple hazards / objectives.

  • SMART PLANNING & Effective Stakeholder Collaboration (9 June)
    Gigi Coulson (New Orleans District) and Joel Benegar (San Francisco District) provides updated recommendations on how to cost effectively and efficiently incorporate vital public and stakeholder involvement into our diverse array of SMART planning projects. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and we understand that without proper consideration of public involvement and stakeholder collaboration, our projects can be left with significant risks and uncertainties during our formal public reviews. This webinar will offer background about the challenge and importance of incorporating public involvement into our projects. It will also provide suggestions and possible strategies on how we might use existing collaborative tools to implement public involvement strategies and help your project avoid common pitfalls.
  • USACE Tribal Engagement and SMART Planning (2 April)
    Chris Koeppel, RPA, Mississippi Valley Division Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison, discussed opportunities and tools to integrate government-to-government consultation with Federally recognized tribes within the SMART Planning framework. His presentation also includes talking points for communication with Federally recognized tribes.

 Corps Castle Item is restricted to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CAC required. Document will open in a new window.