Often referred to as the first step toward construction of a Civil Works water resources development project, the feasibility study is the disciplined process under which Corps planners work with a non-federal study sponsor and multi-disciplinary study teams to identify water resources problems, formulate and evaluate solutions, resolve conflicting interests, and prepare recommendations. A feasibility study is used to investigate the Federal interest, engineering feasibility, economic justification and environmental acceptability of a recommended water resources project. A feasibility study determines if Congressional authorization and implementation of a specific Civil Works project are warranted.
Corps feasibility studies are cost-shared with a sponsor, reflecting our shared responsibility for the nations water resources. A sponsor can be a State, Tribe, county, city, town, or any other political subpart of a State or group of States that has the legal and financial authority and capability to provide the funding and real property requirements needed for a study and a project. n some limited circumstances, a non-profit may serve as the non-federal sponsor. Certain single-purpose inland navigation studies may be conducted without a Sponsor, at 100% federal expense.
Since 1986, Sponsors have been authorized to undertake feasibility studies of proposed water resources development projects for submission directly to the Secretary of the Army. These studies are sometimes referred to as "Section 203" studies under the section of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 that authorizes them. Guidance for conducting these studies can be found in Engineer Regulation 1165-2-209, "Studies of Water Resources Development Projects by non-federal Interests."
The results of a feasibility study, the recommendation for the authorization of a specific water resources project and the analyses that support that recommendation, are documented in a feasibility report. The final feasibility report will include documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other applicable laws and guidance.
The recommendation to Congress for authorization of a water resources project will be made by the Chief of Engineers in the form of a "Chief's Report." After the Chief's Report is signed, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) will officially transmitted the Chiefs Report to Congress with the views of the Administration.
The Corps follows the six-step planning process defined in the Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Land Related Resources Implementation Studies (P&G) developed in the 1980s to guide the formulation and evaluation studies of the major Federal water resources development agencies. This process is a structured approach to problem solving which provides a rational framework for sound decision making. The six-step process is used for all Corps planning studies, regardless of scale.
It is important to stress the iterative nature of the six-step process in water resources project planning. The six steps, though presented and discussed in a sequential manner for ease of understanding, usually occur iteratively and sometimes concurrently. Iterations of steps are conducted as necessary to formulate efficient, effective, complete, and acceptable plans.
In 2012, the Corps implemented SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Risk-Informed, Timely) Planning for conducting civil works feasibility studies for water resources development projects. The SMART Planning process still relies on the structured six-step planning process, and is intended to improve and streamline feasibility studies, reduce their cost, and expedite their completion by acknowledging uncertainty and using only the level of detail needed to make a risk-informed decision.
The Corps and a non-federal partner may also re-examine an existing authorized Corps project (or a recommended project that has not yet been constructed) in a "general reevaluation report" or GRR. The process of developing a GRR follows the same guidance and process as a feasibility study.
|Key Guidance for Corps Planners
Principles, Requirements and Guidelines for Water and Land Related Resources Implementation Studies
Engineer Regulation 11-1-321: Value Engineering (2011)
This regulation applies to all Value Engineering (VE) activities of the Corps of Engineers. The VE program applies to all procurement acquisitions that are federally funded and managed by the Corps of Engineers including, but not limited to, Civil Works and Military construction projects.
Engineer Regulation 1105-2-100: Planning Guidance Notebook, Full Publication (2000 Expired 12/1/2023)
ER 1105-2-100, the Planning Guidance Notebook will be superseded by several different pieces of new guidance. For the full suite of guidance replacing the PGN, visit the Core Civil Works Planning Guidance page.
Engineer Regulation 200-2-2: Procedures for Implementing NEPA (1988)
This regulation provides guidance for implementation of the procedural provisions of the NEPA for the Civil Works Program of the USACE.
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Memorandum for Heads of Federal Departments and Agencies: Implementation of Updated National Environmental Policy Act Regulations (2020)
This memorandum provides direction for Federal departments and agencies on the CEQ's final rule updating its regulations at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508 implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq. (NEPA), published on 16 July 2020. The final rule modernizes and clarifies the CEQ regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews by Federal departments and agencies in connection with proposals for agency action.
Scoping Guide for Civil Works Planning Studies
Engineer Regulation 1110-2-1150: Engineering and Design for Civil Works Program (1999)
This regulation defines engineering responsibilities, requirements, and procedures during the design, construction, and operations phases.
Engineer Regulation 1110-1-12: Quality Management (2006)
Contains information on Project Management Plans, Independent Technical Review, and Risk Management.
Engineer Regulation 1165-2-29: Water Resources Policies and Authorities - General Credit for Flood Control (1987)
This regulation establishes guidelines and procedures for application of Section 104 of Public Law 99-662.
Engineer Regulation 1165-2-119: Water Resources Policies and Authorities - Modifications to Completed Projects (1982)
This regulation provides guidance on the use of available authorities in comparison to the need for new project authorizations.
The Planner's Library
Links to Corps guidance, fact sheets, and lessons learned.
Engineer Regulation 1165-2-209: Studies of Water Resources Development Projects by Non-Federal Interests (2016)
This regulation provides policy guidance for implementation of Section 203 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986, as amended. Section 203 authorizes non-federal interests to undertake feasibility studies of proposed water resources development projects for submission to the Secretary of the Army. Separate guidance is provided on the construction of water resources development projects under Section 204 of WRDA 1986, as amended. Portions of this ER have been amended by implementation guidance for Section 1126 of WRDA 2016.
Engineer Regulation 1165-2-502: Resources Policies and Authorities; Delegation of Review and Approval Authority for Post-Authorization Decision Documents (2014)
This regulation provides guidance on delegated review and approval of Post-Authorization Decision Documents.
Engineer Regulation 1165-2-217: Civil Works Review Policy (2021)
This Engineer Regulation (ER) establishes policy and procedures for a comprehensive accountable review strategy for Civil Works by providing a seamless process for review of all projects throughout the lifecycle. This ER will ensure the quality and credibility of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) decision, implementation, and other work products. It reinforces quality and comprehensive review are equal to cost and schedule compliance. This ER supersedes Engineer Circular 1165-2-217: Water Resource Policies and Authorities, Review Policy for Civil Works which expired on 31 March 2020.
WRDAs and Related Laws
Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorization and Project Delivery Processes (2019)
This 2019 report from the Congressional Research Service summarizes USACE authorization legislation, the standard project delivery process, authorities for alternative water resource project delivery, and other USACE authorities.
Civil Works Study and Project Partnerships (2015)
Introduction to the partnership between USACE and non-federal sponsors in developing a feasibility study and recommendation of a Civil Works water resources project.
Planning Quick Takes: Timely Topics for Risk-Informed Planning Studies - Version 2.0 (2021)
Planning Quick Takes: Timely Topics for Risk-Informed Planning Studies is intended for all USACE planners, whether novice, journeyman, or senior, who may benefit from learning about the various tools and techniques that can collectively be used to facilitate the iterative six-step risk-informed planning process. Formerly known as the Planning Mentor Handbook, Planning Quick Takes provides a summary of many risk-informed planning concepts, including examples and references to other sources for more detail.
Annual Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development
This annual report identifies, for potential congressional authorization, completed feasibility reports, proposed feasibility studies, and proposed modifications to authorized projects or studies.
Planning Manual Part II: Risk-Informed Planning (2017)
The Planning Manual Part II: Risk Informed Planning documents the state of the practice in risk-informed planning for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Planning Community of Practice. It is a continuation of the original Planning Manual, published by the USACE Institute for Water Resources in 1996.
Planning Manual (1996)
The Planning Manual describes what planning is and how it is best practiced by the Corps of Engineers. It focuses on water resources planning, though the principles, tools and methodologies discussed are equally applicable to other planning functions as well. The Manual walks planners through the six-step planning process used by the Corps and applicable to all the Corps' water resources and other planning functions.
Planning Primer (1997)
The Planning Primer is a condensed version of the Planning Manual. It is an introduction to planning and how it is done using the six-step planning process for those who have no formal training in planning.
Corps Divisions and Districts
Contact information for your local Corps District.
SMART Planning Feasibility Studies: A Guide to Coordination and Engagement with the Services (2015)
This guide was developed through a collaboration between the Corps, USFWS and NMFS. The Guide provides an overview of the SMART Planning process and demonstrates how key environmental coordination and compliance activities fit into that process. The Guide highlights opportunities for engagement and coordination at all stages of a planning study, re-emphasizing the need for early coordination.
Civil Works Budget and Work Plan
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
House authorizing committee for most Corps activities.
Senate Environment & Public Works Committee
Senate authorizing committee for most Corps activities.
e-Risk Register Tool
The e-Risk Register is an online tool designed by the USACE Institute for Water Resources to assess, manage, and view project risks in a consistent and integrated manner across Civil works project lifecycles. Training on use of the e-Risk Register website, including how to add new projects and how to find current and legacy APT projects, is available through the "Need Help?" link within the Tool.
House Appropriations Committee
Senate Appropriations Committee
Model Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement and Model Memorandum of Understanding for In-Kind Contributions
To streamline implementation and achieve national consistency, policy compliance, legal sufficiency, and equitable treatment of project sponsors, the Corps has developed models for drafting individual project specific agreements.
Partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: A Guide for Communities, Local Governments, States, Tribes, and Non-Governmental Organizations (2019)
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.
- Planning Fundamentals: Plan Formulation Strategies and Required Plans (14 September)
- This webinar is part of the Planning Fundamental Series and offered an overview of plan formulation strategies and
required plans. Senior Economist Nick Applegate (HQUSACE Office of Water Project Review) and Regional Integration Team
(RIT) Planner Nate Richards (North Atlantic Division RIT) discussed the importance of critical thinking and the application of
strategies that fit the study area and mission for successful plan formulation. The presenters reviewed different methods
and examples for developing and executing effective plan formulation strategies, how the required alternatives in the new
Planning Engineer Regulation 1105-2-103 (Policy for Conducting Civil Works Planning Studies) should factor into plan
formulation, and common plan formulation problems to avoid.
- Planning Fundamentals: Future without Project Condition, Inventory & Forecast, and Evidence Gathering (31 August)
- This webinar is part of the Planning Fundamental Series and offered an overview of Future Without Project Condition,
Inventory and Forecast, and Evidence Gathering, which are critical planning tasks both in the early stages of any USACE
planning investigation and throughout the investigation. Senior Planners Leigh Skaggs (St. Paul District) and Monique
Savage (HQUSACE) explained how the Future Without Project Condition is the single most important planning scenario to
establish, as it helps guide plan formulation as well as provides the baseline against which all alternative plans are
evaluated. The presentation also addressed the data needed to inventory and forecast physical, environmental, economic,
and social conditions, and how the level of detail necessary to make decisions varies throughout the risk-informed planning
- Planning Fundamentals: The Four P&G Criteria (17 August)
- This webinar is part of the Planning Fundamental Series and offered an overview of the four Principles & Guidelines criteria of
Completeness, Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Acceptability and how to apply them. Presenter Patrick O’Donnell (Water Resources
Planner, HQUSACE Office of Water Project Review) discussed the application of these criteria in feasibility reports and similar
decision documents. The presentation aimed to improve understanding and application of the four criteria, which are fundamental
to plan formulation.
- Planning Fundamentals: The "POOCs" (Problems, Opportunities, Objectives, and Constraints) (3 August)
- This webinar is part of the Planning Fundamental Series and offered an introduction to the "POOCs" - the problems,
opportunities, objectives, and constraints - that are the foundation of any USACE planning investigation. Presenter Leigh
Skaggs (PCoP Senior Planner) explained how the POOCs fit into the scoping task of the 6-step planning process, as well as
defined each concept and provided examples from several USACE studies. This webinar serves as both a primer to new
planners just learning about how to conduct USACE planning studies, as well as a refresher for those who have more
experience but could benefit from reminders about how to use the POOCs appropriately.
- Evolution of USACE Planning Policy and Guidance (20 April)
- This webinar provided an overview of the evolution of USACE policy on formulation of water resources projects. Presenter Amy
Frantz (HQUSACE Senior Policy Advisor) discussed the evolution of Planning policy along with insights into how policy is
developed, updated, and maintained. First presented as a PCoP Webinar in 2022, Ms. Frantz repeated this webinar in May 2023.
Planning Guidance Notebook (Engineer Regulation 1105-2-100). Presenter Amy Frantz (HQUSACE Senior Policy Advisor)
discussed the evolution of Planning policy along with insights into how policy is developed, updated, and maintained.
- New Policy for Conducting Civil Works Planning Studies EC - Planning Guidance Notebook Update (23 March)
- This webinar provided an overview of the pre-publication Policy for Conducting Civil Works Planning Studies
Engineer Circular (EC), which will replace the core chapters of the USACE Planning Guidance Notebook (Engineer
Regulation 1105-2-100). Presenter Amy Frantz (Headquarters Senior Policy Advisor) shared key updates to the guidance,
which incorporates 23 years of legislation, official policy memoranda, Planning Bulletins, and implementation guidance.
She also shared the timeframe for publication of the EC and of the business line evaluation procedures (currently Appendix
E in the Planning Guidance Notebook), which will be published as separate Engineer Pamphlets.
- Interim Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change (9 March)
- This webinar provided an overview of the Interim Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) National Environmental Policy
Act (NEPA) Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change, issued on 9 January 2023.
Presenters Jason Emmons (San Francisco District) and Ken Wong (Los Angeles District) from the Air Quality and
Greenhouse Gas Planning Sub-CoP discussed key details for planners and environmental managers on the new guidance,
including how to perform a greenhouse gas analysis starting from base assumptions for scoping to the end goal of
incorporating effects analysis into current NEPA studies. The presenters also addressed how to frame inclusion of different
topics for all classes of projects enterprise-wide, including baseline effects, no-action alternative emissions, avoided
emissions, gross and net alternatives emissions, and social cost of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Real Estate & Planning (23 February)
- This webinar provided an overview of Real Estate’s role in project studies. Presenter Judith Gutierrez (Realty Specialist for
Civil Works, HQUSACE Directorate of Military Programs Real Estate Division) discussed the importance and value that Real
Estate staff bring to the study team, the coordination that is necessary between offices, and the work products produced
by Real Estate. She also addressed current hot topics such as non-standard estates for ecosystem restoration projects and
- National Structure Inventory (26 January)
- This webinar provided an overview of the National Structure Inventory (NSI) and its potential application in supporting
flood risk management studies. The 2022 version of the NSI uses a variety of new data inputs in order to obtain improved
nationwide estimates of structure locations, structure characteristics, and population at risk estimates. This data is often
necessary for economic and life safety studies, but the NSI may also be useful for other planning efforts. Presenters Nick
Lutz (Economist, HEC) and Alex Ryan (Economist, PCX-IN) covered ways to use the NSI, its limitations, and methods to
improve the NSI for planning efforts through the newly developed NSI Survey Tool.
- Lower Brule Tribal Partnership Project (12 January)
- This webinar provided an overview of the Omaha District’s partnering efforts with the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, including
two Tribal Partnership Projects – one that is nearing construction completion and one new feasibility study. The
presentation compared formulation approaches spanning these two recent TPP projects and successes and lessons
learned. Presenter Greg Johnson (Chief of the Plan Formulation and Project Management Section, Omaha District Planning
Branch) discussed the importance of developing TPP projects that serve to meet unique Tribal needs within the framework
of USACE plan formulation policy and legal authorities.
- Introduction to the New e-Risk Register (15 December)
- This webinar provided an overview of the new e-Risk Register, which will provide study teams and the vertical team a high-
quality tool to better assess, manage, and view all risks for a particular project in a consistent and integrated manner
across project lifecycles and the full enterprise. Presenter Erin Rooks (Economist, Institute for Water Resources) discussed
the migration of the Assistance for Project Teams (APT) Tool into the new e-Risk Register and re-oriented planners to
these existing tools within the new application, in addition to demonstrating the new tool. Finally, the webinar described
how the e-Risk Register is different from the Planning Risk Register.
- Interim Environmental Justice Guidance for Civil Works Planning Studies (17 November)
- In order to ensure consistent incorporation of environmental justice in Civil Works planning studies and to meet the goals
and objectives of the Administration, HQUSACE is providing guidance to ensure focused identification and engagement
with underserved and disadvantaged communities, full inclusion of those communities in the study development and
decision-making process, and additional requirements for the Alternatives Milestone Meeting (AMM). During this webinar,
Ray Wimbrough (HQUSACE Senior Policy Advisor) gave an update on the new HQUSACE guidance and discussed next
steps for study teams. <1>Note: the Implementation of the Interim Environment Justice Strategic Plan Memorandum and
Interim Plan discussed during the webinar was signed on 16 December 2022.
- Life Safety Risk Indicator (20 October)
- This webinar provided an overview of the Life Safety Risk Indicator (LSRI). In an effort to develop a consistent way to recommend
projects that warrant funding based on risk to life safety, USACE has developed the LSRI tool, which provides a screening-level,
relative representation of the life risk (average annual life loss) that would be reduced if a given structural or non-structural flood
damage reduction project was constructed. The LSRI is intended to serve as a budget tool to prioritize studies and projects
starting with the FY25 budget development process. The LSRI builds off of and replaces the Life Safety Hazard Index (LSHI) tool
by incorporating not just consequence information, but also likelihood of the consequences. Presenter Jason Needham
(Consequence Specialist, Risk Management Center) described the LSRI methodology and introduced the web-based LSRI tool
and how to use it.
- Developing and Applying a Logical Aggregation Methodology in the First 90 Days of a Study (22 September)
- Planning Bulletin 2019-03 requires that nonstructural analyses formulate and then evaluate measures and plans using a
logical aggregation method. This webinar presented strategies for developing and applying a logical aggregation
methodology in the first 90 days of a feasibility study, a critical step in study scoping and development of the initial array
of alternatives. Presenters Michelle Kniep and Eric Thaut (National Flood Risk Management Planning Center of Expertise
(FRM-PCX)) provided best practices, focusing on the study scoping phase prior to the alternatives milestone meeting
- Feasibility Study Templates, Checklists & SOPs (1 September)
- This webinar provided an overview of a number of new and updated templates for Chief's Reports and Director's Reports,
Review Manager and Vertical Team Roles and Responsibilities guides, and Study Issue checklists. Jeff Lin, Plan
Formulation Team Lead (HQUSACE Office of Water Project Review) discussed the purpose and intent of each of the new
templates, guides, and checklists.
- 2022 PCoP Virtual Summer Series - Session #3 - Innovation: Revolutionizing Our Project Delivery through Innovation (28 July)
- The third PCoP Virtual Summer Series session presented several case studies focused on how project delivery teams
"revolutionized" the planning process to provide innovative features in project delivery. These case studies demonstrated
innovation across various business lines.
- Independent External Peer Review (IEPR) – Updated Standard Operating Procedures (21 April)
- This webinar provided a detailed overview of the updated Independent External Peer Review (IEPR) Standard Operating
Procedure (SOP), along with real examples of some of the process steps required to complete IEPR for studies. The 2019 IEPR
SOP previously made available to planners has been revised to reflect current guidance and policies. Presenters Andy MacInnes
(MVN) and Anastasiya Kononova (NAB) highlighted noteworthy IEPR concepts for all study teams, including the important and
time sensitive steps that study teams need to be aware of in order to ensure that IEPR is started at the appropriate time to
coincide with concurrent reviews.
- Section 401 Water Quality Certification Update (31 March)
- This webinar, originally presented on 11 March 2021, provided an overview of the new Section 401 Water Quality Certification Rule
and its requirements and was presented by Jamie Higgins (Environmental Policy Reviewer, HQUSACE Office of Water Project
Review). Districts must request a water quality certification from the appropriate certifying authority to ensure compliance of a
project with relevant water quality requirements. The presentation focused on changes to the Section 401 rule and how they
should be implemented in Planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents based on this District requirement.
Please note that the 31 March 2022 webinar addressed EPA’s reversion to the 1971 rule due to a court ruling vacating the 2020
rule. However, that ruling has been overturned by the Supreme Court and the 2020 Rule is still in effect. Please stay tuned for
additional information as EPA engages in rulemaking to revise the 2020 401 Certification Rule. EPA plans to finalize the Rule in
the Spring of 2023.
- USACE National Regional Sediment Management Program Overview (13 January)
- This webinar provided an overview of the USACE National Regional Sediment
Management (RSM) Program and beneficial use of dredged material. Dr. Katie Brutsché,
(Program Manager, USACE RSM Program and Associate Technical Director, Navigation
Research and Development) described the concept of RSM, why it’s important, and how
the program came to be. The presentation included example studies where RSM was
successfully executed to create more efficient and effective management of sediment
related projects. In addition, Dr. Brutsché discussed the beneficial use of dredged
material (BUDM) as an RSM strategy.
- Cost Engineering Requirements in the Planning Phase (16 December)
- This webinar provided an overview of cost engineering requirements throughout the
feasibility phase of planning studies. Presenter Mike Jacobs (Chief, USACE Cost
Engineering Mandatory Center of Expertise) addressed timing and level of detail of cost
engineering products, cost estimate classification, cost certification requirements, and
updates required across the project lifecycle.
- Lessons Learned from the Tribal Partnership Program Clear Creek Ecosystem Restoration Study (7 October)
- This webinar provided an overview of the Tribal Partnership Program (TPP) Clear Creek
Ecosystem Restoration Study, including lessons learned from applying innovative
methods to complete a study on time and under budget. In addition, presenters Elise
Jarrett and Lindsay Floyd (Sacramento District Water Resources Planners) shared ideas
on how to appropriately scale studies and how the successes from this study might be
implemented across the enterprise to continue strengthening the TPP.
- After Action Reviews – Lessons Learned by Using Innovative, Data-Driven Approaches and Methodology (23 September)
- This webinar provided an overview of recent After Action Reviews (AARs) on USACE Civil Works planning and project delivery
efforts. Planners, project managers, and leaders can apply the information gathered from any AAR to document lessons learned
and opportunities for change in the enterprise. The webinar was presented by Dr. Nadia Mohandessi (Emergency Management
Continuous Improvement Program Manager, Readiness Support Center) and Gwyn Jarrett (Program Manager with the NWD/POD
Regional Integration Team). Andy MacInnes, Water Resource Certified Planner (MVN) and Regional Technical Specialist (MVD),
co-facilitated and developed the AARs discussed with Dr. Mohandessi.
- ER 1165-2-217: Civil Works Review Guidance Policy (10 and 17 June 2021) (10 June)
- The 10 and 17 June 2021 Planning CoP Webinars addressed updates to the Civil Works
Review Guidance Policy recently published in Engineer Regulation (ER) 1165-2-217 (dated
1 May 2021) and was presented by the primary authors: Ms. Karen Miller (Planning
Regional Technical Specialist, Huntington District); John Clarkson (Senior Reviewer, Risk
Management Center); and Erica Reinsel (Quality Manager, Jacksonville District). ER 1165-
2-217 provides updated guidance for Civil Works Review and supersedes the expired
Engineer Circular 1165-2-217: Civil Works Review Policy. This webinar highlighted the
overall purpose of the policy and significant changes from the EC to the ER, and
reminded planners of the major elements of responsibility for ensuring quality products
throughout the Civil Works program.
- A SMART Planning Policy Waiver Case Study: When Corps Policy, the Endangered Species Act, and Marine Mammal Protection Act Conflict (11 June)
- This webinar provided a look at the specific challenges that were overcome by the
vertical team in the Unalaska (Dutch Harbor) navigation study. The Alaska region has
unique considerations in related to building infrastructure, with no shortage of protected
wildlife that require extensive consultation under several environmental laws. The Dutch
Harbor study illustrates where the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection
Act, and Corps planning policy requirements conflict, and how this conflict required the
exploration, development, and approval of a policy waiver by the project delivery team.
This presentation explored the weighing of risk to schedule, cost, and implementation
with USACE legal and policy obligations, and highlighted the coordination and
documentation required to support this specific risk-informed decision to defer
completion of ESA consultation to the pre-construction engineering and design phase.
The webinar was presented by Quana Higgins (NWD-POD Regional Integration Team);
Evie Haberer (Environmental Reviewer, Office of Water Project Review); Kate Bliss (POD
Regulatory and Environmental Program Manager); and Mike Salyer (Alaska District
Environmental Resources Section Chief).
- Overview of One Federal Decision (E.O. 13807) Requirements for Civil Works Planning Studies (30 April)
- This webinar provided an overview of the now rescinded Executive Order 13807. This webinar still covers relevant topics including
the principles of federal coordination and the permitting dashboard, which is still operational for USACE projects. The webinar
was presented by Julie Alcon (Environmental Team Lead and Policy Reviewer, HQUSACE Office of Water Project Review).
- Cost Engineering in Planning Studies (5 March)
- This webinar provided an overview of cost engineering, cost-schedule risk analysis, and
the cost Agency Technical Review (ATR) process in planning studies. Presented by Mike
Jacobs (Chief, USACE Cost Engineering Mandatory Center of Expertise), the webinar
included an overview of the cost engineering requirements, level of detail, and products
required at each planning milestone, as well as a discussion of best practices and lessons
learned from past studies.
- Economic Guidance Memorandum (EGM) 19-06: Ability to Pay for Tribal Partners (14 November)
- This webinar provides a step-by-step overview for gathering the data needed to establish
if Tribal partners involved in Corps of Engineers activities, including watershed
assessments, feasibility studies, and projects, are eligible for a cost-share reduction
following the methodologies in Economic Guidance Memorandum (EGM) 19-06,
"Supplemental Guidance for Section 1121 of the Water Resources Development Act of
2016, as amended-Tribal Partnership Program Reduced Cost Share Eligibility Criteria
(Ability to Pay)"
- Barrow Alaska Coastal Erosion Feasibility Study - Challenges and Lessons Learned (5 September)
- This webinar provided an overview of challenges and lessons learned from the Barrow
Alaska Coastal Erosion Feasibility Study. This unique study, which is on track to be
completed in 27 months, has successfully utilized risk informed decision making, while
also justifying a project with Other Social Effects. The webinar was presented by resented
by Cindy Upah (Alaska District Chief of Planning) and Jen Cate (Alaska District Chief of
Project Management and included discussions on the roles of vertical alignment,
communication, and public involvement.
- DPM 2019-02: Operationalizing Risk-Informed Decision Making in Project Management (Planning Phase) (11 July)
- This webinar discussed the content and implications of Directors Policy Memorandum
(DPM) Civil Works (CW) 2019-02, Operationalizing Risk-Informed Decision Making in
Project Management (Planning Phase). The webinar was presented by Ms. Andrea Bias-
Streat (Deputy, Program & Project Management Community of Practice) and provided an
overview of key highlights of the memo, including its purpose of reaffirming key project
management responsibilities during the Planning phase of a project, with the goal of
ensuring consistency across the USACE enterprise.
- SAD Supplemental Alternatives Milestone Meetings After Action Review (8 March)
- This webinar provided an overview of lessons learned from an After
Action Review (AAR) conducted by the South Atlantic Division (SAD)
on the first 90 days of and the Alternatives Milestone Meetings for
their Supplemental studies, presented by Mr. Pat ODonnell (Acting
Chief, SAD Planning and Policy). The emphasis of the AAR was on both
complying with guidance and various issues related to how guidance is
disseminated and the consistency among different guidance
documents. The webinar provided useful information for study teams
and vertical teams on the intent of quickly starting feasibility studies,
and the lessons learned from the AAR are applicable to both
Supplemental studies and typical feasibility studies.
- Exemption Procedures for Planning Studies Exceeding Cost and Schedule Limits (24 January)
- This webinar addressed the recently released Planning Bulletin 2018-02: Exemption
Procedures for Planning Studies Exceeding Cost and Schedule Limits. As outlined in law
and policy, the majority of USACE Planning studies should be completed in 3 years and
cost less than $3 million. PB 2018-02, issued on 11 December 2018, clarifies the
procedures for requesting an exemption to these cost and schedule limits. Ms. Amy
Frantz, HQ Senior Policy Advisor, discussed when exemption requests should be made;
how they are processed; who has approval authority; and roles and responsibilities for
those involved. Participants also learned about policy changes resulting from WRDA
- Feasibility Study Initiation: Fundamental Steps and Documentation (13 August)
- Overview of key steps to initiating a feasibility study: processes, documentation, and decisions in the first 90 days of a new
- Risk 101 - Common Understanding of Enterprise Risk Management and Risk Informed Decision Making in Planning (1 August)
- This webinar aims to develop a high-level common understanding of the goals of implementing an Enterprise Risk Management
System at the Corps of Engineers, and specifically about applying to risk management to planning activities to improve project
delivery. The presentation covers how the Planning Community of Practice is applying recent direction from the Director of Civil
Works to operationalize risk in delivering an effective and efficient Civil Works Planning Program. The presentation reinforces that
the tenets of enterprise risk management have are a cornerstone of SMART Planning (the "R" in SMART is "Risk-Informed").
Together with the presentations "Risk Informed Planning Tools for Project Delivery Teams" and "Implementing Risk Informed
Decision Making in Planning", this series describes how the Corps of Engineers is operationalizing risk- informed decision making
in planning project delivery. This webinar was presented to the DPMs in a joint PPM CoP and PCoP Webinar.
- Risk Informed Planning Tools for Project Delivery Teams (1 August)
- This webinar aims to orient planning project delivery teams to risk informed planning tools, including rapid iteration and the risk
register. The deck provides links for more information about these tools that teams will find useful. Together with the
presentations "Risk 101 - Common Understanding of Enterprise Risk Management and Risk Informed Decision Making in Planning"
and "Implementing Risk Informed Decision Making in Planning", this series describes how the Corps of Engineers is
operationalizing risk- informed decision making in planning project delivery. This webinar was presented to the DPMs in a joint
PPM CoP and PCoP Webinar.
- Director's Policy Memorandum: Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness in USACE Civil Works Project Delivery (Planning Phase and Planning Activities) (31 May)
- Mr. Joe Redican, Chief of HQ Planning and Policy Division (Acting), Ms. Sue Hughes, HQ
Planning and Policy Division, Deputy for the Planning Community of Practice, and Mr.
Wes Coleman, Chief HQ Office of Water Project Review provided an overview of the
Directors Policy Memorandum Civil Works Programs 2018-05 SUBJECT: Improving
Efficiency and Effectiveness in USACE Civil Works Project Delivery (Planning Phase and
Planning Activities). DPM CW 2018-05 provides direction on incorporating risk informed
decision making in project development.
- Operationalizing Risk-informed Decision Making in Planning (18 January)
- Ms. Sue Hughes, Planning Community of Practice Deputy, provided an update to the
community of ongoing activities to operationalize risk-informed decision making in
- Project Success in 6 Easy Steps: Risk Management (15 September)
- All PDTs will encounter risk. Successful PDTs will manage risk. Project Managers will learn best practices across the life cycle that
save time, money & relationships. When Risk Management is integrated with the organizations culture and every day PDT
activities, project delivery outcomes significantly improve and project objectives are achieved. Doris Marlin, HQUSACE Project
and Program Management CoP, presented this webinar for the PPM and Planning Communities.
- Cherry Creek Dam Safety Modification Study (16 June)
- This presentation by Mr. Jeff Greenwald, Lead Planner/Project Manager, Omaha District, provided information and background on
the Cherry Creek Dam Safety Modification Study and compare/contrast these type of studies against typical feasibility studies. It
also covered formulating alternatives to address problems associated with and to reduce consequences of dam failure. Mr.
Greenwald provided lessons learned for each topic well as public meeting tips specific to dam safety modification studies.
- Cost Allocations (2 March)
- Mr. Jim Fredericks presented an informative webinar on Cost Allocation, with a focus on water supply cost allocation. The
information presented will be particularly helpful to plan formulators and economists who deal with multi-purpose projects.
- Risk-Informed Decision Making (6 August)
- Dr. Charlie Yoe shares his informed perspectives on Risk-Informed Decision Making in the context of Planning. This webinar
highlights why risk management is vital to the agency
- Environmental Evaluation & Compliance in SMART Planning: A common understanding for PMs, Planners, and Environmental team members (19 March)
- A webinar presenting a common understanding for PMs, Planners, and Environmental team members on integrating the NEPA and
environmental compliance tasks associated with planning milestones in the SMART Planning framework.
- Strategies for Scoping 3x3x3 Studies (2 October)
- Tips for scoping a 3-year / $3 million (3x3) compliant study with recent examples from Seattle District (Navigation) and
Sacramento District (Flood Risk Management) studies.
- AAPA - Project Cost Limits (WRDA 1986 Section 902) (28 October)
- This webinar was a joint presentation between USACE and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) on project cost
limits under WRDA 1986 Section 902. Presenters Jim Walker (AAPA), Jeremy LaDart (HQUSACE economist), and Kim Callan
(Walla Walla Cost Engineering Mandatory Center of Expertise) discussed Section 902 requirements and discussed a Section 902
limit example and relevant guidance.
- AAPA - Contributed Funds (23 August)
- This webinar was a joint presentation between USACE and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) on non-federal
project sponsor contributed funds. Presenters Jim Walker (AAPA) and Jan Rasgus (USACE) discussed accelerated funds,
advanced funds, contributed funds, the congressional committee notification process, and model agreements.
- SMART Planning Charette Facilitation Webinar (21 February)
- Foundations of SMART Planning (15 November)
- This 17 minute video provides an introduction to the foundations of SMART Planning and the SMART planning feasibility study
process. The video is hosted by the USACE Corps Connection YouTube channel.
- Civil Works Feasibility Study Program Execution and Delivery (28 February)
- Introduction to Planning Modernization and Feasibility Study execution improvements