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SMART planning is:
     S: Specific
    M: Measurable
    A: Attainable
    R: Risk Informed
    T: Timely

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What's New on the SMART Guide
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Tips, Tools & Techniques

Last updated: October 2020

Developing the Feasibility Report

    From the initial draft Report Summary (see Planning Guidance Notebook Appendix H, Exhibit H-11) resulting from the Scoping Charette to the final Report, the key to developing a quality concise report is to develop the report from the beginning of the study process.

    Every product developed for Milestone Meetings should tell the story of the problem and the process to develop a project to address that problem. Those products will either be a part of the feasibility study report itself or will serve as important documentation of the process and decisions that support the story being told in the report (e.g., the risk register and the decision log).

    The PDT will develop of the Feasibility Report in iterations, with the draft report growing over time and confirmed at each milestone.

    • Scoping Charette – first draft of Report Summary based on available data and planning expertise. The Report Summary document is intended to follow the study through all levels of the planning process. Studies early in development will not have enough information to complete each section. Enter the appropriate data as it is developed.
    • Alternatives Milestone Meeting – updated Report Summary reflecting information developed from a second iteration of the six-step planning process.
    • TSP Milestone Meeting – updated Report Summarys tells the story of the Problem, the alternatives considered, the without project conditions, and the rationale for the tentatively selected plan.
    • Agency Decision Milestone Meeting – updated Report Summary reflects the results of public, technical, and policy review.
    • Final Report Transmittal Package – updated Report Summary reflects the final recommendation, including cost and benefit analyses

    Documentation required by NEPA will be identified at the beginning of the study and incorporated in the development of the feasibility study report from the Scoping meeting forward. The documentation will follow the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)’s guidance on improving efficiencies and timeliness of environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act.


    • USACE Planning Decision Document Errata Sheet Tips October 2020 - This document provides tips and best practices for consideration by PDTs needing to develop errata sheets, along with an example errata sheet.
    • Report Summary (see Planning Guidance Notebook Appendix H, Exhibit H-11) - The report Summary is a pre-milestone submittal for the Alternatives Milestone, Tentatively Selected Plan Milestone, and Agency Decision Milestone and is a part of the submittal package for the Final Report submission.
    • Integrated Report Format and Content Outline (PDF) – Approach taken by Jacksonville District to develop integrated feasibility study and reports, with details on the content of the 100-page main report and the appendices
    • Documenting Decisions: Tips, Tools, Techniques and Lessons Learned in Report Writing This recorded webinar included tips from the field on technical story telling: How are those in the field writing integrated feasibility study and environmental compliance documents that are both technically complete and readable? Jacksonville and Little Rock Districts shared recent experiences and lessons learned as they prepared and released draft reports for public - and concurrent internal - review. Following the presentation, there was a Question and Answer session. (19 September 2013)
    • Federal Plain Language Guidelines
    • Feasibility Report Examples – examples of reports that take a SMART approach
      • The American River Common Features General Reevaluation Report recommends Congressional authorization for additional improvements throughout Sacramento’s flood infrastructure system, including further levee improvements and widening the Sacramento Weir and Bypass to increase the resiliency and flexibility of the system.
      • The Jordan Creek Flood Risk Management Study in Springfield, MO was one of the initial pilots to test applying the SMART planning approach and has a final integrated feasibility report with environmental assessment.
      • The Lake Worth Inlet Feasibility Study is a navigation study that examined Lake Worth Inlet, the entrance channel to the Port of Palm Beach, FL. The study team produced a final feasibility study report and integrated Environmental Impact Statement.
      • The Rice Lake Habitat Rehabilitation & Enhancement Project Report presents the results of a feasibility study undertaken to restore wetland, aquatic and floodplain habitat along the Illinois River. The report is an example of an appropriate level of detail for an ecosystem restoration study; the main report is 90 pages with 67 pages of report text.
      • The Fargo-Moorhead Feasibility Study examined alternatives for managing flood risk in the Fargo-Moorhead, Minnesota metropolitan area. Based on the initial screening, a diversion channel alternative was the only feasible concept that warranted further investigation. The Chief of Engineer’s report was signed December 19, 2011, recommending a 36-mile-long diversion channel in North Dakota with upstream staging and storage. The feasibility report provides an example of telling a complex story with appropriate levels of detail and information.
      • The Central Everglades Planning Project website includes the final integrated report and presentation material for the project, including “placemat” presentations and the final Chief’s Report. The Corps prepared the CEPP planning document using SMART Planning principles to reduce the overall time for a study of this magnitude. In prior years, plan formulation and review may have taken six years or longer. The CEPP process was completed in half that time.
      • The final Skokomish River Basin integrated Feasibility Study Report and Environmental Impact Statement recommended a restoration plan that includes a levee removal, a side channel reconnection, wetland restoration at two sites, and placement of large woody debris.
      • St. Lucie County Coastal Storm Risk Management Project is an ongoing coastal study examining approximately 7.4 miles of Florida coast, broken out into 4 coastal reaches. The district released a draft integrated Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment in April 2016.

      Videos and Placemats: Alternative Story-telling Approaches