Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Corps of Engineers Projects

Corps of Engineers Projects: Various specific and general (omnibus) project authorizing statutes provide for fish and wildlife conservation at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects for navigation, flood control, river and harbor improvement, and other purposes. With some exceptions, conservation measures were generally not detailed in the project authorization but were contained in a report of the Chief of Engineers, which was usually referenced in the statute. Since passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 in particular, however, a number of projects have been authorized solely for fish and wildlife mitigation or enhancement purposes.

Since 1934 the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661- 666c; 48 Stat. 401), as amended, has been the principal authority for incorporating fish and wildlife conservation measures in water development projects. Other statutes have also included broad and, more recently, more specific authority to consider conservation measures and mandates to require mitigation features for all authorized projects. Some examples include the following Acts, and more information on each can be found under their separate headings:

Flood Control Act of 1944 -- This statute authorized various Corps water development projects and indicates Congressional intent to limit the authorization and construction to projects which have significant benefits for navigation and which can be operated consistent with other river uses.

Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899 -- Sections 9 and 10 of this Act require Congressional approval for constructing bridges or dams in navigable waters. Section 13 authorizes the Corps to issue permits to discharge refuse matter in navigable waters.

Rivers and Harbors Act of 1938 -- This Act authorized more than 50 water projects and provided for wildlife conservation to be given "due regard" in planning Federal water resources projects.

Water Resources Development Act of 1976 -- This statute authorized additional water projects, modified certain features of previously authorized projects, and included specific conservation measures for some of the projects.

Locks and Dam 26, Mississippi River, Authorization of Replacement Act -- Title I of P.L. 95-502 authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to replace Locks and Dam 26 on the Mississippi River at Alton, Illinois, and to replace terrestrial wildlife habitat inundated by the construction on an acre-for-acre basis in Illinois and Missouri.

Water Resources Development Act of 1986 -- This Act authorizes for construction and/or study of 270 Corps of Engineers projects (port development, inland navigation, flood control, streambank erosion, and shoreline erosion, as well as related feasibility and reconnaissance studies). Provisions in this statute also deauthorize 290 projects and provide for authorized projects to be de-authorized if funds have not been obligated for construction, including planning and design, within 5 years of this statute's enactment.

This Act also contains omnibus provisions covering all features of water resources development and planning, including cost-sharing by Federal and non-Federal interests, as well as environmental assessment and mitigation requirements.

Water Resources Development Act of 1988 -- This statute authorized 16 navigation, flood control, beach nourishment projects as well as 20 modifications to previously authorized projects.

Water Resources Development Act of 1990 -- This statute authorized the construction of 25 new water resources projects and modified 31 projects previously authorized. Provisions in this Act also amended section 1135 of the 1986 Act to make permanent the authorization for environmental improvements at existing projects.

Water Resources Development Act of 1992 -- Some of the projects and programs of interest to the Service that were addressed by P.L. 102-580, signed October 31, 1992 (106 Stat. 4797) include: Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Wildlife Mitigation project; Sonoma Baylands Wetland Demonstration Project; Upper Mississippi River Plan; New York City Zebra Mussel Program; Susquehanna River Wetlands Demonstration Project; Broad Top Region of Pennsylvania, Watershed Reclamation and Wetlands Pilot Project; New York Bight and Harbor Study; Chesapeake Bay Beneficial Use Site Management; and National Contaminated Sediment Task Force. (For more details, see the entry on the Act itself.)

Water Resources Development Act of 1996 --P.L. 104-303, approved October 12, 1996, (110 Stat. 3658) authorized 31 new water resources projects. Modifications to 61 pre-existing projects were authorized as part of the Act. (For more details, see the entry on the Act itself.)

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