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

Flood Control Act of 1944

Flood Control Act of 1944 [16 U.S.C. 460d (and various sections of Titles 33 and 43 U.S.C); P.L. 78-534, December 22, 1944; 58 Stat. 887] -- This Act, as amended and supplemented by other flood control acts and river and harbor acts, authorizes various Corps of Engineers water development projects. This statute expressed Congressional intent to limit the authorization and construction of navigation, flood control, and other water projects to those having significant benefits for navigation and which could be operated consistent with other river uses.

The Corps of Engineers was granted general authority to submit projects to Congress for authorization. While studying such projects, the Corps was required to consult with the Secretary of the Interior regarding certain Western water projects, and the Governors of affected States. Reports submitted to Congress by the Secretary of the Army were to contain the views of affected States, and, for certain projects, the views of the Secretary of the Interior.

Section 1(c) of the Act amended the 1939 Reclamation Project Act and stipulated that the same consultation requirements which apply to the Corps' projects would also apply to irrigation projects studied by the Secretary of the Interior. In the event of objections by an affected State or the Army to an irrigation project, the proposed project would not be authorized unless approved by an Act of Congress. Section 2 of this Act provided that flood control projects, including channel and drainage improvements, would be under the Secretary of the Army while watershed projects, including measures for runoff and soil erosion protection, would be under the Secretary of Agriculture.

Section 4 authorized the Chief of Engineers to construct, operate and maintain public park and recreational facilities in reservoir areas under the Army Secretary's jurisdiction. Recreational uses of such areas were to be consistent with existing laws to protect State fish and game resources. Surplus power from reservoir projects was to be provided to the Secretary of the Interior to be transmitted for use at the "lowest possible rates."

General authority for the Secretary of the Army to provide for domestic and industrial use of surplus water at dams and reservoirs was authorized. In addition, the Secretary of the Interior was authorized to construct, operate, and maintain irrigation projects at Corps reservoirs and dams, in accordance with existing reclamation laws, if authorized by Congress. Sites already used by the Corps for storage of irrigation water are not eligible for this purpose.

This Act authorized the construction of numerous dams and modifications to previously existing dams. Several provisions of the Act impact the responsibilities of the Service under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act.

Public Law 103-66, approved August 10, 1993, (107 Stat. 378) authorizes the Secretary of the Army to collect recreational user fees at developed recreation sites and facilities, including campsites swimming beaches, and boat ramps, but excluding a site or facility which includes only a boat ramp and courtesy dock. Language was also included to exempt certain facilities.

Public Law, approved October 12, 1996, (110 Stat. 3680) directs the Secretary of the Army to provide for increased emphasis and opportunities for recreation at water resource developments operated by the Corps of Engineers.

Return to Resource Laws