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USACE and Great Lake States Execute Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study Cost-Share Agreement

Buffalo District
Published Sept. 28, 2022

During an historic event, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the eight Great Lakes states signed a watershed study cost share agreement, initiating the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study aimed at protecting the immense economic, environmental and social value of the Great Lakes coast.

The study is a comprehensive watershed assessment of the Great Lakes coastal areas which includes the identification of areas vulnerable to future storms, flooding, low water elevations, erosion and accretion; the identification of a range of measures to improve coastal resiliency; and the development of a collaborative risk-informed decision framework to support the identification and prioritization of coastal investments. 

This collaborative effort aims to maintain strong coastal economies, protect and restore coastal ecosystems, and develop more sustainable, resilient coastal communities prepared to adapt to future climate change.

As directed by Section 211 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, USACE will conduct the study under the authority of Section 729 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, as amended, and must enter into a Watershed Assessment Cost Share Agreement with non-federal sponsor(s) to share the costs of the study. Total study costs are estimated to be $10.6M and will be cost shared 75% federal and 25% non-Federal with the eight states collectively providing cash and in-kind services towards the estimated $2.65M non-Federal cost share.  The study is estimated to take 4 years to complete with the first six months dedicated to developing a detailed scope, schedule and budget.

The study area encompasses over 5,200 miles of the U.S. shoreline along the five Great Lakes where 4.2 million people live within 2 miles of the coast that supports the Nation’s economy and provides recreation opportunities for the region.  The study would integrate and build upon substantial efforts and partnerships funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other federal and state programs, increasing returns on existing investments. The study would examine a range of potential future conditions that take into account stressors that affect coastal resilience.

In collaboration with study partners, vulnerable coastal resources would be identified and mapped.  An array of structural, non-structural, natural, nature-based, institutional, and regulatory measures actions would be evaluated and recommended to address identified coastal vulnerabilities.

Proactive planning to identify and address issues before they occur is the goal of this coastal study specifically to identify vulnerable coastal areas and recommend actions to bolster the coastal ability to withstand, recover and adapt to future events. Addressing vulnerabilities now, saves money, property and lives in the future.

This watershed study will investigate opportunities to improve resilience in the built and natural environments, including coastal populations, buildings, infrastructure, industries, navigation systems, social/cultural resources, ecosystems, coastal landscapes, and natural processes.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael L. Connor: “I am thrilled to celebrate the monumental partnering effort across eight Great Lakes states, the Corps, and other federal agencies to pursue this coastal resiliency study.” “This collaboration is essential in developing science-based strategies to address the risk and vulnerabilities to communities, commerce, and the environment posed by climate change and its many impacts on the Great Lakes.”

Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples, Commanding General, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “The Great Lakes and Ohio River Division greatly values the opportunity to partner with all eight Great Lakes states on a historic and comprehensive study aimed at increased community resilience across the Basin.” “It is an honor and privilege to lead this effort.”

Amy Gaskill

Release no. 22-025

Chick Lock

Through deeds, not words, we are BUILDING STRONG®