Line handlers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District and the Philip R. Clarke moor the ship in the Poe Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. on Jan. 16, 2024. The Philip R. Clarke was the last ship through the Soo Locks for the 2023-2024 Great Lakes navigation season.


Planning Assistance to the States and Tribal Nations

Published Jan. 29, 2024

The Planning Assistance to States program is authorized by Section 22 of WRDA 1974, as amended, and is often referred to by the acronym, PAS, and sometimes referred to as the “Section 22” program.

The Corps offers two types of planning assistance through Planning Assistance to States: Technical Assistance and Comprehensive Plans. This means that any State, or group of States, federally recognized Tribe, or U.S. Territories may partner with the Corps under the PAS program to prepare a Comprehensive Plan or receive other forms of technical assistance. Regional coalitions of governmental entities may also partner with the Corps to develop water resources Comprehensive Plans.

The typical timeframe for completing work under PAS is 12 to 24 months.

Technical Assistance Supporting States on Water Resources Management Efforts

The Corps can provide Technical Assistance to enhance the water-related planning efforts currently underway by States, Tribes, Territories, and other governmental organizations. For example, we can develop, collect, and conduct hydrologic, economic, or environmental data and risk analyses to support an entity’s hazard mitigation plan, ecosystem restoration plan, water resources management plan, long-term recovery plan, climate action plan, etc.  

Technical Assistance activities through the Planning Assistance to States program are cost shared with the study partner (50 percent).  Non-federal partners may also voluntarily contribute funds in excess of the cost shared amount if they wish to increase the scope of work beyond what the federally budgeted amount can support. The cost-share for Technical Assistance is provided in funds and cannot be met via in-kind services.

Limitations: Technical Assistance under the Planning Assistance to States program may not include the preparation of site-specific designs or construction.

Comprehensive Plans

Comprehensive Plans provide a vision for addressing water resources challenges in the context of developing, utilizing, and conserving the water and related resources within drainage basins, watersheds, and their ecosystems. Comprehensive planning typically covers a large geographic area and a long-term planning horizon.  Provided both entities (i.e., States, Tribes, local and regional governments) agree, comprehensive plans can extend across jurisdictional, municipal, Tribal, and State boundaries.

Typical water resources problems and opportunities addressed in comprehensive water resource plans can include: flood risk management, water supply, water conservation, environmental restoration, water quality, hydropower, erosion, navigation, fish and wildlife, cultural resources, and environmental resources.

Comprehensive planning activities through the Planning Assistance to States program require that the Corps and the study partner share the cost of the effort—with 50 percent paid for by the Corps and 50 percent paid for by the partner. Voluntarily contributed funds in excess of cost share may be provided by the non-federal partner. The non-federal cost share for preparing a water resources Comprehensive Plan may be provided either by direct funds or by in-kind support—for example, by providing labor, services, materials, supplies, or other in-kind services—the value of which can go towards meeting the cost-share requirement. For federally recognized Tribes and U.S. Territories, local cost-sharing requirements are waived up to $484,000 (2019, adjusted annually for inflation). This typically means that for large projects, the federal government would pay 100% of the project costs up to $484,000; and the Tribe or U.S. Territory would cost-share any amounts greater than $484,000.

Limitations: Implementation of the Comprehensive Plans is the responsibility of the State, Tribe, or Territory. Furthermore, Planning Assistance to States studies cannot include detailed design for project construction.

Examples of past studies and activities completed under Planning Assistance to States include:

  • Watershed planning
  • Flood risk management
  • Surface and groundwater quality
  • Environmental Conservation and Restoration
  • Water supply and demand
  • Wetland delineations
  • Stream assessments
  • GIS mapping

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