US Army Corps of Engineers
Great Lakes and Ohio River Division

Huntington District



Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration

In 1996, Congress provided the Corps of Engineers a general authority to carry out aquatic ecosystem restoration and protection projects. Although similar to the authority under Section 1135 of WRDA 1986, this authority can be used for restoration and protection of aquatic habitat and water quality in lakes, rivers and streams without any connection to existing Corps projects. Projects being conducted under this authority include sediment removal for lake restoration, removal of low-head dams, aeration of stagnant water in lakes and reservoirs, and construction of artificial reefs.

This ecosystem restoration authority requires a non-Federal partner, who may be a state, local, or tribal government or a non-profit organization . After the initial planning is conducted at full Federal funding, the non-Federal partner must cost share 35 percent of the feasibility study, design and construction. The local partner is also responsible for all lands, easement, rights-of-way, relocations and disposal (LERRD). Congress directed that annual funding for this authority not exceed $25,000,000 Corps-wide, with a Federal funding limit of $5,000,000 on individual projects. The FY 2000 appropriation for this program is $6,260,000.

Section 1135 of WRDA 1986

The construction, operation and maintenance of some civil works projects may adversely impact the quality of the environment. In 1986, Congress authorized the Corps of Engineers to modify the structures or operations of Corps projects to restore or improve the quality of the environment and ecosystem functions impaired by these projects. These modifications can not conflict with the authorized project purposes (e.g., flood control, navigation). In 1996, Congress amended this authority to allow restoration in areas outside Corps project lands, but impacted by the Corps project. In 1999, Congress further directed that this authority could be used for the control of sea lamprey at sites throughout the Great Lakes

This authority has been used to modify dams and their operations to enhance water quality and promote fish migration. Navigation structures might be modified to increase their habitat value or to protect and restore coastal wetlands.

This environmental restoration authority requires a non-Federal partner, who may be a state, local or tribal government, or a non-profit organization. After the initial planning is conducted at full Federal funding, the non-Federal partner must cost share 25 percent of the feasibility study, design and construction. The non-Federal partner must also provide all necessary lands, easement, rights-of-way, relocations and disposal (LERRD). Congress directed that annual funding for this authority not exceed $25,000,000 Corps-wide, and that the Federal share on individual projects not exceed $5,000,000. The FY 2000 appropriation for this program is $10,000,000.

Where the project costs exceed the limits of this authority, Congress may direct the project through specific legislation.