CAP Section 204, Beneficial Use of Dredged Material

Published Jan. 18, 2024

Ecosystem Restoration in Connection With Dredging (Section 204)

Section 204 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 provides authority for the Corps of Engineers to plan, design and build projects to protect, restore and create aquatic and ecologically related habitats in connection with dredging of authorized Federal navigation projects. Typically, these projects involve the beneficial use of dredged material from navigation channels to improve or create wetlands or waterbird nesting habitats.

Project Process. The process for Section 204 projects begins after a non-federal sponsor requests Corps of Engineers assistance under the program. When funding is available, the Corps of Engineers prepares a feasibility study, beginning with an estimate of the overall scope and cost of the study and a determination of whether the project is in the federal interest. The feasibility study formulates alternatives to achieve the restoration, evaluates the environmental effects of the alternatives, documents the project requirements, and provides a scope and cost estimate for project implementation. If the feasibility report recommends a plan for implementation, the Corps of Engineers prepares detailed project plans and specifications and obtains any required federal permits. The Corps of Engineers then manages construction of the project by a private contractor.

Cost Sharing Requirements. Cost sharing is based on the increase in cost of the ecosystem restoration project compared to the cost of disposal of dredged material without the ecosystem restoration project. Only the increased cost above the cost of the disposal option that would have been implemented without ecosystem restoration (referred to as the Base Plan) is cost shared. The Corps of Engineers funds the study and design. A non-Federal sponsor must contribute 35 percent of the cost of construction above the cost of the Base Plan, and 100 percent of the cost of operation and maintenance of the ecosystem restoration project. The Federal per project expenditure limit is $10 million. The sponsor is credited the value of real estate necessary to implement the project. The sponsor cannot receive credit for work in kind under this program.

Study Cost

The feasibility study and design is Federally funded.

Project Cost

Non-Federal sponsor pays 35 percent of total project construction cost in excess of the base plan cost.


How to Request Assistance. Requests for assistance should be in the form of a letter (see sample provided below) describing the location and nature of the problem and requesting assistance under the program. The request should be submitted by a state or local government agency to your local district planning chief



To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to seek the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under (Reference the authority under which assistance is requested and identify the type and location of the problem.)

(Briefly describe your perception of the nature and severity of the problem.)

(Briefly describe the known issues which would affect the acceptability of any recommended solutions, from the perspective of municipal and local governments, and/or the public.)

We are aware as local sponsor that we will assume costs for lands, easements, right-of-way, relocations and disposal areas (LERRD) and/or assume costs to demonstrate ownership of such.  We also will assume responsibility for any operation and maintenance of the project. Your consideration of this request will be appreciated.  Please contact (name, address, telephone, etc.) for further coordination.  

The [NAME OF AGENCY OR COMMUNITY] has designated [NAME OF LOCAL CONTACT AT AGENCY AND PHONE NUMBER] as the point of contact for this project.