CAP Section 206, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration

Published Jan. 18, 2024

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects (Section 206)

Under the authority provided by Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may plan, design and build projects to restore aquatic ecosystems for fish and wildlife. Projects conducted in New England under this program have included eelgrass restoration, salt marsh and salt pond restoration, freshwater wetland restoration, anadromous fish passage and dam removal, river restoration, and nesting bird island restoration. Projects must be in the public interest and cost effective and are limited to $10 million in Federal cost.

Project Process. The process for Section 206 projects begins after a non-federal sponsor requests U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assistance under the program. When funding is available, USACE 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepares detailed project plans and specifications and obtains any required federal permits. USACE then manages construction of the project by a private contractor.

Cost Sharing. USACE provides the first $100,000 of study costs. A non-Federal sponsor must contribute 50 percent of the cost of the feasibility study after the first $100,000 of expenditures, 35 percent of the cost of design and construction, and 100 percent of the cost of operation and maintenance. The sponsor receives a credit for the value of real estate necessary to implement the project. The entire non-Federal share of the project cost may be credited as work in kind, but, to receive credit, the services must be provided after a formal Feasibility Study Cost Sharing Agreement or Project Cooperation Agreement is signed.


Study Cost

The feasibility study is cost shared 50 percent Federal / 50 percent Non-Federal after the first $100,000 in study costs. The first $100,000 in study cost is Federally funded.

Project Cost

Design and construction costs are 65 percent Federal / 35 percent non-Federal


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.