The President’s Budget for fiscal year 2015 (FY15) includes $4.561 billion in gross discretionary funding for the Civil Works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which is offset in part by a proposal to cancel $28 million in unobligated carryover of funding appropriated prior to fiscal year 2014. The budget includes projects in the Seattle District including operation of the six dams in the district, Green Duwamish ecosystem restoration construction, the Skagit River and Puyallup River flood reduction studies, Skokomish River ecosystem restoration study, and the Seattle Harbor deepening study.
"The fiscal 2015 Civil Works budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reflects the Administration's priorities of supporting and improving the Nation's economy, protecting the American people, and restoring and protecting our environment," said the Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. "This budget continues the Administration's emphasis on maintaining the Nation's coastal channels and inland waterways, reducing flood risks to the American public, and restoring large ecosystems – through targeted investments that fund the development, management, restoration, and protection of the Nation's water, wetlands, and related resources.
"This is a performance-based budget that funds the construction of projects that provide the greatest returns on the Nation's Civil Works investments for the economy, environment and public safety," said Darcy. "The Budget continues to reflect the tough choices necessary to put the country on a fiscally sustainable path."
The Army Civil Works budget funds the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of projects, and focuses on the highest performing work within three main Civil Works mission areas: commercial navigation, flood and coastal storm damage reduction, and aquatic ecosystem restoration. It funds programs that contribute to the protection of the nation's waters and wetlands; the generation of low-cost renewable hydropower; the restoration of certain sites contaminated as a result of the Nation's early efforts to develop atomic weapons; and emergency preparedness and training to respond to natural disasters.
New Federal funding in the Civil Works budget consists of $3.517 billion from the general fund, $915 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, $85 million from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, and $44 million from Special Recreation User Fees.
The FY15 funding will be distributed among the appropriation accounts as follows:
- $2.6 billion for Operation and Maintenance, including the six dams in the Seattle District
- $1.125 billion for Construction, including Green Duwamish ecosystem restoration construction
- $245 million for Mississippi River and Tributaries
- $200 million for the Regulatory Program
- $178 million for Expenses
- $100 million for the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP)
- $80 million for Investigations, including four in the Seattle District
- $28 million for Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies
- $5 million for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
The FY15 Civil Works program is also provided $398 million in funding from three additional sources bringing the FY15 total program funding to $4.959 billion. This includes approximately $300 million in cost-sharing contributions to the Rivers and Harbors Contributed Funds account from non-Federal partners. Additionally, $20 million in Federal Permanent Appropriations will be available to USACE in FY15, and $78 million will be available from the Coastal Wetlands Restoration Trust Fund for the work of several Federal agencies including USACE, overseen by an interagency Federal-State task force led by USACE.
The Administration’s proposed Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative would support USACE efforts to increase the resilience of water resources infrastructure to a changing climate. This would include investments in small flood-risk reduction projects that use nonstructural or natural approaches to risk reduction. It would also provide technical assistance to non-Federal, state, and local agencies to assist and enable their development and implementation of nonstructural actions to reduce flood risks; and an interagency study by USACE and the Bureau of Reclamation to develop more resilient approaches to improve management of their existing infrastructure and the strategies that they use in planning for future capital investments.
The FY15 Budget supports the modernization of Federal water resources infrastructure processes to address 21st Century water resources needs through policies and procedures that govern Federal water resources development and strategies for both managing existing infrastructure and restoring aquatic ecosystem functions affected by past investments. The Administration is considering additional proposals to advance efforts already underway and to build the foundation of a comprehensive strategy for water resources management and investment. In considering and developing these new policies, procedures, and strategies, the Administration will continue to work closely with the many stakeholders with an interest in the use of our Nation’s water infrastructure, including state, local, and Tribal governments, as well as with the Congress.
The FY15 Budget includes $1.825 billion for the study, design, construction, operation and maintenance of inland and coastal navigation projects. It funds capital investments on the inland waterways based on the estimated revenues to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund; the Budget assumes enactment of a new user fee to increase revenue to this trust fund to enable a significant increase in funding for such investments in the future.
The Investigations account funds $10 million of that total for work on proposals to deepen and/or widen 12 high commercial use U.S. ports including Seattle Harbor.
The FY15 O&M program is funded at $2.752 billion. The Budget emphasizes performance of existing projects by focusing on those coastal harbors and inland waterways with the most commercial traffic, as well as safety improvements at Federal dams and levees based on the risk and consequence of a failure. The Budget also funds maintenance work at harbors that support significant commercial fishing, subsistence, or public transportation benefits.
There are 25 O&M master plans and one dredged material management plan funded to completion in the Budget.
The FY15 Budget also provides $38 million in the O&M account for the continued funding of the USACE Levee Safety Initiative to help ensure that Federal levees are safe and to assist non-Federal parties to address safety issues with their levees. This initiative includes funding for ongoing work on the National Levee Inventory Program.
The FY15 construction program is funded at $1.209 billion, including $84 million in the MR&T account. The construction program uses objective, performance-based guidelines to allocate funding toward the highest performing economic, environmental, and public safety investments.
The FY15 aquatic ecosystem restoration program reflects interagency collaboration to restore large ecosystems: the California Bay Delta, Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, the Great Lakes and the Gulf Coast. USACE will continue to work with other Federal, state and local agencies, using the best available science and adaptive management to protect and restore these ecosystems. In addition to producing environmental benefits, efforts to protect and restore these ecosystems help to support positive economic growth in the surrounding communities.
The Budget funds 67 construction projects, consisting of 12 dam safety assurance, seepage control, and static instability correction projects (includes one completion); nine projects ranked on the basis of life-saving benefits (includes one completion); eight additional project completions; one new start; and 37 other continuing projects.
By program area, the 67 funded construction projects consist of 31 flood risk management projects (including three funded for completion), 16 commercial navigation projects (including one continuing mitigation item, seven dredged material placement areas, and four funded for completion), 17 aquatic ecosystem restoration projects (including four projects to meet requirements of Endangered Species Act Biological Opinions, three funded for completion, and one new start), one hydropower project (associated with mitigation), and two water supply storage projects.
Recreation is funded at $247 million in FY15, with $236 million in the O&M account and $11 million in the MR&T account. USACE is the nation’s largest provider of Federal recreation opportunities, which supports the Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
The FY15 Regulatory Program is funded at $200 million. With these funds, USACE will improve protection of the nation’s waters and wetlands and provide greater efficiency of permit processing.
The FY15 Investigations program is funded at $80 million, including $10 million from the MR&T account, to fund studies to determine the need, engineering feasibility, and economic, environmental and social return of potential solutions for water and related land resource problems. The Budget funds completion of 37 studies and designs, including 15 ecosystem restoration studies, 10 flood risk management studies, nine navigation studies and three water reallocation studies. These studies include Lower Columbia River Ecosystem Restoration, Puyallup River and Skagit River flood risk reduction studies and Skokomish River Basin ecosystem restoration study.
The Investigations account also includes 10 new studies. Funding is also included for the Water Resources Priorities Study. This high-priority study is needed to assess the Nation’s vulnerability to inland and coastal flooding; compare the flood risks faced by different regions of the United States; evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability of existing programs and strategies for reducing these risks in different settings at the Federal, state, and local levels; and develop recommendations to save lives, and reduce flood losses and associated recovery costs nationwide.
The Investigations account also includes $8 million to enhance the Army’s efforts in conjunction with state floodplain management authorities to provide floodplain management services and interagency coordination to improve state and local capabilities to develop effective flood risks management solutions to flood and storm damages. The Budget also includes $2 million to support the continued development of interagency teams known as Silver Jackets to provide unified Federal assistance in implementing flood risk management solutions.
Emergency Management is funded at $32 million in FY15, with $28 million in the FCCE account for preparedness and training to respond to floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, and $4 million in the O&M account.
The FY15 Civil Works budget press book is available on the Web at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Budget.aspx, under the heading Program Budget: Press Books.