The Continuing Authorities Program (also called the Small Projects Program) provides the Corps with the authority to respond quickly to water resource problems. Congress has authorized the Corps to construct several different types of small projects within certain funding limits. This saves much time in development and approval of projects. Funding limits for these small projects range from $500,000 to $5 million. Water resource problems within the following nine areas can be addressed by the Corps under authority given by sections of various Water Resources Development Acts (Public Laws).
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration
(Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996) — The Corps is authorized to carry out aquatic ecosystem restoration projects that will improve the quality of the environment, are in the public interest, and are cost-effective. Individual projects are limited to $5 million in Federal cost. Non-Federal interests must contribute 35% of the cost of construction and 100% the cost of operation, maintenance, replacement, and rehabilitation. The program has an annual program limit of $25 million. This program is not currently funded.
Beneficial Uses of Dredged Material
(Section 204, Water Resources Development Act of 1992, as amended) — Projects can be authorized for the protection, restoration, and creation of aquatic and ecologically related habitats, including wetlands, in connection with dredging an authorized Federal navigation project. Non-Federal sponsors are responsible for 25% of the project cost and 100% of the cost of operation, maintenance, replacement, and rehabilitation. There is an annual appropriations limit of $15 million. For projects with an estimated Federal cost of less than $5 million, divisions have approval authority. Larger projects are approved by headquarters.
Emergency Streambank & Shoreline Protection Projects
(Section 14, Flood Control Act of 1946, as amended) — The Corps may spend up to $1 million in one locality during any fiscal year for the construction, repair, restoration, and modification of emergency streambank and shoreline protection works designed to protect: highways, bridge approaches, and public works, as well as churches, hospitals, schools, and other nonprofit services endangered by streambank and shoreline erosion.
Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction
The Corps may construct small beach restoration and protection projects not specifically authorized by Congress. The federal share in such projects may not exceed $2 million and the project must not be dependent on additional improvements for successful operation.
Small Flood Control Projects
(Section 205, Flood Control Act of 1948, as amended) — Small flood control projects may be constructed without specific authorization by Congress, when the Chief of Engineers determines that the work is advisable. In addition, the project must constitute a complete solution to the flood problem involved, and not require subsequent improvements to insure effective operation. The federal share may not exceed $5 million.
Small Navigation Projects
(Section 107, River and Harbor Act of 1960, as amended) — The Corps may construct small river and harbor improvement projects not specifically authorized by Congress when they will result in substantial benefits to navigation. The federal share in such projects may not exceed $4 million. Each project must be complete in itself and not commit the United States to any additional improvement to insure successful operation.
Project Modifications for Improvement of the Environment
(Section 1135 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, as amended) — The Corps is authorized to modify water resources projects constructed by the Corps for the improvement of the environment. Projects that address degradation of the quality of the environment caused by a Corps project may also be undertaken. Non-Federal sponsors are responsible for 25% of the project cost and usually 100% of the operation, maintenance, replacement, and rehabilitation. Up to 80% of the non-Federal share may be provided as work-in-kind. Non-governmental entities may serve as the non-Federal sponsor. The Federal per project limit is $5 million and the annual appropriation limit is $25 million. After initial headquarters approval to initiate a study, projects are usually approved by the division.
Shore Damage Attributable to Federal Navigation Works
(Section 111, River and Harbor Act of 1968, as amended) — The Corps is authorized to investigate, study and construct projects for the prevention or mitigation of shore damage attributable to federal navigation works. Projects where the federal cost is $2 million or less do not require Congressional approval.
Snagging and Clearing for Flood Control
(Section 208, Flood Control Act of 1954, as amended) — For purposes of flood control, the Corps is authorized under this act to allot up to $500,000 on any single tributary during any fiscal year for the removal of accumulated snags and other debris and for the clearing and straightening of stream channels.