A project can be constructed only after an investigation clearly shows the engineering feasibility, environmental acceptability, and economic justification of the project. Each project must constitute a complete solution to the problem, and must not commit the Federal government to additional improvements to ensure its effectiveness.
Studies are conducted in two phases: a reconnaissance phase and a feasibility phase. A reconnaissance study, conducted at full Federal expense, is initially made to determine whether or not there is Federal interest in the project. For very small flood-related projects (i.e., most streambank protection projects and snagging and clearing projects), this study is sufficient to determine economic feasibility and to support Federal participation in project construction. In the remainder of cases, a detailed feasibility study is required.
The feasibility phase consists of further planning activities required to reach a conclusion on Federal participation in the project. the cost of the feasibility phase is split equally between the Corps and the local sponsor, and is supported by an FCSA between these participants. Up to 50 percent of the local sponsor's share can be provided by accomplishing work required for the study (in-kind study services). The results of the feasibility study are presented in a Detailed Project Report (DPR), which must have sufficient detail to assure that the project will meet functional requirements and conform with sound principles of engineering design, economic justification, and environmental acceptability.
The protection of the environment is documented through either an EIS or an EA, depending on the significance of project impacts. The study, including preparation, review, and approval of the report and EIS (or EA), generally requires less than one year to complete. Near the end of the study, the District will prepare, in cooperation with the local sponsor, a draft LCA defining the obligations of the Federal government and the local sponsor in the construction, maintenance, and cost sharing of the project.
Upon approval of the Detailed Project Report (DPR), the related EIS/EA, and draft LCA by the Walla Walla District and our Division office; funds are requested to develop plans and specifications for the project. When plans and specifications are sufficiently complete, the District requests final project approval and construction funding from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters.