Studies under the General Investigations Program are authorized by Congress. They address flood risk management, navigation, water supply, recreation, and other needs and opportunities. Through these studies, alternative plans are compared, and favorable and unfavorable characteristics are determined. Costs and benefits of alternative plans are identified, and a specific course of action is recommended to Congress. Congress may then authorize and fund a project for construction. There is no designated limit to the scale, extent, or cost of development that can be proposed as a result of a General Investigations study.
When local interests believe a need exists for construction or improvement of a water resource project, they contact their Congressional representative. The senator or representative then requests the appropriate congressional committee to direct the Corps to study the problem and furnish a recommendation.
For small-scale projects, Congress has also provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the discretion to plan, design, and construct certain routine flood control, navigation, and water resource improvements without specific congressional authorization. These small project authorities are discussed in the Continuing Authorities section of this pamphlet. Only a phone call is necessary for us to advise you on whether a potential project or study would fall into the General Investigations or the continuing authorities category.