Sending Office: Honorable Jim Costa
We are writing to request your support for our amendment (#50 on the floor) to H.R. 8, the
Water Resources Development Act of 2018.
This amendment is a simple, straightforward authorization for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accept non-federal funding from the owners of non-federal dams/reservoirs regulated by the Corps for flood control under Section 7 of the Flood Control
Act of 1944 to pay for Corps to review, update and revise Water Control Manuals, including flood-control diagrams, for such projects.
The authority is necessary to facilitate the modernization of operations criteria to reflect changed watershed conditions, improved forecasting technology, and to allow non-federal project owners to make physical and operational improvements to their facilities
that will enhance project benefits, including flood control, water storage and hydroelectric production.
Although Corps regulations (ER 1110-2-240, 5-30-2016) specify that Water Control Manuals, including flood-control curves, should be reviewed updated regularly, the Corps does not do this, citing budgetary constraints.
A July 2016 GAO report (“ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: Additional Steps Needed for Review and Revision of Water Control Manuals, GAO-16-685”) found that for Corps-owned projects, “revisions to water
control manuals are often a lower priority than other O&M activities, such as equipment repairs, sediment removal, or levee repairs. As a result, (Corps) districts may not get funding to revise water control manuals.” Non-Corps “Section 7” projects have an
even lower budget priority.
WRRDA 2014 authorized the Corps to accept funds from “non-federal entities” for review of control manuals at Corps-owned projects, but not at Section 7 projects. This amendment would similarly authorize the Corps to accept non-federal funding from the owners
of non-federal projects regulated by the Corps. Such projects include reservoirs and related facilities owned and operated by local public agencies, irrigation districts, states, and electric utilities.
Our amendment is narrowly focused on funding from the owners of non-federal projects rather than authorizing acceptance by the Corps of funding from the broader “non-federal interests/entities,” which could encompass interests that have no connection
to or vested interest in the affected non-federal projects. For this reason, a broader “non-federal-entity” authorization would likely be controversial among the owners of some non-federal Section 7 projects.
Additionally, our amendment would affect only non-federal projects regulated by the Corps. It would not affect Corps-owned projects or other federal projects, such as those owned by the Bureau of Reclamation, that are regulated by the Corps. Again,
this narrow approach avoids controversy and unintended impacts on other types of projects.
Finally, our amendment would in no way limit the Corps’ existing authority, or mandate any action by the Corps or by the owners of non-federal projects. It merely authorizes the Corps to accept funding from those owners of non-federal projects who are seeking
review of their operations manuals and are willing to help pay for it.
If you have any questions, please contact Scott Petersen (firstname.lastname@example.org) with Representative Costa.
Jim Costa Jeff Denham
MEMBER OF CONGRESS MEMBER OF CONGRESS
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