Fact Sheet 07: Emergency Bank Protection

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published May 7, 2015
Updated: March 22, 2023

Section 14 of the 1946 Flood Control Act, as amended, permits construction of bank protection works to protect endangered highways, highway bridge approaches and other essential,A streambank with rocks protecting it important public works such as municipal water supply systems and sewage disposal plants; churches, hospitals, schools and other nonprofit public services; and known cultural sites that are endangered by flood-caused bank or shoreline erosion. Repair, restoration and/or modification of the eroding streambank is allowed. Procedures followed for Section 14 projects are designed to expedite implementation.

Section 14 covers only protection of important and essential public facilities which serve the general public. In addition to major highway systems of national importance, eligible highways may also include principal highways, streets and roads of special and significant importance to the local community. Examples are arterial streets, important access routes to other communities and adjacent settlements, as well as roads designated as primary farm to market roads.

Privately owned riverfront and privately owned facilities are not eligible for protection under the Section 14 authority. Erosion protection is not eligible under Section 14 if the problem is caused by the design or operation of the facility itself or by inadequate drainage or lack of reasonable maintenance. Repair of the facility itself is also excluded under Section 14 authority.

A bank protection project must be designed to be an effective and successful operation. Each project constructed must be economically justified, and the maximum federal expenditure per project is limited to
$10 million. If the project cost exceeds the $10 million federal cost limit, the difference must be provided by local cash contribution. Studies are accomplished at full federal expense up to $100,000; remaining study costs are cost shared 50/50; design and implementation costs are cost shared 65 percent federal, 35 percent local sponsor. A minimum of 5 percent of the total cost must be contributed in cash.

Local Responsibilities

Local sponsorship for a Section 14 project must be provided by a state, local agency or Indian tribe empowered with sufficient legal and financial authority to comply fully with all required local cooperation and participation. The local sponsoring agency must agree to:

  • Provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements and rights-of-way necessary for construction of the project;
  • Accomplish without cost to the United States all required alterations and relocations in sewer, water supply, drainage and other utility facilities;
  • Hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works, not including damages during construction, operation and maintenance that are due to the fault or negligence of the United States or its contractors;
  • Maintain the project after completion;
  • Assume full responsibility for all project costs in excess of the federal cost limit of $10 million or to satisfy local cost sharing requirements;
  • Provide a cash contribution for project costs in proportion to any special benefits to non-public property;
  • Contribute a minimum of 35 percent work-in-kind or up-front financing for design and construction. At least 5 percent of the total cost must be a cash contribution.

How to Request a Study

An investigation under Section 14 may be initiated after receipt of a formal request from the prospective sponsoring agency. An example of an acceptable resolution is given below. This request and any further inquiries concerning an emergency bank protection project should be made directly to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

St. Paul District

ATTN: Project Management

332 Minnesota Street, Suite E1500

St. Paul, MN 55101-1323

Sample Letter to be placed on Agency Letterhead

To U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

This is in reference to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Continuing Authorities Program.  The [INSERT AGENCY NAME] understands that the provisions of Section 14 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, as amended, provides authority for the Corps to assist in the construction of streambank and shoreline protection work to protect public facilities.  The [INSERT AGENCY NAME] requests that the Corps conduct a study to determine the feasibility of [briefly describe problem or need, including if appropriate, the name of the body of water or waterway, and city, township, etc.], in [county and state].

The [INSERT AGENCY NAME] understands that initial feasibility investigations would be fully federally funded up to $100,000.  Any remaining feasibility costs would be shared 50/50 pursuant to the terms of a CAP Feasibility Cost Share Agreement.  Moreover, the [INSERT AGENCY NAME] understands that if a feasible alternative is identified, a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) will need to be executed between our agency and the Corps.  Our obligations as a local sponsor under Section 14, including the cost share requirement of 35% of the project design and implementation costs will be outlined in this PPA. 

Please contact [name, title, phone number] to arrange a further discussion of this inquiry.