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President's Fiscal 2021 Budget for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program released

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Feb. 10, 2020

The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021) includes $5.967 billion in gross discretionary funding for the Civil Works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"The Army Civil Works FY 2021 budget focuses on investments that enhance and protect our nation's water-related infrastructure and resources through partnerships and innovative programs that improve project delivery to provide cost savings," said The Honorable Rickey D. (R.D.) James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.  The Budget proposes reforms to strengthen partnerships with states and local communities as well as the private sector to accelerate the completion of construction projects more cost effectively and to increase the transparency with how federal taxpayer resources are spent.  It also includes $100 million to increase the flexibility for USACE to respond to future natural disasters. 

New federal funding in the Civil Works budget consists of $4.897 billion from the General Fund of the Treasury, $1,015 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), and an estimated $54 million from Special Recreation User Fees.

The FY 2021 funding will be distributed among the appropriations accounts as follows:

  • $1.996 billion for Operation and Maintenance (O&M)
  • $2.220 billion for Construction
  • $1.015 billion for Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF)
  • $210 million for Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T)
  • $200 million for the Regulatory Program
  • $187 million for Expenses
  • $103 million for Investigations
  • $77 million for Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies
  • $5 million for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works                                                                        

The FY 2021 Investigations program as a whole is funded at $109 million in the Budget, including $6 million from the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) account, of which $53 million is to fund studies to determine the need, engineering feasibility, and economic, environmental and social return of potential solutions for water and related land resources problems. 

The Investigations account includes funding to complete one feasibility study – South San Francisco Bay Shoreline, CA (Phase II); seven disposition studies – Los Angeles County Drainage Area, CA (Channels); Salinas Reservoir, CA; Suisan Channel, CA; Peoria Small Boat Harbor; IL; Cape Fear Locks and Dams 1-3, NC; Savannah River Below Augusta, GA; and Bayou Cocoderie and Tributaries, LA; eight dam safety modification feasibility studies – Prado Lake, CA; Garrison Dam, ND; Keystone Lake, OK; Cougar Lake, OR; Foster Lake, OR; Green Peter Lake, OR; Hills Creek Lake, OR; and Lookout Point Lake, OR; and five preconstruction engineering and design efforts – Bolivar Dam, OH, Proctor Lake, TX, Puget Sound, WA, Three Rivers, AR & West Sacramento, CA.

The Investigations account also includes $2.5 million for USACE efforts, in conjunction with state floodplain management authorities, to provide technical and planning assistance to enable local communities to reduce their flood risk, with emphasis on non-structural approaches.  The Budget continues to invest in the development of interagency teams known as Silver Jackets, which work with the states to enable local communities to understand their flood risks and to identify options to help them to manage those risks, with emphasis on non-structural solutions. 

The FY 2021 Construction program as a whole is funded at $2.2 billion in the Budget, including $2.173 billion in the Construction account, $45 million in the MR&T account, and $47 million in the HMTF.  The Budget uses objective, performance-based guidelines to allocate construction program funding toward the highest performing economic, environmental, and public safety investments.

The Budget promotes increased non-Federal participation in the construction of Civil Works projects, to improve project delivery, and to increase cost savings.  It includes $250 million in 

the Construction account for the WRRDA 2014 Section 1043 Non-Federal Construction of Federal Projects program, an innovative program under which the Corps would transfer appropriated funds to non-Federal sponsors who decide to construct a project on their own under Section 1043 of WRRDA 2014, as amended. The Budget also proposes to extend this program’s authorization, which expired on June 10, 2019. The Budget also provides $250 million in the Construction account for the Innovative Funding Partnerships program.  These funds would be used, in conjunction with funds voluntarily provided by non-Federal interests in excess of the non-Federal sponsor’s statutory cost share requirements, to accelerate the completion of construction of specifically authorized projects. 

The construction program includes funding for 12 commercial navigation projects, seven flood risk management projects and four aquatic ecosystem restoration programs.  

The FY 2021 Budget includes $2.397 billion for the study, design, construction, operation and maintenance of inland and coastal navigation projects. 

Seven construction projects are funded to completion in the FY 2021 Budget.  They include four commercial navigation projects – Boston Harbor, MA, Columbia River at the Mouth, OR and WA, Jacksonville Harbor Deepening, FL, and the Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, LA; two dam safety projects – General Edwin Jadwin Dam, PA and Whittier Narrows Dam, CA; and one deficiency correction – Melvin Price Lock and Dam, IL & MO.

Among the construction projects in the FY 2021 Budget, the 10 highest funded projects are:

Whittier Narrows (Dam Safety), CA ($384.9 million); South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, FL ($250 million); Raritan River Basin, Green Brook Sub-Basin, NJ ($157.46 million); American River Common Features, Natomas Basin, CA ($131.5 million); Sault Sainte Marie (New Soo Lock), MI ($123.22 million); Columbia River at the Mouth, OR & WA ($119.003 million); Corpus Christi Ship Channel, TX ($100.366 million); Savannah Harbor Expansion, GA ($93.6 million); Boston Harbor, MA ($68.433 million), and Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, LA ($45.707 million). 

The FY 2021 O&M program as a whole is funded at $1.996 billion in the Budget, including $1.996 billion in the O&M account, $963 million in the HMTF account, and $159 million in the MR&T account.  For O&M, the Budget emphasizes performance of existing projects by focusing on supporting current traffic levels at coastal harbors and inland waterways with the most commercial traffic.  It also emphasizes safety improvements at federal dams and levees based on risk, considering the consequences of the most likely failure modes.

The Flood Risk Management program is funded at $1.2 billion in the FY 2021 Budget.  The program is a collaborative effort that integrates the flood risk management projects, programs, and authorities of USACE with those of other federal agencies, state, regional and local agencies.  It helps to reduce the risk of loss of life and property damage from riverine and coastal flooding, and increase the resilience of local communities through structural and non-structural measures.

The Budget gives priority to coastal harbors and inland waterways with the most commercial traffic.  It also provides for the maintenance of channels at small ports, with emphasis on those that support significant commercial fishing, subsistence, or public transportation benefits.

The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund provides $1,015 million for maintenance work with an emphasis on supporting the transportation of cargo at current levels at the 50 largest U.S. coastal ports, which handle around 90 percent of the waterborne cargo shipped to or from the United States.  Within this amount, $50 million is included for emergency response work following future flood-related major disaster declaration(s) pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act.

The FY 2021 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration program is funded at $350 million in the Budget. This program supports restoring aquatic habitat in significant ecosystems where the aquatic ecosystem structure, function and processes have been degraded.  USACE will continue to work with other federal, state and local agencies, using the best available science and adaptive management to protect and restore these ecosystems.

The FY 2021 Budget funds Recreation at $262 million, including $12 million in the MR&T account.  USACE is one of the nation’s largest providers of federal recreation opportunities, hosting approximately 250 million visits annually at its more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states.

The FY 2021 Regulatory Program is funded at $200 million in the Budget to protect the nation’s waters and wetlands and provide efficiency in permit processing.

The USACE Emergency Management program is funded at $82 million in FY 2021, with $5 million in the O&M account and $77 million in the Flood Control Coastal Emergency account – including $50 million for emergency response work following future flood-related major disaster declarations, pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act; and $27 million for preparedness and training to respond to floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.

The FY 2021 Budget again proposes establishing an annual fee to support infrastructure investment and economic growth by helping finance the users’ share of future capital investment, as well as 10 percent of the operation and maintenance cost, associated with the inland waterways. 

The Budget, as it did for Fiscal 2020, proposes to divest the Washington Aqueduct, which is the wholesale water supply system for Washington, D.C.; Arlington County, Virginia; the City of Falls Church, Virginia; and parts of Fairfax County, Virginia, and is the only local water supply system in the nation owned and operated by USACE.

The Budget also proposes to return responsibility for management of the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) back to the Department of Energy (DOE).  The Army Corps would continue to perform cleanup of FUSRAP sites on a reimbursable basis with DOE.  This proposal would enable DOE to consider a broader range of federal cleanup efforts in prioritizing work each year, thereby increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of Federal cleanup efforts.  For these reasons, no funds are included in the Army's Civil Works Budget for FUSRAP.

Finally, the Budget re-proposes revisions to the appropriations language for the Construction, Operation and Maintenance, and Mississippi River and Tributaries accounts, as well as the Harbor Maintenance and Inland Waterways Trust Funds to enable greater transparency and accountability in how these funds are budgeted and spent. 

The FY 2021 Civil Works budget press book is available on the Web at, under the heading Program Budget: Press Books.

Gene Pawlik

Release no. 20-022