Planning Assistance to Tribes and States - Overview

Under the authority provided by Section 22 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1974, the Corps of Engineers can provide states, local governments, other non-Federal entities and eligible Native American Indian tribes assistance in the preparation of comprehensive plans for the development, utilization and conservation of water and related land resources. Typical studies are only planning level detail and do not include detailed design for project construction.

The program can encompass many types of studies dealing with water resources issues. Types of studies conducted in recent years under the program include the following: water supply/demand, water conservation, water quality, environmental or conservation, wetlands evaluation and/or restoration, dam safety and/or failure, flood damage reduction, coastal zone protection and harbor planning.

There are two types of efforts available through the PAS program as described below.

Assistance to a state or a partner working with the state in development of comprehensive plans include planning for the development, utilization and conservation of the water and related resources of drainage basins, watersheds or ecosystems located within the boundaries of that state, including plans to comprehensively address water resources challenges such as the state water plan. These plans can extend across state boundaries provided both states agree. 

Comprehensive planning activities through the PAS program are cost shared at 50 percent with the non-federal sponsor. Voluntarily contributed funds in excess of the cost share may be provided by the non-federal sponsor. The non-federal cost share for preparation of a state comprehensive water resources plan may be provided by funds or through the provision of services, materials, supplies or other in-kind services.  For federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories, local cost-sharing requirements are waived up to $484,000 (2019, adjusted annually for inflation). This typically means that for large projects, the federal government would pay 100% of the project costs up to $484,000; and the Tribe or U.S. territory would cost-share any amounts greater than $484,000.

Limitations: Implementation of the comprehensive plans is the responsibility of the state, Tribe, or territory. Furthermore, Planning Assistance to States studies cannot include detailed design for project construction.

Technical assistance provided through the PAS program includes support of planning efforts related to the management of state water resources. This includes the provision and integration of hydrologic, economic, or environmental data and analysis in support of the state’s water resources management and related land resources development plans identified in the state water plan or other water resources management related state planning documents. Examples are state hazard mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery plans and plans associated with changing hydrologic conditions, climate change, long-term sustainability and resilience.  

Technical assistance activities through the PAS program are cost shared 50 percent with the non-federal sponsor, and voluntarily contributed funds in excess of cost share may be provided by the non-federal sponsor. The cost-share for technical assistance must be provided by funds, not in-kind services.

Limitations: Technical Assistance under the Planning Assistance to States program may not include the preparation of site-specific designs or construction.

Study Process.  The process begins after a state, regional, local government or Native American Indian tribe requests Corps of Engineers assistance under the program. The Corps of Engineers will work with the requesting organization to develop a scope of work and assemble the appropriate study team for the effort being requested. A scope of work will need to be developed, and a cost sharing letter agreement will be prepared and sent to the sponsor for their signature. Once both parties have signed the agreement, the study may begin, subject to the availability of both Federal and local funding.

How to Request Assistance.  Requests for assistance should be in the form of a letter that includes the location and nature of the problem to be investigated. The request should be submitted by a state, local government agency, or eligible Native American Indian tribe to the Deputy District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, 332 Minnesota St., Suite, E1500, St. Paul, MN 55101. For more information, contact the PAS Program Manager at 651-290-5002 or (include PAS in the subject line).


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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Programs and Project
Management Division

332 Minnesota St., Suite E1500
St. Paul, MN 55101-1678
(651) 290-5002

Examples of past studies and activities include:

  • Watershed planning
  • Flood risk management
  • Surface and groundwater quality
  • Environmental Conservation and Restoration Studies
  • Water supply and demand
  • Wetland delineations
  • Stream assessments
  • GIS mapping