The mission of SRP is to improve the health and life of rivers by changing water infrastructure operations to restore and protect ecosystems, while maintaining or enhancing other project benefits.
SRP began in 1998 with an initial collaboration to improve the ecological condition of Green River, Kentucky. The Program was formally established in 2002, involved 8 river systems, and focused on reservoir management. SRP is done in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and numerous other Federal, state, and nongovernmental entities.
The founding objective of SRP is implementation of environmental flows, which are defined as the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain ecosystems. As of 2019, SRP involved work on 66 Corps reservoirs in 16 river systems and 5,083 river miles. SRP is now the largest scale and most comprehensive program for implementing environmental flows at Corps reservoirs. Today, environmental flows remain a key focus of the Program.
The Program recently began exploring other water infrastructure-oriented actions with potential to produce environmental benefits. Specifically, the Program is pursuing the following strategic directions: 1) expand geographically with a focus on multi-purpose reservoirs and environmental flows; 2) broaden the types of environmental actions being used to achieve sustainable management of water and ecosystems at multi-purpose reservoirs; and 3) adapt SRP methods to other infrastructure types including locks and dams, dry dams, and other structures.