Planning plays a vital role in supporting the Corps of Engineers Civil Works water resources development mission. Through planning activities, including feasibility studies, Continuing Authorities Program studies, watershed studies, comprehensive/large scale studies, general reevaluation studies, validation studies and other post-authorization change studies - and more, Corps planners help decision-makers identify water resources problems, conceive solutions to them, and compare the importance of the inevitable conflicting values inherent in any solution.
Those skills are critical to SRP, which uses an “advance, implement, and incorporate” process for developing environmental flow objectives and other related operational measures and actions at Corps projects to provide ecological restoration. That process relies heavily on the participation of Corps water management, natural resource management and environmental specialist staff, as well as regional ecologists, biologists, and other scientists and representatives of various water resources stakeholder groups. Water resource planners have been instrumental at several SRP sites in helping bring those various disciplines together to formulate and evaluate environmental flow alternatives.
In most cases, environmental actions advanced by SRP can be implemented within existing project authorities. However, in some cases, SRP efforts identify potential actions and measures that would require additional evaluation and possibly authorization and appropriation of funds to enable implementation. In those situations, water resource planners are well-positioned to take the lead in conducting further study.