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President Releases USACE Civil Works Budget

February 14th, 2011

President Obama released the 2012 Civil Works budget today, which outlines the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ non-military funded programs and projects for next year.

Click here for a state-by-state breakdown of the FY 12 Army Civil Works Budget: http://www.usace.army.mil/cecw/pid/pages/cecwm_progdev.aspx

This budget provides an effective pathway for us to help create jobs, support economic development and global competitiveness, and restore and protect critical and vital aquatic ecosystems. It also reflects the realities of our Nation’s fiscal status. As with other federal agencies across government, this year’s budget is less than in prior years, and it is up to us to ensure that we use the funds with which we are entrusted in the most efficient and effective ways possible…and we will!

The greatest percentage of our resources will be used on projects that provide the highest returns on the Nation’s investment. This includes Dam Safety projects that are in the greatest need of repair — we have 692 dams that we either operate or own — projects that will reduce the risk of loss of life, projects that will mitigate environmental losses and advance a number of our environmental missions, and on-going projects that we can complete or make significant progress on with these funds.

We have 92 construction projects in the FY12 budget. This includes 55 flood and storm damage reduction projects, 19 aquatic ecosystem restoration projects, 16 navigation-related projects, and two hydropower mitigation projects.

About 34 percent of the budget supports the nation’s inland waterways and coastal navigation network, which is particularly important when you consider that nearly $2 trillion worth of trade travels up, down, in, and out of U.S. harbors and waterways. The efficient and effective movement of waterborne cargo is a critical component of the national economy, because it reduces the costs of goods and services for American consumers and supports the global competitiveness. The budget also supports projects and studies for a number of significant aquatic ecosystems, including South Florida and the Everglades.

FY 2012 will be an exciting year in our efforts to provide valuable engineering services to our Nation. We are fully committed to supporting the President’s priorities to secure the homeland, revitalize the economy, and restore and protect the environment. We are proud to serve this great Nation, and we look forward to our continued mission of BUILDING STRONG.

Best,

Van

BUILDING STRONG®

Civil Works, Contingency Operations, Levees, Locks and Dams

One Project at a Time…

September 25th, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about some of the progress we’re making with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (see “The Stimulus“). 
 
As a follow up to that, I wanted to share this newsclip that shows the money is being spent – wisely – and in some unbelievably important ways.
 
We are not just creating jobs, but repairing infrastructure in a nation that the American Society of Civil Engineers scores with a D-. Translation: we need a lot of this kind of work to reduce risk for our families and homes, and to secure our nation.
 
Check it out – click the link below, then scroll down the left side to “Tuttle Creek Dam Project” or search for “Tuttle Creek” in the search function.
 
Click here to see the story.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Corps Projects, Locks and Dams , , ,

A Diamond in the Rough; Celebrating 75 Years

July 28th, 2009

This week, I’m in Nebraska, honoring the 75th anniversary of our district office in Omaha. That’s pretty remarkable – 75 years. That’s the traditional “diamond” anniversary.

Next week, I’ll mark 36 years with my bride, and I sure hope we make it to 75! I remember my 50th birthday, we were getting ready to go out.  I looked in the mirror and  pulled a “Fonzi” (from the Happy Days TV show) – took out my comb and put it away without using it- like my hair looked perfect already.  I turned to her and said, “I just turned 50, do I look it?”

She said, “You used to.” That still cracks me up.

So this anniversary has me thinking about how much things change through the years. The Omaha District was originally established in 1934 as part of what was then known as “Missouri River Division” with a straightforward mission of navigation on the main stem of the Missouri, and nothing else. 

My, have times changed!  Now they do a little bit of everything… dams, levees, flood-fighting, military construction, environmental clean-up… and the list goes on.

Here’s a link to a story about some of the really neat things the Omaha District has done through the years – check it out.

It all boils down to people, though – and Omaha has some GREAT people. Since 2001, more than 100 employees of that small district office have volunteered for service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and elsewhere. That’s America’s Heartland, right there.

People are like diamonds – you find out what they’re really made of when you put them under great pressure. The people who’ve made the Omaha District successful these past 75 years are diamonds in my book with all 4 C’s – my own 4 C’s: Character, commitment, Competency  and Chemistry!

Congrats, Omaha District!

Civil Works, Corps Projects, Locks and Dams, Navigation , , ,

The Pulse and the Mitigation

March 28th, 2008

I wanted to give you a quick update on the Missouri River “pulse” and mitigation actions we are taking to eliminate its effects downstream of Kansas City.

We did initiate the seasonal “pulse” to release additional water from the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River in South Dakota at midnight Tuesday night (March 25). This is something we’re required by law to do so that there is enough water in the upper reaches of the river for the endangered pallid sturgeon to spawn…areas that did not receive the “natural pulse” of recent rains.

I can’t stress enough that we wouldn’t have released this in the first place if we had felt it would negatively impact health and safety. I do understand, however, that many people are worried, and because of that, we worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find an alternative that will alleviate any concerns about flooding downstream.

We are reducing the amount of water we release from five other reservoirs in the Kansas City area that feed into the river system farther down the line. This will eliminate the effect of the pulse below Kansas City completely, and remove any risk to the areas impacted by the recent flooding.

Thank you for your feedback and for keeping us accountable. It is our mission and commitment to protect public health and human safety as we fulfill our responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Civil Works, Corps Projects, Infrastructure, Locks and Dams , , , , ,

Balancing the Nation’s Water Resources

March 25th, 2008

(Originally posted March 25, 2008)

Here at the Corps, we are often faced with many challenges as we serve the Nation. Managing our precious water resources in sustainable ways that serve the needs of both people and nature is one of the biggest of those challenges.

One of the critical balancing acts begins at midnight tonight, March 25, as we initiate a two-day “pulse” of water from the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River in South Dakota, to make sure there is enough water downstream for the endangered pallid sturgeon. This increased water flow is essential to the fish in the upper reaches of the river – an area that has not experienced any of the recent rains, and is experiencing very low water levels right now.

I want to say right up front that we would not be doing this if we felt that there was any risk to the health and safety of the people downstream. Given the forecast models we’re looking at now, the flows resulting from this pulse won’t be anywhere near high river stages. We are closely monitoring the forecasts and runoff and if anything changes, we are prepared to make adjustments. We are releasing this pulse to comply with the Endangered Species Act, and the judgments of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service experts who have determined that this release of water is the best way to replicate the increased water flows that would happen naturally in the spring, if there were no dams on the river. Over the course of the year, the impact of the pulse will reduce the levels in each of the large upper three reservoirs by less than a tenth of a foot.

Also, it’s very important to note that there won’t be any impact to historical and cultural sites along the reservoirs that are significant to the Missouri River Basin Tribes. Finally, I want to reemphasize that we would not initiate the Missouri River pulse if we were aware of any risk to the health and safety of people down river, or if we thought that we would be adding to their current hardships from the flooding.

Our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery go out to all those who have been so terribly affected.

Civil Works, Corps Projects, Environment/Sustainability, Locks and Dams , , , , , , ,