Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Water Resources Development Act of 1986
Water Resources Development Act of 1986 [33 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.; P.L. 99-662,
November 17, 1986; 100 Stat. 4082. (Most of the provisions in this Act are
codified at 33 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.) Additional chapter citations include 42
U.S.C. 1962; 23 U.S.C. 104; 16 U.S.C. 688aa; 48 U.S.C. 1662; 26 U.S.C. 9505; 43
U.S.C. 390b; and 16 U.S.C. 3501.]
This Act authorizes for construction and/or study 270 Corps of Engineers
projects (port development, inland navigation, flood control, streambank
erosion, and shoreline erosion, as well as feasibility and reconnaissance
studies). It also deauthorizes 290 projects and provides for deauthorization of
other projects if funds have not been obligated for construction, including
planning and design, within 5 years of this statute's enactment.
The total cost of the Act is $16.5 billion. The cost of authorized fish and
wildlife mitigation/enhancement features is in excess of $500 million, including
acquisition of approximately 585,000 acres of habitat, primarily wetlands.
This Act contains provisions covering all features of water resources
development and planning, including cost-sharing by Federal and non-Federal
interests, as well as environmental assessment and mitigation requirements.
Provisions of national interest to the Service include:
- The Corps is directed, in consultation with the Service and with the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to study the feasibility of
using its capabilities for fish and wildlife conservation, such as habitat
creation and improvement, for indigenous species [section 704].
- Mitigation features must be implemented concurrently with construction of
other project features [section 906].
- For previously authorized and constructed projects, mitigation features
costing up to $7.5 million or 10 percent of the cost of each project may be
implemented without further specific reports to Congress, and up to $30
million may be budgeted for that purpose each year [section 906(b)].
- Fish and wildlife mitigation construction as well as operation and
maintenance costs will be cost shared at the same rate as the project purpose
causing the loss [section 906(c)].
- All projects submitted by the Corps in the future must include either
specific mitigation plans or determinations that such projects will have
negligible impacts on fish and wildlife [section 906(d)].
- Bottomland hardwoods must be mitigated in-kind, to the extent possible
- The cost of fish and wildlife enhancement features will be 100 percent
Federal for species of national significance, such as migratory birds,
endangered species, and anadromous fish, and for activities on National
Wildlife Refuges. The first costs as well as operation and maintenance costs
for enhancement features for other species will be 75 percent Federal [section
- An Environmental Protection and Mitigation Fund of $35 million is created
to facilitate implementation of authorized mitigation features in advance of
project construction, when necessary [section 908].
- Most river basin studies are reauthorized for appropriations to complete
comprehensive plans of development (Principles and Standards "Level B"
studies) [section 909].
- An Office of Environmental Policy is established under the Corps of
Engineers, with responsibilities to include guidance on and monitoring of
Corps coordination with other Federal agencies [section 924].
- Specific authority is provided for acquisition of project lands for
recreational purposes [section 926].
- The Secretary of Agriculture is directed to study the feasibility of
making available for public use impoundments funded by the Soil Conservation
Service under P.L. 83-566 [section 930].
- The Corps was authorized to review the need for modifications of existing
projects for the purpose of providing measures to improve environmental
quality, and was directed to report to Congress within 2 years on the results
of demonstration projects carried out under an authorization not to exceed $25
million [section 1135].
Other provisions of regional or project-specific interest to the Service
- The Atchafalaya Basin enhancement project authorized as nationally
significant (100 percent Federal cost) at a first cost of $223 million,
involving approximately 315,000 acres of easement and 50,000 acres of fee
title acquisition [section 601 and see also section 906(f)].
- Fish and wildlife resources associated with the Mississippi Delta Region
project are considered national for the purpose of enhancement [section
- Acceptance of funds from any entity is authorized in accordance with the
Pacific Northwest Power Act for the purpose of mitigating, protecting, and
enhancing fish and wildlife at projects constructed by the Corps [section
- The Upper Mississippi River Management Act provides authority for
multi-year appropriations totaling more than $175 million to implement
environmental studies described in the master plan [section 1103].
- The Corps is authorized to develop and implement wetland creation,
restoration, protection, and enhancement features in conjunction with
authorized projects in the lower Mississippi River valley [section 1155].
- The uncompleted portion of the Cross Florida Barge Canal was deauthorized
and reauthorized as a National Conservation Area. A comprehensive management
plan was to be developed within 1 year, in consultation with the Service and
the State [section 1114].
- Specific fish and wildlife mitigation projects authorized include [section
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, Alabama/Mississippi -- 88,000 acres at
a cost of $60.2 million.
Missouri River Mitigation, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska --
$51.9 million (29,900 acres).
Yazoo Backwater Area, Mississippi -- 40,000 acres; $17.7 million.
Cooper Lake and Channels, Texas -- $14.8 million (28,000 acres).
Red River Waterway, Louisiana -- $9.4 million (14,000 acres).
White River Navigation to Batesville, Arkansas -- 1,865 acres (no
cost estimate included).
Sacramento River Bank Protection, California -- $1.4 million.
Port Canaveral Harbor, Florida -- $276,000.
Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake, Georgia and South Carolina -- $20.2
Davenport, Iowa (Nahant Marsh) -- $517,000.
Obion Creek, Kentucky -- 6,000 to 9,000 acres; $4.9 million.
Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir, Missouri -- no more than 1,000
acres; $2.1 million.
Trimble Wildlife Area, Smithville Lake, Missouri -- $1.57 million.
Trinity River, Texas -- $10.4 million (10,000 acres).
- In addition, many of the project construction authorizations contain
language addressing specific fish and wildlife problems, such as:
Duluth-Superior Navigation Project, Minnesota and Wisconsin [section
Locks and Dams 7 and 8 Replacement, Monongahela River, Pennsylvania
Yakima-Union Gap Flood Control Project, Washington [section 401];
Souris River Basin (Lake Darling), North Dakota [section 1124].
In discussing section 406 of this Act on the floor of the Senate, Chairman
"Until now, mitigation for land turned over to water development projects
came about on a hit-or-miss basis . . . For the first time, mitigation will have
to go forward with the project requiring the mitigation, not afterward. This
bill requires that the Corps develop mitigation plans for each and every
project, or tell the American people why such work is not justified. . . In
addition, this section establishes a new continuing authority, funded at $30
million a year. This authority will allow the Corps to go back and repair the
fish and wildlife damage that its existing projects have produced."
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