US Army Corps of Engineers
New Orleans District

Civil Works Authorization Process

The Corps' work nationally and worldwide can be divided into two broad categories: military construction and civil works planning. New Orleans District's work falls under the civil works program and typically deals with long-term, large-scale projects for navigation and flood control construction and operations. The following steps explain how a civil works project is developed.

Problem Experienced

Civil works projects typically begin when a local community experiences water resource problems such as flooding, erosion, and navigation restriction, and seeks federal assistance.

Corps Contacted

Local officials then contact the Corps about available federal programs. Some small projects can be accomplished without Congressional authorization. If authorization is needed, however, the local officials ask their congressional delegation to support a study of the problem.

Reconnaissance Study Conducted 

If congressional authorization is received, the Corps conducts a 12-18 month reconnaissance study that defines the problem and suggests possible solutions. If the study determines that project costs are justified, the Corps offers to share the cost of a more detailed feasibility study with the local community.

Feasibility Study Conducted 

If the community agrees to the cost-sharing plan, the Corps proceeds with the feasibility study, which culminates in a detailed report that shows various ways of addressing the problem. The project report and recommendations are sent through the appropriate channels, public comment is solicited, and a revised report is submitted to Congress for authorization.

Project Authorization

The Corps' involvement continues once Congress authorizes the project and appropriates funds for further planning, design and construction.