Regional Planning & Environment Division, South

Quality Controls & Administration

The Quality Control & Administration Branch focuses on schedule management, resource management, risk management, district quality control (DQC), reviews, and administration of an annual project execution and operating budget. The branch oversees the management of all aspects of the RPEDS program. This includes ensuring funding, workload analysis and forecasting, supplies, travel arrangements, training, and hiring are all accomplished so the other branches can focus on executing technical work.  This branch also manages the integration of resources, risks, schedule, and budget to successfully execute an annual operating budget of $18 million.

Plan Formulation Branch

The Plan Formulation Branch identifies problems and opportunities, inventories and forecasts resources, formulates alternative plans, evaluates plan effects, compares effects of alternative plans and selects the best plan. Plan formulation is the art of creating plans to address objectives and constraints and is an integral part of the six-step planning process.

The RPEDS Plan Formulation Branch includes the Watershed Studies Section, Flood Risk Management Studies Section and the Ecosystem Restoration Studies Section.

Economics Branch

The Economics Branch includes a total of 16 economists and has experience in conducting many large-scale economic studies in the following areas:

•           Flood Risk Management (including Nonstructural Evaluations)

•           Coastal Storm Risk Management

•           Dam and Levee Safety/Consequence Analysis

•           Ecosystem Restoration

•           Inland and Deep Draft Navigation

Our Economics Branch has been nationally recognized by performing analyses for other districts outside of the Mississippi Valley Division, including the areas of:

•           Norfolk,

•           New York,

•           Galveston (Coastal Texas),

•           Los Angeles,

•           Hawaii,

•           Anchorage.

Conducts investigations into the economic feasibility of flood protection projects, improvements to the navigation infrastructure, and environmental restoration and preservation proposals, including the social impacts associated with project construction. The Economics Branch also includes the Navigation Section, Flood Risk Management Coastal Section, and the Flood Risk Management Riverine Section.

Environmental Planning Branch

The Environmental Planning Branch conducts investigations to determine environmental impacts and benefits associated with flood control, navigation and environmental restoration investigations and projects.

Through environmental planning, we strive to do the following: achieve environmental sustainability, recognize the interdependence of life and the physical environment, seek balance and synergy among human development and natural systems, accept corporate responsibility and accountability under the law, seek ways and means to assess and mitigate cumulative impacts, build and share an integrated knowledge base, respect the views of others.

This branch is responsible for environmental reviews related to early stage planning for civil works infrastructure projects related to flood control and storm water damage reduction and ongoing environmental reviews through construction. Environmental reviews are performed in compliance with major environmental statutes, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Marine Mammals Protection Act, and others. Given the diverse natural and human environment resources that have to be considered in our reviews, we must have a multi-discipline team that are technical experts in terrestrial and aquatic biology, fishery biology, ecology, cultural resources, historic architecture, air and water quality, aesthetics, recreation, environmental justice, and community and public involvement. Staff regularly coordinate or consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Offices, Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, federally-recognized Native American tribes, U.S. Forest Service, and numerous other federal and state agencies in the three USACE Districts that we serve. The RPEDS Environmental Planning Branch includes a Cultural & Social Resources Section and Environmental Studies Section.

The Environmental Studies Section is normally the lead for our environmental reviews and will coordinate and consult with various aforementioned agencies, non-government organizations, and the interested public. This work typically involves collecting information on various natural resources’ existing conditions, analysis of impacts to resources, biological assessments for threatened and endangered species and determining requirements for any monitoring and mitigation, all of which is captured in our environmental assessments and environmental impact statements. Other related work may include mitigation, monitoring and adaptive management plans. The Cultural & Social Resources Section is responsible for all historic preservation, cultural resources, and other social effects like environmental justice associated with human environment resources. According to the extent of the project and USACE districts that might be involved, consultation can occur with up to eight State Historic Preservation Offices and 22 federally-recognized Native American tribes. The program of work will often involve the preparation of either a memorandum of agreement or programmatic agreement in defining how historic properties will be considered during the planning phase, identified prior to construction, treated during construction, and mitigated for impacts or curated as needed.

Environmental Compliance Branch 

The Environmental Compliance Branch ensures that the USACE construction and maintenance projects are compliant with all applicable environmental statutes, regulations, and policies. The branch has extensive experience and expertise related to the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammals Protection Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and various other environmental laws. The branch specializes in preparation of NEPA documents (environmental impact statements and environmental assessments), Section 404(b)(1) evaluation reports, ESA biological assessments, and stormwater management plans; coastal zone consistency determinations; hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste assessments; endangered/threatened species surveys and consultation; habitat assessments and impact evaluations; and mitigation planning and monitoring. 

The Environmental Compliance Branch includes a team of scientific divers experienced in qualitative and quantitative freshwater mussel surveys and aquatic habitat investigations. The dive team has conducted surveys in large and small rivers and various aquatic habitats throughout the country. The dive team can work in a variety of environmental conditions, including cold weather or degraded aquatic environments. The dive team is versed in the USACE Safety and Health Requirements Manual, EM 385-1-1, and has completed and maintained proficiency in the following: Corps Working Diver certification program, Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries, Advanced Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries, On-site Neurological Assessment for Divers Course, and Adult AED/CPR. Although the team is primarily focused on scientific diving missions, they occasionally perform small construction or repair dives and have experience in performing dive inspections for contractor diving operations. The dive team can offer a quick response time and can shepherd a project from “cradle to the grave.” The Environmental Compliance Branch includes the Coastal Compliance Section located in New Orleans, Lower Delta Compliance Section located in Vicksburg, and Upper Delta Compliance Section located in Memphis.