Approval Process

Government-furnished borrow refers to sites where the Corps acquires the necessary real estate interest for a borrow area from the current landowner(s), and then makes the borrow area available to construction contractors for use in their work to build projects. The borrow area is furnished by the government for the construction contractor’s use, which is why the borrow area is referred to as "government furnished." Completion of the required investigations to determine the suitability for a site for use as a source of government-furnished borrow typically requires 8 months. Additional time may be required to complete the process based on site conditions and engineering considerations.

Obtaining Site Access

Prior to any investigation of a site, the Corps obtains the right to enter the property and conduct investigations. Below are the two most common methods used by the Corps to obtain the rights to enter on the property:

  1. The landowner(s) provide the right of entry to the Corps voluntarily by signing a standard form acknowledging that the Corps has been authorized to conduct investigations. The form is signed by the landowner(s) and identifies the property.

  2. The levee district with jurisdiction over the area where the borrow site is located provides a notice to the landowner(s) that it is providing the right of entry to the Corps using its authority under state law to enter and conduct investigations on private property. Landowner(s) is notified by mail by the levee district that the Corps will be entering the property to conduct investigations.
Preliminary Investigation

In order to avoid areas of environmental concern and ensure that the detailed investigations are conducted at locations that are likely to be environmentally acceptable, a preliminary environmental clearance is provided by Corps personnel through a site visit and reconnaissance review of existing data. The Geotechnical Investigation and Environmental Clearances are then conducted concurrently.

Geotechnical Investigation

To determine whether a site contains suitable soils, the Corps conducts a geotechnical investigation to evaluate soil properties and estimate the amount of suitable material, if any, present at a site. These investigations typically are scheduled to be completed within 105 days, but the actual time required may vary with the size of the property being investigated. For additional information regarding the technical requirements for the investigation and identification of suitable borrow material, please see our Soil Boring Factsheet.

Environmental Clearances

To document site conditions, assess potential impacts of borrow pit operations, and avoid impacts to environmental features, the Corps completes an environmental investigation of the site to ensure that the least damaging alternative is identified so that the Corps decision maker can make an informed decision. Environmental Clearances are typically scheduled to be completed within 75 days. The potential borrow site is evaluated for the presence of cultural resources, wetlands, hazardous, toxic and radioactive materials, threatened and endangered species. The proposed Federal action is coordinated with Federal and state agencies to ensure the actions is consistent with the laws governing Coastal Zone Management, Essential fish habitat, water, noise and air quality.

Individual Environmental Report

To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the results of the Environmental Clearances and a description of the proposed federal action are compiled into a draft Individual Environmental Report (IER), which is then made available for public review and comment. IERs are being completed for the hurricane projects in the New Orleans, Louisiana area under an alternative NEPA arrangement implemented in March 2007. For additional information on the alternative arrangements please visit After considering the information in the draft IER and any public comments, the New Orleans District Commander may make a decision to proceed with the proposed Federal action. If a decision is made to proceed with the proposed action the report is finalized, documenting the decision of what the impacts would be if the proposed action is constructed and a plan to address any of the impacts that are unavoidable This process typically requires 60 days. Additional time may be required if public comments result in issuance of a revised report and an additional public comment period.

Real Estate Acquisition

For the government to use a site for government-furnished borrow, the landowner would be compensated for the acquisition of the appropriate real estate right for use of the borrow pit and related operations, such as access roads and stockpiles. The government determines the value of the compensation based on appraisals of fair market valueof the real estate right. An offer is then made to the landowner(s) based on the appraised value. The acquisition of the required real estate right will be accomplished by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or our non-Federal partner(s) in accordance with the authorizing legislation.