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United States Regulations

Title 33: Navigation and Navigable Waters



Authority: Pub. L. 89–72, Federal Water Project Recreation Act, 79 Stat. 213 et seq.

Source: 43 FR 14014, April 4, 1978, unless otherwise noted.

§ 279.1 Purpose.
This regulation provides policy and guidance for establishing resource use objectives for all Civil Works water resource projects during Phase I/Phase II post-authorization studies and reevaluation of completed projects.

§ 279.2 Applicability.
This regulation is applicable to all OCE elements and all field operating agencies having Civil Works responsibilities.

§ 279.3 References.
(a) Pub. L. 89–72, “Federal Water Project Recreation Act,” July 9, 1965 (79 Stat. 213 et seq.).

(b) ER 1105–2–200, Multiobjective Planning Framework (33 CFR part 290).

§ 279.4 Definitions.
For the purposes of this regulation:

(a) Resource use objectives are clearly written statements, specific to a given project, which specify the attainable options for resource use as determined from study and analysis of resource capabilities and public needs (opportunities and problems).

(b) Natural resources are those elements, features, conditions, etc., of land and water that can be characterized as physiographic, biological and/or aesthetic.

(c) Public benefits are the tangible and intangible gains to society directly attributable to a water resource project that satisfy the expressed or observed needs of the public (i.e., individuals, groups, organizations and local, county, state and federal governmental agencies).

(d) Boundary plans are Division/District wide maps clearly delineating the limits of each regional recreation market area for one or more Civil Works water resource projects.

§ 279.5 Policy.
(a) It is the policy of the Chief of Engineers that all water resource projects administered by the Corps will have established a set of resource use objectives. These objectives will be based upon the expressed preferences of the residents of the region served (social option) and will be in keeping with the capabilities of the natural and man-made resources of the specific project (resource option). A regional analysis is required to tailor each project to serve expressed preferences within its resource capabilities and consistent with Federal laws and administrative cost-sharing policy. Preparation of regional studies and establishment of these objectives will utilize an interdisciplinary team with leadership by planning, and participation from engineering, design, real estate, and operations elements. Each project will emphasize those specific resource use objectives determined, through public participation, to achieve the greatest overall public benefit. Subsequent aspects of planning, development, and management for the specific project will be directed to achieving the approved resource use objectives.

(b) The implementation of this policy requires that the public be fully involved in the regional studies and development of resource use objectives and management plans for each specific water resource project, including at least one public meeting. The establishment of resource use objective may be addressed at a general public meeting held for the project if adequate discussion can be achieved. If not, the district engineer should conduct a separate meeting for this purpose.

§ 279.6 Overview of objective setting process.
The process of determining resource use objectives flows through three overlapping steps and considers three main sets of data. Figure 1 presents an overview of this process.

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§ 279.7 Information collection and preliminary analysis.
(a) Data search. This effort consists of collecting existing data and accomplishing the minimum additional studies necessary to obtain the information required to generate and analyze the likely options. State and local agency input should be sought during this phase. The initial work will be to determine separately the options for resource use and public needs. A preliminary analysis comparing the two parts and their relationship to authorized project purposes and administrative constraints should be conducted prior to further public and agency input.

(b) Project resources. The natural and man-made resources of the project area are to be identified and the inter-relationships analyzed to generate the options that are most viable to the overall region. The environmental information and analysis, among other things, should define and describe the physical limitations of the project, aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, game and non-game wildlife species and distribution, fisheries, terrain, soils, minerals, climate, capacity and sensitivity of these resources to public use, archaeological and historical resources, management techniques, and ecosystem interactions.

(c) Social needs and benefits. The problems, opportunities, and desires of the people of the region to be served by the project must be identified in order to determine options that are in the best overall public interest. The basic approach for determining public needs and benefits is through a market analysis and a public involvement program. In considering options, the analysis as a minimum should include the indentification of the various publics served, views of other agencies and organizations, existing and planned recreational facilities in the market area of the consumer, the population base and distribution, institutional analysis of potential cost-sharing partners, constraints, the transportation network, the needs identified by local, State and Federal agencies, and the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

§ 279.8 Synthesis and analysis.
(a) Option, synthesis and analysis. The project resources and market area information should be aggregated and analyzed to determine what trade-offs can be made among the possible options to establish objectives that can meet the highest and best use of the natural and man-made resources, efficiently meet the needs of the public to be served, and be of lasting value to the region and the nation as a whole. The options determined in the first step should be synthesized to combine the separate elements. Compatible options in the two parts would result in rational resource use objectives. Conflicting options require trade-off analysis to determine to what extent compromise can be made, or if any compromise is possible to achieve acceptable objectives. In both cases the impacts, beneficial and adverse, of implementing the compatible or compromise objective(s) should be stated. For example, the preservation of wildlife habitat could limit the development of high intensity recreational facilities in a physically suitable area, resulting in a lower attainment of tangible recreation benefits. However, preservation of the existing habitat would produce intangible benefits to society by enhancing a species otherwise likely to be lost to the area.

(b) Diversity of opportunities. In regions where there are a number of Corps projects, this analysis must consider the larger regional context of interrelationships which will result in a diversity of opportunities available and emphasize the particular qualities of each project. For example, one project may emphasize swimming, another project weekend camping and power boating, while still another project may provide fishing and passive recreation use such as hiking trails, nature, and ecological study areas.

(c) Constraints. In addition to constraints imposed by the authorizing legislation, other project purposes and resource capabilities, the resource use objectives must be consistent and compatible with State and Regional planning activities and programs. As an example, Corps management actions to achieve resource use objectives must be compatible with the State approved Best Management Practices (BMP) for waste treatment (and non-point sources of pollution) as prescribed by section 208, Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (Pub. L. 92–500), as amended.

§ 279.9 Objective rationale.
(a) Statement of objectives. The last step in this process is the summarization of the preceding work by clearly stating the objective(s) and providing the rationale, impact, and basic management measures for their accomplishment. The logic, trade-offs, and judgments made in the process should be presented in a concise and readable manner. The impacts, both beneficial and adverse, that will result from attaining objectives selected must be presented. General implementation measures (e.g., campground development, use of fish attractors, limiting use in environmentally sensitive areas, lake fluctuation control, etc.) should be stated as a guide for the preparation of detailed development plans and management actions to achieve the objectives.

(b) Purpose of objectives. The resource use objectives for each project will guide the design, development and management of the resource base to obtain the greatest possible benefit through meeting the needs of the public and to protect and enhance environmental quality. The resource use objectives should be reflected in reports and plans relating to a study or restudy of water resource projects. Management actions on existing projects, including leasing and licensing, will also be directed towards the attainment of the approved resource use objectives.

§ 279.10 Implementation.
(a) Resource use objectives through development and management programs will be incorporated into Phase I, and Phase II General Design Memoranda and Master Plans for authorized and completed water resource projects (report requirements depend on AE&D status of project). The establishment of resource use objectives for projects formulated under the part 290 of this chapter planning process should not require a great deal of additional effort to bring them in compliance with this regulation. However, more effort may be required for completed projects with existing use patterns and constructed facilities.

(b) Regional studies are prerequisite to effective project planning for establishment of resource use objectives. Division engineers are responsible for issuing criteria and instructions, for use by district engineers, on establishing regional boundaries, conduct of regional studies and content and format of report requirements. As a minimum, one criteria to consider is that a regional boundary could be formed by double the estimated distance from the centroids of population located within the market area of any operating project. Regional boundaries need not be restricted either to States or to District hydrologic boundaries. In those cases where a region may cross District boundaries, division engineers will establish administrative responsibility. District engineers are responsible for preparation of districtwide regional boundary plans, scheduling of study efforts, and report preparation. Boundary plans, study schedules and reports shall be submitted for approval in accordance with instructions issued by the division engineer. Four copies of the approved regional boundary plan and regional study report will be furnished to HQDA (DAEN-CWP-P), WASH DC 20314 for comment, in accordance with procedures given in ER 1110–2–1150. Investigations and report preparation for regional studies may be accomplished with funds from Operation and Maintenance General appropriations programmed for preparation of individual project Master Plans. Through implementation of the regional analysis approach, it is expected that an overall savings in individual Master Plan preparation can be realized. In any event, it is not expected that the overall program cost will increase.

(c) District engineers will incorporate the establishment of resource use objectives into the on-going Master Plan preparation process. Those Master Plans currently being prepared or updated and not substantially completed should be modified to reflect this policy. Those projects with high quality resources and/or conflicts between use and current resource management should be given a high priority so that redirection of facility development and management programs can be implemented as soon as possible.

§ 279.11 Responsibilities.
Division engineers will review the Districts Master Plan priority schedule and monitor regional studies and Master Plan preparation to insure timely compliance on development of resource use objectives. Future budget submissions and expenditures of construction and operation and maintenance funds will be reviewed by division engineers as to their relationship to the approved resource use objectives and management implementation. Questions and requests for technical assistance concerning implementation of the concept and guidance set forth in this regulation may be directed to HQDA (DAEN-CWP-P) WASH DC 20314 or DAEN-CWO-R.

Appendix A to Part 279—Sample Resource Use Objectives
This appendix presents some example resource use objectives that might be derived for a water resource project. They are presented for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to represent any specific project or the full range of objectives that could be developed.

The following sample resource use objectives reflect what could result from a detailed analysis and evaluation of the resources on the project, the resources and opportunity in the general region, and the needs of the public. Each objective has a brief discussion on why that particular objective would be selected.

Resource use objective: To provide high quality swimming opportunity with a variety of high density day-use which include picnicking, beaches, play fields, tot lots, open space, walks, and non-power boating.

(Discussion) The analysis of regional and site specific factors indicates that this project with its small water surface and excellent water quality is not suitable for power boating; is in a suburban area with housing developments already adjacent to the project boundaries or presently planned; the natural resources have already been extensively disturbed; the soil conditions would be susceptive to extensive landscaping and could withstand high levels of public use; the water quality and waterland form characteristics are ideal for swimming and wading; there is currently a deficiency in available lake swimming, open space and day use activity facilities in the going market area; and there exists a non-Federal government agency to assist in carrying out this objective.

Resource use objective: To establish and maintain a high quality warm water fishery which would support an initial use of 70,000 fishermen recreation days.

(Discussion) The analysis of pertinent factors indicates that there exists a high demand for warm water fishing; that the water quality and other necessary environmental factors are present which would support a warm water fishery; that modified reservoir clearing, water level management and provision for fish shelters would provide necessary inputs for improved fish production; that some zoning on boat usage in certain embayments will decrease the conflicts between fishing and boating; and that current state fishery programs will provide assistance and the necessary technical advice.

Resource use objective: To establish an ecological study area at Wakulla Wash for the protection and study of its unique vegetative associations.

(Discussion) The analysis of pertinent factors indicates that high intensity recreation use demand can be satisfied at other areas on the project; the soil in the wash would be highly susceptible to erosion if the vegetation were removed; soil compaction would cause loss of ground cover; trails can be designed to avoid drainage and erosion problems; unique associations of vegetation exist in the wash; the nearest vehicle access point is one mile from the site; during public meetings local environmental groups have expressed an interest to preserve the area for educational purposes; there is a large population base within two hours drive of the project; two local universities have volunteered to administer the area in conjunction with their environmental course work and related work; and the County is zoning the adjacent land to protect the watershed of the Wash.

Resource use objective: To provide overnight use to accommodate transient cross-county travelers.

(Discussion) The analysis of regional and site factors indicate that this project with its small water surface and lack of scenic qualities does not experience much local use. A heavily traveled Interstate Highway with an interchange is within a quarter mile of the project boundary. The location of this project is such that it is within a days travel from major recreation areas; the soil conditions are suitable for high density public use and there is a deficiency of transient camping along this portion of the Interstate.

Resource use objective: To provide a high quality diversified recreation opportunity that would satisfy requirements for destination or vacation type activities.

(Discussion) The analysis of regional and site factors indicate that this project with its outstanding scenic qualities and its location, is suitable for destination or vacation type recreation activities. Private interest have expressed desires to provide sophisticated lodging and camping facilities together with other recreation development to provide for a diversity of recreation activities.

Resource use objective: To establish a cultural interpretive area for the protection, study and viewing of its unique archeological (historical) resource.

(Discussion) The analysis of pertinent factors indicates that high intensity recreation use demand can be satisfied at other areas on the project. The archeological (historical) site is one of the few sites that has not been destroyed over the years. The local archeological (historical) society has expressed an interest during public meeting in preserving and interpreting the site as part of their society program.