As LRC has worked to identify funding sources to help modernize the local levee system, we discovered that the best pathway to secure federal funding for levee improvements is through Congressional designation of a US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New Start Feasibility Study.
The USACE Feasibility Study is a formal three-year process used to determine if there is federal interest in investing in an infrastructure system, identify the problem areas, and develop solutions to address them. If federal interest is identified, the process culminates with a report to Congress with accompanying funding requests to complete the projects in the report.
After advocating for several years, a local study was designated by Congress in mid-2018. The funding for this study came from a special appropriation package for the Corps to work specifically on flood and storm damage reduction projects. Because of this special appropriation, the study is 100% federally funded and does not require any local match. It also means the Corps must focus exclusively on issues related to flood safety in their study. Although the allotted funding will go directly to the Corps, their investigation and modeling will greatly benefit our local efforts, and their recommendations may result in some federal funding for the repairs needed to our local levee system. We are working closely with the Corps throughout the process to contribute to their recommendations, integrate local priorities, and fully maximize the opportunity.
Although we hope this process will culminate in federal re-investment in our system, we do not expect that it will be enough to complete all the work that is needed to recertify and modernize the system. For this reason, we will continue to run our own local process alongside the Corps’ study to integrate our previous efforts and goals into the feasibility study and so we can begin to plan the projects that will need to be addressed at the local level. This is, however, an important opportunity to bring federal funds and expertise to the table to help make the necessary repairs and improvements to our levees. Without this opportunity, all the necessary repairs and improvements would need to be paid for by Oregonians.
To learn more about the US Army Corps Feasibility Study process, please visit the document library to the right. If you’d like more information on the study or to contact the Corps directly go to their website.
We will continue to share information related to study on our website, through social media, and via email.