The mission of USACE is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation for planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects for navigation, flood control, environmental protection and disaster response as well as providing engineering support for the armed forces and federal agencies. Its workforce includes biologists, engineers, geologists, hydrologists, natural resource managers and other professionals. Through its centers of expertise, USACE provides environmental consulting services to federal, state, local and private entities. In granting or denying permits to developers, the USACE strives to prevent environmental damage. Evaluating public interest, regulatory experts balance the need of economic development with environmental considerations. USACE forms numerous partnerships with other agencies, state and federal governments, environmental groups and private citizens to help solve ecological problems. Some of its programs that relate to the 2006-2010 NPS Management Program Update include:
Wetlands and Waterways Regulation and Permitting. Passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 greatly broadened this role by giving USACE authority over dredging and filling in the waters of the United States, including many wetlands. A major aspect of the regulatory program is determining which areas qualify for protection as wetlands. In reaching these decisions, the USACE uses its 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual. Working toward a national goal of no net loss of wetlands, the Civil Works program is undertaking projects to restore existing wetlands or to create new ones.
Ecosystem Restoration. Since passage of the NEPA of 1969, environmental protection has been an important component of the civil works planning process. Legislation passed in 1990 established environmental protection as one of the primary missions of water resources projects--along with navigation and flood control. Over the last ten years, small ecosystem restoration projects have grown increasingly popular throughout the country. This new direction has allowed USACE to expand its traditional environmental activities and enhance or restore natural resources as part of USACE projects.
Environmental Stewardship. The Army Corps of Engineers carries out environmental and natural resource management programs at its projects, managing forest and wildlife habitat, monitoring water quality at its dams and operating fish hatcheries in cooperation with the AGFC.