The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works environmental program has two major focus areas: protection & restoration, and stewardship. Efforts in both areas are guided by the Corps environmental operating principles, which help us balance economic and environmental concerns.
The Corps protection & restoration program reflects the lessons we've learned as a society in recent years about the importance of re-establishing the natural functions of our nation's rivers, lakes, wetlands and coasts. Restoration projects range in size from very small to very large. An example of the latter is the key role the Corps is playing in implementing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which is the largest environmental restoration project ever undertaken. The plan focuses on recovering critical ecological features of the original Everglades, including restoring natural water flows. Over time implementation of the plan is expected to help restore habitats that house many rare, endangered and threatened species; improve the water quality of several related lakes and estuaries; and ultimately create a healthy, sustainable ecosystem in south Florida. The project also will improve water supplies and provide flood protection for area residents.
The Corps stewardship program focuses on the ongoing care and protection of the 12 million acres of rivers, lakes and wetlands for which we are directly responsible. The twin goals of our stewardship efforts are to help maintain healthy ecosystems and to ensure the availability of these natural resources for future generations. Stewardship also increases the benefits that the American people derive from these natural resources. Wisely managed lands and waters contribute to the purity of our air and water, to the fertility of our soil, and to the natural control of flooding along our rivers and streams. Stewardship reduces siltation in our reservoirs, maintaining their water storage for hydropower, navigation, and water supply. It also contributes to the variety and abundance of our fish and wildlife, and to the attractiveness of our lands and waters.
In recent years the Corps has adopted a watershed approach to environmental concerns that emphasizes integrated, collaborative, regional approaches to problems. This approach is reflected in both the protection & restoration and stewardship programs.