Prioritization and Acceleration of Natural and Nature-Based Solutions: Pathways to Phased Implementation of Complex Water Resource Projects

Amy Reed
Date Released
January 2024
ELI Pathways to Phased Implementation Report

The larger and more comprehensive the water resources problem to be tackled, the longer it is likely to take the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study, authorize, and implement a solution. As the long backlog of authorized but not constructed projects continues to grow, project sponsors and advocates are increasingly interested in opportunities to pursue a phased approach to projects. They wonder, are there opportunities to utilize a phased approach to implementing large-scale studies, where uncontested, construction-ready elements such as nature-based features can be implemented first while more complex and controversial elements and alternatives continue to be evaluated?

There are several potential avenues to promote a phased approach for water resource development projects planned and implemented by the Corps pursuant to the agency’s wide-ranging Civil Works authorities and responsibilities. Using examples of past practice, this report is intended to demonstrate to experienced project sponsors, agencies, and stakeholders that several viable pathways exist for advancing a phased, adaptive approach to large-scale project development and implementation.