USACE Project Partnership Agreements: Problematic Provisions for Non-Federal Sponsors

Zoe Vogel
Amy Reed
Date Released
December 2023
USACE PPAs ELI Report Cover

Cost-shared water resource development projects led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers require an agreement in writing between the Corps and the project’s nonfederal sponsor. Such an agreement, known as a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA), is crucial to the successful construction and operation of proposed water resource development projects across the country. The PPA serves as a framework for the nature of the partnership throughout the course of the project’s life. The partners’ ability to enter into and implement these agreements is an important factor in the successful advancement of non-structural, natural, and nature-based solutions through the Corps’ authorities.

This report examines project partnership agreements, their role in the greater context of water resource development projects, and common obstacles the agreements pose for the non-federal partner. We identify particularly challenging provisions included within the model PPAs, the provisions’ legal origins, and their actual and perceived impacts.