Resource Significance: A New Perspective for Environmental Project Planning
APOGEE RESEARCH INC BETHESDA MD
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One objective of this report is to encourage Corps planners to rethink their approach to the issue of the significance of environmental resources with respect to environmental project planning within the Corps Civil Works Program. Another objective is to summarize the results of a previous study that reviewed and evaluated programs that are currently establishing environmental resource priorities and the methods by which those priorities are being derived. The previous work was conducted as a first step in developing more detailed significance protocols to assist Corps planners in the identification and description of the significance of environmental resources. The Corps of Engineers is accustomed to planning water resources projects which provide outputs that can be valued in terms of dollars. Flood damage reduction and navigation projects are justified by an economic analysis that compares both project benefits e.g., flood damage reduction, recreation and construction and operation costs in monetary terms. Alternative project plans are evaluated based on a discrete decision criterion the maximization of net national economic benefits. Currently, the Corps Civil Works budget guidance also identifies the restoration and protection of environmental resources, including fish and wildlife habitat, as a priority project purpose. In contrast to traditional project outputs, many of the outputs of environmental restoration projects cannot be measured in monetary terms because of inherent analytical problems in measuring environmental outputs and assigning accurate monetary values to environmental resources.
- Water Pollution and Control