HR8-115
Water Resources Development Act of 2018

To provide for improvements to the rivers and harbors of the United States, to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, and for other purposes.

House of Representatives
Introduced on May 18, 2018
Roll Number 238
Passed 408-2 on June 6, 2018

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/8

Summary:
Water Resources Development Act of 2018 TITLE I--GENERAL PROVISIONS (Sec. 102) This bill amends the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 to direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to identify potential opportunities for the beneficial use of dredged materials obtained from harbors and inland harbors. (Sec. 103) The bill reauthorizes through FY2023 the Levee Safety Initiative under WRDA 1986 and the dam inspection program under the National Dam Safety Program Act. (Sec. 105) The bill increases funding limits for the rehabilitation of Corps of Engineers constructed dams. (Sec. 106) The Corps of Engineers shall report to Congress on the results of the forecast-informed reservoir operations research study pilot program at Coyote Valley Dam, Russian River Basin, California, no later than one year after completion of the study pilot program.(Sec. 107) The Corps of Engineers shall develop a list of its existing unpowered dams that have the greatest potential for hydropower development. (Sec. 108) The bill authorizes the use of an emergency fund to repair or restore a federally authorized hurricane or shore protective structure or project damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster to the pre-storm level of protection, instead of the design level of protection, if the pre-storm level of protection provides greater protection. (Sec. 109) The Corps of Engineers, in carrying out a water resources development feasibility study, shall consult with local governments to determine if local water management plans exist or are under development. (Sec. 110) The Corps of Engineers shall issue guidance on the use of mitigation banks to meet requirements for water resources development projects in order to update mitigation bank credit release schedules to: (1) support the goal of achieving efficient permitting and maintaining appropriate environmental protections, and (2) promote increased transparency in the use of mitigation banks. (Sec. 112) WRDA 2000 is amended to specify that assistance for Indian tribes displaced as a result of construction of the Bonneville Dam, Oregon may be in the form of housing and related improvements. The Corps of Engineers may provide assistance to tribes that have been displaced as a result of the construction of the John Day Dam, Columbia River, Washington and Oregon. The Corps of Engineers must complete a village development plan for tribes displaced as a result of the construction of the Dalles Dam, Columbia River, Washington and Oregon. (Sec. 113) The Corps of Engineers shall develop, support, and implement education and awareness efforts for nonfederal interests with respect to the annual Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development required under WRDA 2014. (Sec. 114) Prior to developing and issuing implementation guidance for certain water resources development laws, the Corps of Engineers shall issue a public notice that: (1) informs potentially interested nonfederal stakeholders of its intent to develop and issue such guidance, and (2) provides an opportunity for interested nonfederal stakeholders to engage with, and provide input and recommendations to, the Corps of Engineers. When developing implementation guidance for a covered water resources development law, the Corps of Engineers shall take into consideration the input and recommendations received from nonfederal stakeholders. (Sec. 115) WRDA 1986 is amended to require Interior to include in its comprehensive backlog report a list of major federal operation and maintenance needs for projects and properties under the control of the Corps of Engineers. For FY2019 and biennially thereafter, in conjunction with the President's annual budget submission to Congress, Interior shall submit information on the backlog and operation and maintenance needs to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. (Sec. 116) The prohibition on taking possession of, use of, or injury to harbor or river improvements does not apply to unimproved real estate owned or operated by the Corps of Engineers as part of a water resources development project if the Corps determines that modification of such real estate would not affect the function and usefulness of the project. (Sec. 117) The bill establishes a deadline for Interior to contract with the National Academy of Public Administration to study the efficiency of the Corps of Engineers current staff salaries and administrative expense procedures. (Sec. 118) The bill provides for a study on: (1) the ability of the Corps of Engineers to carry out its statutory missions and responsibilities, and (2) improving the Corps of Engineers' project delivery processes. (Sec. 119) The bill amends WRDA 2007 to authorize Interior to provide credit for work on a project carried out by a nonfederal interest during the period beginning on November 8, 2007, and ending on the date of this bill's enactment if Interior determines that the work is integral to the project and lawfully conducted. (Sec. 120) The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 is amended to extend through FY2023 and expand the Non-Federal Implementation Pilot Program. (Sec. 121) WRDA 1986 is amended to revise provisions regarding the study of water resources development projects by nonfederal interests. (Sec. 122) A nonfederal interest constructing a water resources development project under an agreement that requires the interest to comply with the same legal and technical requirements that would apply if the project were carried out by Interior shall not be required to obtain federal permits or approvals that would not be required if Interior carried out the project unless significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns or compliance have arisen since development of the project recommendation. (Sec. 123) The Corps of Engineers may cooperate with a regional coalition of governmental entities in the preparation of comprehensive plans for development, utilization, and conservation of water and related resources. (Sec. 124) Whenever a state offers advance funds for a federally authorized water resources development project, the Corps of Engineers may receive the funds and expend them on the project. The Corps of Engineers shall repay the funds without interest. (Sec. 125) WRDA 2000 is amended to make permanent the authority of a public-utility company, natural gas company, or railroad carrier to pay to expedite a project permit. By the end of 2022, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shall carry out a follow-up study of the implementation of this authority by Interior. (Sec. 126) The Corps of Engineers must contract the National Academy of Sciences to study the economic principles and analytical methodologies used by or applied to the Corps to formulate, evaluate, and budget for water resources development projects. The study must make recommendations on potential changes to such principles and methodologies to improve transparency, return on federal investment, cost savings, and prioritization. (Sec. 127) The GAO shall submit to Congress a study of corrosion management efforts at projects and properties under the control of the Corps of Engineers. (Sec. 128) The Flood Control Act of 1946 is amended to provide that if specified funding for flood control is insufficient to cover the federal cost share for a project, the nonfederal interest shall be responsible for remaining costs. (Sec. 129) The Corps of Engineers must report on its activities relating to the testing, research, development, identification, and recommended uses for innovative materials in water resources development projects. (Sec. 130) The GAO shall submit a report to Congress: describing the capacity and preparedness of the Corps of Engineers workforce; providing recommendations to improve the capacity and preparedness of the Corps of Engineers workforce; containing an assessment of the existing technology used by the Corps of Engineers, the effects of inefficiencies in the Corps' current technology usage, and recommendations for improved technology or tools to accomplish its missions and responsibilities; and describing how changes to the navigation industry workforce with which the Corps of Engineers collaborates may affect safety and operations within the navigation industry. (Sec. 131) The GAO shall report on: (1) the consideration by the Corps of Engineers of natural features and nature-based features in feasibility studies of projects for flood risk management, hurricane and storm damage reduction, and ecosystem restoration; and (2) efforts to relocate Alaska Native villages due to flooding and erosion threats. (Sec. 133) The Corps of Engineers must report on the best options available to implement the waiver process for the nonfederal cost share for certain projects in Alaska for storm damage prevention and reduction, coastal erosion, and ice and glacial damage. (Sec. 134) The River and Harbor Act of 1960 is amended to increase funding limits for small river and harbor improvement projects. (Sec. 135) The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 is amended to revise provisions regarding Interior providing credit in lieu of reimbursement to a nonfederal interest for the federal cost share of certain projects. (Sec. 136) The Corps of Engineers shall expedite completion of the Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule to coincide with the completion of the Herbert Hoover Dike project in Florida. (Sec. 137) The Corps of Engineers shall report on the impacts of construction on the Missouri River intended to increase the population of endangered pallid sturgeon on the authorized purposes of the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System and on the sturgeon population. Additional such construction on the river is prohibited until the report is submitted. (Sec. 138) Interior must publish information on real property in which the Corps of Engineers holds an interest. (Sec. 139) The Corps of Engineers shall: (1) undertake research on the management and eradication of aquatic invasive species, including Asian carp and zebra mussels; (2) implement a five-year harmful algal bloom technology development demonstration under the Aquatic Nuisance Research Program; and (3) enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency to facilitate ecosystem restoration activities at the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River (commonly known as Bubbly Creek). (Sec. 142) WRDA 1990 is amended to include activities related to the operation and maintenance of navigation (currently, limited to hydroelectric power generating) facilities at Corps of Engineers water resources projects among inherently governmental functions. (Sec. 143) WRDA 1976 is amended to provide that the 15 additional years that Interior may extend beach nourishment at the request of a nonfederal interest begins upon initiation of construction of congressionally authorized nourishment. (Sec. 144) The bill amends the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 to require that post-disaster watershed assessments, for certain major disasters declared in U.S. territories, be conducted at full federal expense unless the President determines that the territory has the ability to pay its share of the cost of an assessment without the use of nonfederal funds or loans. (Sec. 145) The Corps of Engineers shall report on the structure and operations plan for the Old River control structure in Louisiana authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1954. (Sec. 146) The Corps of Engineers may carry out a pilot program to award dredging contracts with a duration of up to five years for the operation and maintenance of harbors and inland harbors if the Corps determines that the contract provides cost savings compared to the awarding of such work on an annual basis. (Sec. 147) In carrying out a disposition study for a project of the Corps of Engineers, the Corps shall consider modifications that would improve the overall quality of the environment in the public interest, including removal of the project. (Sec. 149) The Corps of Engineers shall make efforts: (1) to address disproportionate and adverse health or environmental effects of the Corps' activities on a community of color, low-income community, rural community, or a tribal and indigenous community; (2) to provide guidance and technical assistance to such communities to increase understanding of the Corps' project planning and management activities, regulations, and policies; (3) to promote the meaningful involvement of communities of color in the Corps' project development and implementation, enforcement efforts, and other activities; and (4) to cooperate with state, tribal, and local governments with respect to these activities. (Sec. 150) The Corps of Engineers shall prioritize the operation and maintenance of existing infrastructure, improve its reliability, and, as necessary, improve its resilience to cyber-related threats. (Sec. 151) WRDA 2000 is amended to specify additional circumstances under which Interior may provide credit toward the nonfederal cost share for work performed in connection with a study, preconstruction engineering and design, or construction necessary for implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. The bill authorizes credit if: (1) the credit is provided for work carried out before the date of the partnership agreement between Interior and the nonfederal sponsor; or (2) the credit is provided for work carried out by the nonfederal sponsor in the implementation of an authorized project implementation report, as defined in an agreement. (Sec. 153) The Corps of Engineers may: (1) consider recreational boat traffic levels and related economic benefits in making funding determinations with respect to the operation and maintenance of locks on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania, and (2) provide assistance to municipalities with a water supply that is adversely affected by construction carried out by the Corps. (Sec. 155) The Corps of Engineers shall submit to Congress a report on the potential opportunity for integrating noise abatement and noise mitigation technologies and practices into improvements and operations in harbors and inland harbors. (Sec. 156) In requiring or acquiring an interest in land, the Corps of Engineers shall prefer the minimum interest in real property necessary to support a project or action. In determining the proper interest in land, the Corps shall first consider a temporary easement estate or other interest designed to reduce the overall cost, reduce the time, and minimize conflict with property owners related to such action or project. (Sec. 158) The Corps of Engineers may carry out emergency repair or restoration work that does not produce benefits greater than cost if: (1) the nonfederal sponsor agrees to pay an amount sufficient to make the remaining costs of the project equal to the estimated value of the benefits, (2) the Corps determines the damage to the structure was not the result of negligent operation and maintenance, and (3) repair of the project could benefit other Corps project missions. (Sec. 159) The GAO shall submit to Congress a study on the compliance of projects and properties constructed or renovated by the Corps of Engineers with stormwater runoff requirements. (Sec. 161) The Corps of Engineers shall expedite dredged material management plans initiated in or after FY2018 in order that studies make maximum use of existing information, studies, and innovative dredged material management practices, and avoid any redundant information collection and studies. (Sec. 162) WRDA 2007 is amended to provide that, with respect to the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Dispersal Barriers Project, Illinois, the operation and maintenance of a project authorized to be carried out pursuant to the feasibility study shall be carried out at 80% federal expense and 20% nonfederal expense.(Sec. 164) The Corps of Engineers shall carry out expeditiously projects already authorized to reduce the risk of future floods and hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Sec. 165) Any project or facility of the Corps of Engineers studied for disposition for which a final report by the Directorate of Civil Works has been completed shall, to the maximum extent practicable, be included in the future work plan of the Corps. (Sec. 166) After any flood event requiring operation or activation of any floodway or backwater feature within the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project through natural overtopping of a federal levee or artificial crevassing of a federal levee to relieve pressure on the levees elsewhere in the system, the Corps of Engineers shall expeditiously reset and restore the damaged floodway's levees. (Sec. 167) For each project classified as class III (high priority, conditionally unsafe) under the Dam Safety Action Classification of the Corps of Engineers for which the Corps has assumed responsibility for maintenance, the Corps shall assess the anticipated effects of the Corps continuing to be responsible for the maintenance of the project for 15 years or ceasing responsibility for maintenance, including the benefits or costs to the state and local community. (Sec. 168) This bill authorizes the Corps of Engineers to receive and expend funds from an owner of a nonfederal reservoir to formulate, review, or revise reservoir operational documents. The reservoir must have been constructed at least in part with federal funds provided for the use of storage for flood risk management or navigation. (Sec. 169) The bill increases the limit on funding for small projects under the storm and hurricane restoration and impact minimization program. TITLE II--STUDIES (Sec. 201) The Corps of Engineers may conduct feasibility studies for specified projects nationwide. (Sec. 202) The Corps of Engineers may carry out studies to determine the feasibility of habitat restoration for each of the eight reaches identified as priorities in the report titled "Lower Mississippi River Resource Assessment; Final Assessment In Response to Section 402 of WRDA 2000" and dated July 2015. The Corps may carry out studies to determine the feasibility of a project for ecosystem restoration and flood risk management in specified areas of Illinois and Missouri. (Sec. 203) The Corps of Engineers shall: (1) expedite specified studies and reports, including feasibility studies for projects nationwide which may proceed directly to preconstruction planning, engineering, and design if the Corps determines that the project is justified in a completed report; (2) by the end of 2019, expedite and complete the dredging of Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts; (3) complete a final feasibility report for the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study Brandon Road Study by the original deadline of February 2019; and (4) expeditiously carry out flood and storm damage reduction studies to reduce the risk of damage from future floods and hurricanes in the Houston and Coastal Texas areas.TITLE III--DEAUTHORIZATIONS, MODIFICATIONS, AND RELATED PROVISIONS (Sec. 301) The Corps of Engineers must develop an interim deauthorization list that identifies: (1) each water resources development project, or separable element of a project, authorized for construction before November 8, 2007, for which planning, design, or construction was not initiated, or for which planning, design, or construction was initiated but for which no funds were obligated for planning, design, or construction during the current fiscal year or any of the six preceding fiscal years; (2) each project or separable element identified and included on a list to Congress for deauthorization pursuant to WRDA 1986; and (3) any project or separable element for which the nonfederal sponsor submits a request for inclusion on the deauthorization list. The Corps shall prepare a proposed final deauthorization list of projects and separable elements of projects that have, in the aggregate, an estimated federal cost to complete that is at least $3.15 billion. After 180 days, items on the final deauthorization list are deauthorized unless Congress passes a joint resolution disapproving the list. (Sec. 302) A water resources development project, or separable element of such a project, authorized for construction by this bill shall not be authorized after 10 years unless: (1) funds have been obligated for construction or a post-authorization study, or (2) the authorization contained in this bill has been modified by a subsequent Act of Congress. (Sec. 304) The bill deauthorizes a portion of the project for navigation, Milwaukee Harbor, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, consisting of the navigation channel within the Menomonee River that extends from the 16th Street Bridge upstream to the upper limit of the authorized navigation channel. (Sec. 305) This bill deauthorizes the portion of a dredging project for navigation at Bridgeport Harbor, Connecticut, that is upstream of the Congress Street Bridge on the Pequonnock River, thereby allowing the bridge to be replaced with a fixed (not movable) bridge. (Sec. 306) The Corps of Engineers may make specified conveyances to Cheatham County, Tennessee, and to the city of Nashville. (Sec. 307) The bill deauthorizes the portions of the project for raising and improving existing levees of Clatsop County Diking District No. 13, in Clatsop County, Oregon, referred to as Christensen No. 1 Dike No. 42 and Christensen No. 2 Levee No. 43. (Sec. 308) The Corps of Engineers shall submit a report on the total estimated value of in-kind contributions made by the nonfederal interest with respect to specified actions, as described in the final report of the Directorate of Civil Works on the Central and Southern Florida Project, Kissimmee River Restoration Project, dated April 27, 2018. (Sec. 309) This bill deauthorizes a portion of the channel improvement project, Lytle and Cajon Creeks, that was authorized as part of the Santa Ana River, California, project. (Sec. 310) The project for flood damage reduction, Yuba River Basin, California, authorized by WRDA 1999 is modified to allow a nonfederal interest to construct a new levee to connect the existing levee with high ground. (Sec. 311) Portions of a project for navigation, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, are no longer authorized. (Sec. 312) Projects and separable elements of projects identified in the FY2017 report submitted to Congress on December 15, 2016, shall not be deauthorized unless such projects and separable elements meet specified requirements of WRDA 2016. (Sec. 313) The bill amends WRDA 2000 to increase funding limits for Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration. (Sec. 314) The Corps of Engineers shall convey specified parcels of real property to the city of Bainbridge, Georgia.(Sec. 315) The Corps of Engineers shall expedite completion of a project for flood risk management, Cedar River, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Sec. 316) The Corps of Engineers may repair or replace any bridge it owns and operates that is: (1) located in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont; and (2) necessary for evacuation during an extreme weather event.(Sec. 317) Upon conveyance by the Port of Whitman County to the United States of specified land owned by the Port of Whitman County, Washington, the Corps of Engineers shall convey to the Port of Whitman County all interest of the United States in and to federal land situated in Whitman County, Washington, contained within Tract D of Little Goose Lock and Dam. (Sec. 318) In carrying out the project for navigation, Hampton Harbor, New Hampshire, under the River and Harbor Act of 1960, the Corps of Engineers shall use existing authorities to mitigate severe shoaling. (Sec. 319) The Corps of Engineers shall expedite the project for navigation for Portsmouth Harbor and the Piscataqua River authorized by the River and Harbor Act of 1962. TITLE IV--WATER RESOURCES INFRASTRUCTURE (Sec. 401) The bill authorizes specified projects in Texas, New York, Hawaii, Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky, including projects for navigation, flood risk management, and hurricane and storm damage risk reduction.
NAM Position:YES

Vote on H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018, introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR). H.R. 8 upholds the two-year legislative authorization cycle to ensure certainty for manufacturers who rely on the movement of goods through ports and inland waterways. It authorizes Army Corps of Engineers civil works projects, as well as studies to initiate such projects. Additionally, H.R. 8 builds upon current regulatory improvements within the Army Corps to improve and accelerate project delivery.The bipartisan WRDA bill will help manufacturers continue to efficiently move goods by ensuring reliable federal investments in these critical pieces of our nation’s supply chain.