The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works mission is varied and wide-ranging. Its multi-purpose projects provide benefits for navigation, flood risk management, hydropower production, fish and wildlife, environmental stewardship, recreation, irrigation and municipal water supply. The North Atlantic Division manages an annual civil works program of roughly $650 million, executed by its five stateside district offices in all or parts of 14 states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.
The Corps’ navigation responsibilities are planning and constructing navigation channels, locks and dams, and dredging to maintain channel depths in U.S. harbors and inland waterways. In partnership with local port authorities, Corps personnel oversee dredging and construction projects at dozens of ports and harbors in the Northeast. Five of the nation’s top ports are located in North Atlantic Division — Boston and Portland harbors, the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Philadelphia, Baltimore Harbor, and Norfolk Harbor (Hampton Roads). Roughly 35 percent of U.S. waterborne tonnage is handled through ports in the division’s area.
Flood Risk Management
Reducing risk and preventing flood-related damages can be accomplished by several means — through structural measures, such as reservoirs, levees, channels, and floodwalls that modify the characteristics of floods; or with non-structural measures, such as flood plain evacuation, floodproofing, and floodway acquisitions that alter the way people use these areas and reduce the susceptibility of human activities to flood risk. North Atlantic Division operates 54 dams, 63 miles of levees, and 22 storm and hurricane barriers. The annual damages prevented by the division’s projects average about $754 million.
As the largest operator of hydroelectric power plants in the United States, and one of the largest in the world, Corps’ hydropower plants provide 100 billion kilowatt-hours annually, enough power to serve more than 10 million households. The 75 hydropower plants installed at Corps dams and reservoirs produce one-fourth of the nation's hydroelectric power.
Because of hydropower’s significant advantages over other energy sources —clean, efficient, reliable, and renewable — it plays an increasingly important role in meeting the Nation's energy needs. North Atlantic Division does not have any current hydropower projects.
With the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969, the Corps integrated environmental concerns into our day-to-day business. In 1990, Congress authorized the Corps to undertake environmental restoration, for the benefit of fish and wildlife habitat improvements, as a new mission area. We pride ourselves on being good stewards of the environment. In the planning of new projects, we address environmental issues from the outset of every study and carry these forward through design and construction and into project operation and maintenance. Similarly, environmental issues are addressed in the design and construction of military and support-for-others projects. Through the Corps' ecosystem restoration program, our multi-disciplinary team provides a comprehensive approach for addressing the problems associated with disturbed and degraded ecological resources. The Corps team works with states, local governments, and other federal and regional entities to find solutions to water and related land resource problems. Together we examine the condition of existing ecosystems to determine ways to restore them through techniques such as wetland creation and restoration, streambank stabilization, and reclamation and treatment of abandoned mine lands producing acid mine drainage.
The Corps is one of the federal government’s largest providers of outdoor recreational opportunities. It operates more than 5,000 recreational sites at its lakes and projects in 43 states, logging more than 260 million visits per year. State and local park authorities and private interests operate nearly another 2,000 recreation areas on Corps lands. Hundreds of educational and volunteer programs help visitors appreciate the need for conscientious environmental stewardship of the 12 million acres under our control. In 2019, the North Atlantic Division saw nearly 10 million visits to its projects, including seven lakes, 2,477 campsites, and 763 miles of trails. In 2019, almost $350 million was spent by visitors within 30 miles of the division’s projects.
The mission of the Corps’ regulatory program is to protect the Nation's waters for current and future generations, while allowing for reasonable economic development. Regulatory efforts protect a wide variety of aquatic resources, including wetlands, rivers, streams, tidal waters, coral reefs, shellfish beds, and the oceans. Our permit process is designed to minimize environmental impacts of construction and dredging activities in U.S. waters and to ensure that such efforts are thoughtful and coordinated. In 2020, the North Atlantic Division’s regulatory program issued more than 7,500 permit decisions, as well as 2,300 jurisdictional determinations.