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The Civil Works program of the Corps of Engineers is a principal segment of Federal water-resources development. It is authorized by the Congress for accomplishment under the direction of the Secretary of the Army and the supervision of the Chief of Engineers, and includes improvement works for navigation, flood control, and protection against beach erosion. There also are comprehensive multiple-purpose projects for development of river basins in the combined interests of navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power, irrigation, major drainage, industrial and municipal water supply, recreation, pollution abatement, conservation of fish and wildlife and other benefits.

Scope of the program. Navigation improvements at coastal and Great Lakes harbors generally involve the dredging of channels and anchorages, and frequently the protection of entrances by jetties and the creation of protected areas by breakwaters. Rivers are improved for navigation by clearing and snagging, dredging, construction of regulating works, and canalization by locks and dams. Flood control is accomplished by improving the channels of streams to increase carrying capacity, by creation of diversion channels, by construction of reservoirs for storage or detention of Alood flows, and by levee and floodwall construction for protection of areas subject to damage. Projects for beach erosion control entail principally restoration of damaged areas by artificial placement of sandfill and construction of seawalls, groins, and similar structures to prevent further damage and induce beach replenishment.

Beginning with a $75,000 appropriation in 1824 for snagging and channel clearing in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the program has grown over the 130 intervening years to a present scope of over 3,000 projects, including work in each of the 48 States, the District of Columbia, the territories and overseas possessions. In the development of the present program, the Congress has specified the areas to be investigated, prescribed the procedure to be followed, delineated policies and limits of Federal participation, individually authorized the projects and assigned to the Secretary


of the Army and the Chief of Engineers the responsibility for the engineering and economic planning, constructing, and administering the works and functions involved therein.

Status of the program. The Civil Works program grew in accordance with congressional authorizations until as of 30 June 1954 it included improvements completed, under construction, and not started, with a total estimated cost of $18.1 billion. Although the Federal activity in providing navigation improvements dates back for more than a century, the major growth of the Civil Works program has occurred since 1928, when Congress adopted the project for flood control and navigation in the Alluvial Valley of the Mississippi, and since 1936 when Federal participation in flood control on a nationwide basis was first authorized by Congress.

This total program included certain projects which, because of changes in economic and physical conditions since authorization, were no longer required and had been classed as inactive, as well as other projects which required further study for determination of their status at the time. Projects in these two categories had a total estimated cost of $3.6 billion, leaving an active program with a total estimated cost of $14.5 billion. Since this program is subject to continuing review, the total cost involved will change from year to year.

Appropriations by Congress through 30 June 1954 for construction of these improvements, including $325.6 million for fiscal year 1954, totaled about $6.5 billion, leaving a balance of $8 billion of appropriations required as of that date to complete the active program. This requirement included completion of work underway as well as projects not started.

The backlog of active authorized work consists of those projects for which there is current need and justification, such as the flood-control work needed to protect areas where there is danger to life or possibility of heavy economic loss, navigation improvements required by a rapidly expanding economy, and hydroelectric power developments related to flood control and navigation improvements. Other projects in the backlog which have a lower priority or require reexamination could be utilized as projects for relief of unemployment in the event of changed economic conditions. Most of the projects in both categories will require further detailed planning before they can be placed under construction. At the present time such planning is undertaken with funds specifically appropriated for that purpose by the Congress, prior to appropriation of construction funds.

Organization. The Civil Works mission of the Corps of Engineers is accomplished through a highly decentralized organization consistent with the wide geographic spread of authorized activities. "his organization is comprised of 11 divisions which are subdivided into 41 districts completely covering the continental United States, Territories and overseas possessions. Boundaries between divisions and districts are selected so as to place, to the extent practicable, a river basin or appropriate coastal area within a single division and district, although in major basins this delineation is not always feasible.

The divisions and districts are administered by officers of the Corps of Engineers directing the work of some 25,000 civilians, exclusive of contractors' personnel, engaged in the planning, supervision of construction and operation of civil works. These field offices, together with certain additional division and district offices, also handle the military construction programs of the Army and the major portion of the Air Force program.



The Civil Works Program of the Corps of Engineers comprising navigation, flood control and multiple purpose projects, and various related activities, was diligently prosecuted during the fiscal year. Notable progress was made in carrying out project construction and placing additional works in useful operation. Construction was initiated on 9 new projects and on new features at 4 Mississippi River flood-control projects. Also, construction operations were carried out on 79 additional projects. Twenty-seven projects including features at 6 Mississippi River flood-control projects and at 12 multiple-purpose projects were placed in effective operation. A summary of project construction and operations progress by classes follows.


The present program for rivers and harbors as specifically authorized by the Congress includes projects located throughout the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and the Hawaiian Islands. These projects are of various types; deepdraft harbors accommodating ocean-going vessels, shallow-draft channels for general small-boat navigation, inland waterways for commercial barge navigation, and the Great Lakes harbors and connecting waterways. With respect to the latter, the Buffalo

Table 1. Navigation Improvements Placed in Useful Operation During Fiscal Year 1954


Date started

Date placed

in useful operation


of project

Baltimore Harbor, Md.

1947.. March 1954. Dredging. Gowanus Creek Channel, N. Y.- March 1954. April 1954. Dredging. Intracoastal Waterway, Jack- 1951.. November 1953. Dredging.

sonville to Miami, Fla. Monongahela River, Pa

November 1953. Reconstruction of

lock 2. Northeast Harbor, Maine.- May 1954. June 1954... Dredging. Pearl River, La. and Miss - 1938.. November 1953.) Dredging and

construction of locks and dams


In the fiscal year work was initiated on the following five navigation projects:

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the ject ion.

Gowanus Creek Channel, N. Y.- March 1954. -- April 1954. Dredging.
Green River, Ky.
May 1954. 1957..

Reconstruction of

locks 1 and 2.
Humboldt Harbor and Bay, Calif. August 1953. - 1955... Dredging.
Norfolk Harbor (Craney Island January 1954. 1957.

Disposal Area), Va.
Northeast Harbor, Maine... May 1954..-- June 1954.--- Dredging.

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The 12 navigation projects having major construction activity under way at the close of the fiscal year, exclusive of 3 new starts listed in the preceding table, are shown in the following table:


Table 3. Major Navigation Improvements Under Construction 30 June 1954

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Arkansas River and tributaries, 1950 Indefinite.-- Bank stabilization,

Black Warrior, Warrior, and Tom- 1949 1955.

Construction of Demobigbee Rivers, Ala.

polis lock and dam. Canaveral Harbor, Fla.

1950 Indefinite.-- Construction. Cleveland Harbor, Ohio

1950 1958, Replace bridges and

dredging. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (Gal- 1942 Indefinite.-- Dredging and construcveston District), Tex.

tion. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (New | 1942 Indefinite..- Construction and dredgOrleans District), La.

ing. Mississippi River between Missouri 1952 1957.

Reconstruction of lock River and Minneapolis, Minn.

19. Mississippi River between Missouri 1948 Indefinite.. - Construction of channel River and Minneapolis, Minn.

extension above St.

Anthony Falls.
Missouri River, Kansas City to 1912 | Indefinite.-- Bank stabilization,

Mouth, Mo.
Missouri River, Kansas City to Sioux 1928 Indefinite..- Bank stabilization.

City, lowa.
New York and New Jersey Channels,

1933 Indefinite.-- Dredging.
X. J.
Schuylkill River above Fairmount 1952 1955.

Dam, Pa.

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