PITTSBURGH –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, reports that the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget includes $225.5 million in new federal funding for the district’s civil works program.
This is part of the $4.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Army Corps civil works program worldwide. The proposed funding will help improve the reliability of the region’s inland waterways navigation system, enhance the environment, and reduce the risk of flooding in the Upper Ohio River Valley. Additionally, Pittsburgh District reservoirs joined the Corps’ regional system of dams and levees to help preserve water quality and quantity during the drought-like conditions last year.
The FY16 budget provides $25.7 million for operation and maintenance of these 16 reservoirs. The reservoirs provide additional flows that improve downstream water quality and ensure adequate depths for commercial river navigation. More than five million people visit the district’s lakes each year for recreation.
Also included in the budget is $70.1 million in operations and maintenance funds to provide reliable navigation on the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. This includes $49 million for the Ohio River navigation system; $15.9 million for the Monongahela River and $5.3 million for the Allegheny. The use of the area’s three rivers to transport bulk commodities significantly reduces pollution and the wear and tear on roadways. Nearly 44,500 loaded barges carrying more than 67 million tons of material passed through district locks and kept the equivalent of 2.6 million semi-trucks off the region’s roads.
The President’s budget includes $52 million for the Lower Monongahela River Project, where the Corps continues the construction of new locks at Charleroi Locks and Dam.
The East Branch Clarion River Lake Dam Safety Project in Elk County, Pa. is slated to receive $59 million. The Corps lowered water levels at East Branch in 2008 when it was confirmed there was high risk for internal erosion of the dam. The FY16 budget will be used to permanently address seepage-related concerns at the dam. The work, which is expected to begin this year, includes construction of a 2,100-foot long, 260-foot deep concrete cutoff wall within the existing earthen dam.
The FY16 budget also includes $18 million for the Shallow Land Disposal Area in Armstrong County, Pa., for the continued clean up of radiological waste materials at the site.
A list of projects and proposed funds is available at the Army Corps of Engineers’ web site at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Budget.aspx, under the heading Program Budget: Press Books.
Pittsburgh District’s 26,000 square miles include portions of western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Maryland and southwestern New York. Our jurisdiction includes more than 328 miles of navigable waterways, 23 navigation locks and dams, 16 multi-purpose reservoirs, 42 local flood protection projects and other projects to protect and enhance the nation’s water resources, infrastructure and environment.
The district’s additional missions include water supply, emergency response, and regulation of the Clean Water Act. The Corps often partners with local communities to improve water supply, sanitary sewer and storm water infrastructure. During disasters, the district manages the nation’s emergency power contract which provides temporary power to downed critical infrastructure. District personnel deploy overseas to help build, manage and administer water resource infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.
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