With a pen stroke, Pittsburgh District Commander Adam Czekanski set the gears in motion for a $426,000 project in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.
Col. Czekanski traveled to the Indiana County Court House to greenlight a Section 22 Planning Assistance to States (PAS) project. Water Resources Development Act, Section 22 projects, are when the corps partners with federal, state, and local governments or agencies. These partnerships allow the corps to lend engineering expertise, initiate water-related projects, or find solutions for water-related problems.
Section 22-program partnerships also help communities that may not have the financial capacity to kickstart crucial projects.
“They’re cost-shared with the partner at a 50-50 rate,” said Gabriel Stala, economist, Pittsburgh District. “For this project, $213,000 are federal dollars and the other $213,000 are from the partner.”
The Indiana County project involves developing a stormwater management plan to help reduce pollution and contamination during construction projects by controlling runoff. In addition to financially contributing to the project, the district will create models of the watersheds that affect stormwater and develop parts of the plan.
“We're bringing more than $200,000 to the table here in Indiana county to get this stormwater management plan moving, specifically looking at modeling efforts for Two Lick and Black Lick creeks,” said Col. Czekanski.
In 2022, the district has worked with five communities across Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to develop local PAS projects. The federal government has collectively contributed more than $700,000 this year to these projects.
“The biggest takeaway, I think, is that PAS programs allow the Corps of Engineers to bring our technical expertise to help communities address problems they face every day,” said Eric Merriam, plan formulator, Pittsburgh District. “We can address the issues and local challenges they're experiencing through comprehensive planning and technical know-how.”
The district has a diverse project portfolio of all shapes and sizes, some measuring in billions of dollars. Though this project does not carry the same dollar figure that other district projects have, it is still a significant part of the corps’ overall engineering mission because of the people it helps.
“I think the smaller projects are more meaningful because of the impact they have on the communities in which they serve,” said Col. Czekanski. ”We’re looking forward to working together to deliver this project to the Indiana County community.”