The General Investigation Program, known as the G.I. Program, establishes a process by which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) can help a community solve large, complex water resource problems. Studies under the G.I. Program are authorized by Congress. They address flood risk management, navigation, water supply, recreation, and other needs and opportunities. Through these studies, alternative plans are compared, and favorable and unfavorable characteristics are determined. Costs and benefits are identified, and a specific course of action is recommended to Congress. Congress may then authorize and fund a project for construction. There is no designated limit to the scale, extent, or cost of development that can be proposed as a result of a General Investigations study.
Under the General Investigation Program, the USACE would jointly conduct a study and, if shown by the study to be feasible, construct a project. This approach requires that Congress provide the USACE first with authority to accomplish a feasibility study and second, to construct a project. Local sponsors share the study and construction costs with the USACE, and usually pay for all operation and maintenance costs.