As detailed on our Missions page, the Pittsburgh District provides expertise to help the region and the nation meet water resources development, environmental and other engineering needs. The process for developing Civil Works projects begins when citizens see a need for flood protection, navigation or other water-related infrastructure and asks for help. Congress directs the Corps of Engineers through authorizations, allowing the Pittsburgh District to offers many programs for helping communities, counties, tribes, and other non-federal governments solve water resource problems.
Most projects require local sponsor cost-sharing. These projects are built with a combination of federal funds and contributions by non-federal sponsors, with the contribution differing by project type. Sponsors can also receive in-kind credit for Generally, the local non-federal sponsor operates and maintains the completed project.
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.
Congress has provided the USACE with a number of standing authorities to study and build water resource projects for various purposes and with specified limits on how much federal money can be spent for a project. The Continuing Authorities Program (also called CAP) is a collection of these authorities established to allow for expedited project development and approval, resulting in a decrease in the amount of time it takes to get smaller, less complex projects constructed. Each of these authorities carries with it pre-approved authority for construction without the need for additional congressional authority, provided the recommended project falls within the parameters of the specific program.