Q. What is the Continuing Authorities Program?
A. The Continuing Authorities Program provides the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District with the authority to solve water resource, flood risk mitigation and environmental restoration problems in partnership with local sponsors without the need to obtain specific congressional authorization for each project. This decreases the amount of time required to budget, develop and approve a potential project for construction.
Under the CAP, the Corps is authorized to construct small projects within specific federal funding limits. The total cost of a project (including studies, design and construction) is shared between the federal government and non-federal sponsor.
A local project sponsor must be a municipality or a legally constituted public body empowered under state laws to give assurances and be financially capable of fulfilling all measures of local cooperation.
Q. Which types of projects are considered in the CAP? What are the federal funding limits and construction cost shares? (see attached chart).
Q. Who is responsible for administering this program?
A. The CAP is administered by the USACE Galveston District. A federal limit on each CAP authority is established annually in the president’s budget and is distributed to the Corps on project priorities and fund availability. If funded, the CAP program manager will notify the sponsor so a feasibility phase can begin.
Q. How can my county, city or community participate in this program?
A. Residents should contact local officials in their area in order to submit a brief description of the problem; the authority(ies) based on projects type(s) sought; willingness to cost share (should that be required); and contact information. Submit the request containing all the items listed above to:
Continuing Authorities Program Manager
USACE Galveston District
P.O. Box 1229
Galveston, TX 77553-1229
Q. How long does it take to find out if a project was approved to participate in the CAP?
A. Once a letter is received, the CAP manager will contact the sponsor and arrange a site visit and assist with vetting the correct authority for the proposed project. The program manager will request a new start within 2-3 weeks after the site visit (if feasible) and enter the project into the CAP. Since new CAP projects are generally funded at the beginning of a fiscal year, each submitted request is subject to immediately available funds if the authority under which it falls has access to available funding. New CAP project approval may vary from 1-18 months, subject to the availability of funds for actual starts.
Q. How much does it cost to participate in the CAP?
A. Feasibility Phase: This phase is initially federally funded up to $50,000. Funds are used to make Federal Interest Determination (FID). Any remaining feasibility phase costs will be shared 50/50 with the non-federal sponsor pursuant to the terms of a CAP Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement (FCSA). Any unused portion of the federally-funded feasibility study is not transferable to the design and implementation phase.
Design and Implementation Phase: All costs beyond the feasibility phase are considered total project costs and will be shared as specified in the authorizing legislation (authority) for that purpose. The specific requirements for each individual project must be detailed in the project’s Project Partnership Agreement.
Q. Does the district have any recent CAP Projects approved?
A. Boulevard Resacas at Brownsville – Section 206: The Boulevard Resacas at Brownsville project is located along the Rio Grande River in the southern half of Cameron County, Texas. The project consists of approximately 25 acres of former channels of the Rio Grande River that have been cut off from the river, having no inlet or outlet as a result of siltation of the oxbow channels and loss of critical native aquatic and riparian habitat.
The riparian vegetation associations of the resacas are found exclusively in resaca and riparian corridors of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. These thorn scrub riparian vegetation associations have been designated by Texas Parks and Wildlife as habitats critically imperiled with extinction or elimination. The resaca and its associated thorn-scrub riparian habitat are listed in the draft U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Ocelot Recovery Plan as critical transportation corridors for dispersing ocelots. The USFWS has determined that close to 99 percent of this habitat has been degraded on the Lower Rio Grande Basin within the United States and Mexico.
Before land development and water control, floodwaters from the Rio Grande drained into Resacas from the surrounding terrain. The primary hydrologic function of the Resacas was diversion and dissipation of floodwater from the river. Over the years, portions of the Resacas have become bottomland. The remaining stretches of channel have formed into a series of unconnected horseshoe bends with impacted habitat. (http://www.brownsville-pub.com/departments/water-wastewater/projects/resaca-restoration).
Mosswood Subdivision/Stewarts Creek – Section 14: Montgomery County, Texas, has identified an extensive erosion problem on the stream bank of Stewarts Creek adjacent to Magnolia Drive in the Mosswood Subdivision of Montgomery County. Because the elevation of the bank is so much higher than the normal stream elevation, the county is unable to facilitate the repair with their available resources.
This study will evaluate alternatives to alleviate the extensive erosion that is occurring along the stream bank of Stewarts Creek in the Mosswood Subdivision of Montgomery County. Tropical weather activity has accelerated the erosion of the stream bank to a point where it is beginning to impact the right-of-way of Magnolia Drive and is now within 60 feet of the nearest home. If the emergency stream bank and shoreline protection repairs are not constructed, the county will be forced to close the roadway and the adjacent homes will be threatened.
Q. Where can I call or visit to receive more information?
A. For more information, call CAP Manager Byron Williams at (409) 766-3140 or visit the district’s website at www.swg.usace.army.mil.