Army Corps seeks input on new disaster response guidance

Coastal leaders gather at Center for the Inland Bays to discuss benefits of WRDA 2022
February 3, 2023

Story Location:
Center for the Inland Bays
39375 Inlet Road
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

Sen. Tom Carper wrapped up a week-long series of events celebrating changes to the Water Resources Development Act that benefit Delaware with a roundtable explanation of those changes to many of the state’s coastal leaders.

Officials from Bowers Beach to Fenwick Island, including representatives from Sussex County and the state, were on hand Jan. 20 at the Center for the Inland Bays to listen to Carper and his policy experts explain how Delaware will benefit from changes in the 2022 version of WRDA, which was signed into law in December.

John Kane, senior policy advisor for Carper under the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said conversations with the state, coastal communities and the Army Corps of Engineers identified a number of gaps related to emergency management, project development and coastal resilience. Historically, nor’easters are the problem, not hurricanes or wildfires, he said.

Kane went through the list of changes and how they’ll benefit Delaware: Before, the Army Corps was required to repair projects back to the original design; now, the Army Corps can modify plans to better help with resiliency. Before, the Army Corps focused on extraordinary storms, like hurricanes; now, there’s a Delaware-specific emergency authority triggered by any nor’easter that causes significant damage. There’s a new program authorizing the study, design and construction of projects for the protection of shorelines, riverbanks and streambanks, and Delaware’s beaches and watersheds are identified as a priority area for implementation projects.

As part of that last authorization, Kane said, projects for economically disadvantaged communities require only a 10% local contribution for design and construction. That’s a big deal, he said.

The changes were all well received, but officials wanted to know how the new programs would be implemented.

The answer to that question is not known right now, said Kane. The Army Corps is actively creating the implementation guidance, and a 60-day window is open for public comment, he said.

Lt. Col. Ramon Brigantti, Philadelphia District commander for the Army Corps, was on hand. When asked his opinion of changes to WRDA that will inevitably lead to more work for the Army Corps, he said, with a smile, as long as there is authorized funding and manpower, he didn’t care.

Kane estimated an August time frame for when the implementation guidance would be complete.

A few days after the gathering, Jan. 24, the Army Corps issued the public notice. According to the notice, public comments on the proposed guidance will be accepted through Tuesday, March 21.

In advance of that deadline, there will be three virtual public listening sessions – 2 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15; 2 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22; and 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 1. The public may attend the virtual listening sessions via Webex meeting or by phone at 844-800-2712, using code 199 937 4287.

Comments, identified by docket number COE-2023-0002, can be submitted by following the online instructions at; or by emailing with the docket number in the subject line.


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