Detailed Information on the
Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Assessment

Program Code 10002454
Program Title Coastal Storm Damage Reduction
Department Name Corps of Engineers-Civil Works
Agency/Bureau Name Corps of Engineers-Civil Works
Program Type(s) Capital Assets and Service Acquisition Program
Assessment Year 2004
Assessment Rating Results Not Demonstrated
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 80%
Strategic Planning 44%
Program Management 62%
Program Results/Accountability 28%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $41
FY2008 $75
FY2009 $52

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Collecting performance information on the economic and other benefits from completed projects that have measurably reduced damages from hurricanes and storms. Additional funding may be needed later to conduct this data collection effort for completed projects.

Action taken, but not completed Will be re-PARTed in 2008 Currently there is no dedicated funding to perform this task. However, during the FY08 Budget development a proposal will be developed. No fundng available

This program will be re-PARTed in 2008 and the Flood Damage Reduction and Coastal Storm Damage Reduction programs will be combined to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the Corps activities in flood risk management. New performance measures have been developed that include dam safety and population at risk and subject to final agreements will be incorporated in the re-PARTing


Subject to availability of funds, an improved data collection program will be initiated. Available data is being collected will be used to measure the performance as best as possible. An improved approach to collect actual damages prevented is being developed and is scheduled to be fielded in 2008.

Action taken, but not completed

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Proposing funds in the budget for the initial sand placement, and long-term renourishment only if it is necessary to mitigate the impacts of operating and maintaining a Federal navigation project.

Completed This is a budgetary policy and is not related to performance. Not part of this business line.

Conducting a pilot projects to promote improved coordination among Federal and non-Federal programs that address damages from floods, storms and hurricanes. One team is currently working with a high priority community to develop a flood mitigation strategy. The plan is being developed under USACE's Planning Assistance to States (PAS) program and will follow FEMA's Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) guidelines. The resulting plan will be a comprehensive flood mitigation plan that will identify flood risks, assess what is vulnerable, prioritize potential flood damage reduction measures, and match agency programs to the measures in order to move towards the goal of reduced flood risk and more sustainable development. The other pilot is started with a meeting of 19 different agencies where 50 issues were identified. Some of the issues identified included more consistent agency communication, definition of roles and responsibility, and public flood risk education. The next steps are to finalize the team structure and prioritize issues.

Completed Work on pilots has been successful and our work with FEMA is continuing. Will be re-PARTed in 2008

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Average annual flood damage reduction benefits attributable to projects recommended in completed project feasibility reports or pre-construction, engineering and design (PED) studies.

Explanation:Supports Strategic Plan Objective 1.1 (Seek water resources solutions that better balance economic, environmental, and quality of life objectives). NOTE: Have incomplete data - efforts underway to improve data collection.

Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Number of people benefited by potential projects identified in reconnaissance phase reports completed.

Explanation:Supports CW Strategic Plan Objective 1.1: Seek water resources solutions that better balance economic, environmental, and quality of life objectives. NOTE: Have incomplete data - efforts underway to improve data collection.

Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Average annual flood damage reduction benefits attributable to completed construction projects.

Explanation:The program does not have any data for this measure. Efforts to improve data collection are now underway. Data collection for projects that have completed the initial phase of construction may require additional funding.

Long-term Outcome

Measure: Average annual flood damage reduction benefits attributable to completed (construction) projects.

Explanation:Supports CW Strategic Plan Objective 1.1: Seek water resources solutions that better balance economic, environmental, and quality of life objectives. NOTE: Have incomplete data - efforts underway to improve data collection.

Long-term Outcome

Measure: Percent of time that Corps owned flood damage reduction infrastructure maintained at design level.

Explanation:Supports CW Strategic Plan Objective 3.1: Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing Corps water resources projects. NOTE: Have incomplete data - efforts underway to improve data collection.

Long-term/Annual Output

Measure: Percent of projects exceeding facilities condition index (FCI) standard

Explanation:This measure is under development as part of the Corps' real property asset management plan.

Long-term Outcome

Measure: Percent of time that Corps owned flood damage reduction infrastructure maintained at design level.

Explanation:Supports CW Strategic Plan Objective 3.1: Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing Corps water resources projects. NOTE: Have incomplete data - efforts underway to improve data collection.

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The purpose of the program is to reduce coastal erosion damages resulting from hurricanes and coastal storms. The program achieves this purpose primarily through cost-shared implementation of structural solutions such as jetties, seawalls, and long-term beach nourishment, mostly the latter. Nonstructural solutions, such as home buyouts and elevations are also employed but much less frequently. The largest and most controversial component of the program is its individually authorized long-term beach nourishment projects, which involve regular placement of sand on shorelines for up to fifty year terms.

Evidence: The program was first authorized in the 1936 Flood Control Act and modified in subsequent Flood Control, Rivers and Harbors, and Water Resource Development Acts over the years. Individual storm damage reduction projects may be authorized for additional purposes, which include ecosystem restoration or mitigation of damages from operating Federal navigation projects. Separate cost-share formulas are applied to non-storm damage reduction purposes.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest or need?

Explanation: There is a growing need to address the impacts of shoreline erosion on existing public infrastructure in coastal communities. Shoreline erosion is exacerbated by a range of factors, including coastal development, Federal navigation infrastructure, and upland dams. The Federal role in addressing these impacts, however, should be more limited than it is currently, as the long-term financial commitments associated with 50 years of periodic beach re-nourishment are extremely large and may, in some situations, even induce further development on the coastline.

Evidence: On the east and Gulf Coasts, coastal dynamics are heavily affected by Federal navigation projects such as channel stabilizing jetties which prevent the downdrift movement of sand. On the West coast upland dams prevent transport of sediment downstream where it can nourish beaches. While the East and Gulf coasts are more susceptible to hurricanes, the West coast faces strong winter storms (for example, El Nino) that occur every few years.

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: There is some overlap between the Corps and FEMA efforts. The two agencies do not have a history of collaboration, yet both perform storm damage mitigation activities. State and local governments also finance shore protection activities within their respective jurisdictions, but those efforts would either be in partnership with or independent of this program. Lastly, individual homeowners and businesses may protect their own property through structural or nonstructural measures, but the Corps' program does not provide funding for protection of private beaches.

Evidence: The following Federal agencies provide storm damage reduction assistance in the form of direct financial support, technical assistance, grants, or loans: Corps; Economic Development Administration (Dept of Commerce; FEMA; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Dept of Commerce); Dept of Housing and Urban Development. Various state and local governments participate in shore protection activities, and private entities may finance protection of their own property.

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: There are concerns about the unintended consequences of the long-term beach renourishment projects on coastal development, which is regulated at the state and local level. There are also concerns about the extent of Federal financing for 50-year renourishment projects whose benefits are largely localized. Eurther, many state and local project sponsors are not prepared to assume full financial responsibility for the continuing renourishment costs that remain after the Federally authorized project is 'complete'. The Corps' Regional Sediment Management program is exploring how to integrate the planning and management of the beach nourishment program with other water resources activities.

Evidence: The Corps' National Regional Sediment Management Program is exploring innovative strategies to better integrate the planning and management of water resources activities that affect or are affected by sediment systems and processes in order to more efficiently manage the Nation's sediment resources.

NO 0%

Is the program effectively targeted, so that resources will reach intended beneficiaries and/or otherwise address the program's purpose directly?

Explanation: The intended beneficiaries for individual storm damage reduction projects are those communities whose residents, properties, economic and public sector activities and services are at risk of storm and hurricane damages. Beneficiaries are location specific, as are the delivered damage reduction products and services; thus there is a high degree of congruence between potential and actual beneficiaries. With the exception of some non-structural activities (evacuation), beneficiaries can only be protected on a defined hazards area basis.

Evidence: Project beneficiaries participate financially in the project feasibility study, and, if the project is Congressionally authorized, they participate as cost-sharing partners in the construction of the project. They assume financial responsibility for maintaining the project upon icompletion.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 80%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The Corps recently developed a few new long-term measures that reflect the purpose of the program, but not its outcomes. One measure tracks how well projects incorporate watershed principles in their study and design documents. Another measure tracks how well projects meet original cost estimates. Other long-term measures, such as the facility condition index rating, are still under development at this time. One of the analytical strengths of this program is the benefit-cost analysis that is used to formulate individual projects.

Evidence: A benefit-cost ratio is developed for each authorized project, which showing the estimated return on the investment. Still lacking is an aggregate measure (such as the average or median benefit-cost ratio for the program) of the overall return on the investment in this program. Such a measure should be developed in collaboration with other Federal hazard mitigation programs. Newly developed long-term measures were included in the Corps GPRA Strategic Plan, released in March 2004.

NO 0%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: The Corps is still refining and collecting baseline data for the long-term measures listed above. When baseline data is available for the measures, however, that information will be used to set specific performance targets in the budget request.

Evidence: Baselines and targets for new measures are under development.

NO 0%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: The Corps developed a measure to track the economic benefits realized from projects for which construction and design has been completed. However, the program still needs more outcome-oriented measures that are aligned with the its long-term goals, such as the percent reduction in annual storm damages attributable to Corps projects. The budget prioritizes funding for construction estimated to yield a higher return, per dollar invested.

Evidence: In developing the program budget and making funding allocation decisions, the Corps ranks competing projects in the initial phase of construction by their remaining benefits, relative to their remaining costs. This project ranking process is aimed at maximizing the return from the total program. Re-nourishment projects that are performed to mitigate the impacts of Federal navigation projects are given special consideration in funding decisions.

YES 11%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: Baseline program performance data is only available for a limited number of annual measures that were recently developed. The Corps will collect additional data in the upcoming year.

Evidence: For annual measures recently developed and approved, the Corps will begin collecting and organizing baseline data this year.

NO 0%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: The Corps' primary partners are its non-Federal project cost-sharing partners, project contractors and FEMA. Cost-sharing project sponsors have a vested interest in ensuring that project costs do not exceed original estimates, and the Corps uses performance clauses in its construction contracts to help ensure further that cost and schedule goals are met. The Corps does not collaborate sufficiently with FEMA in its program execution, goal-setting, or performance measurement in order to reduce inefficiencies in the duplication of efforts.

Evidence: Greater collaboration is needed among the Corps and its program partners, especially FEMA, to track the results of Federal hazard mitigation efforts and reduce program inefficiencies.

YES 11%

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: There has not been a comprehensive, independent evaluation of this program's effectiveness and relevance to the problem of coastal storm impacts, and there is not an institutional mechanism for conducting regular independent evaluations of the program. The National Academy of Science conducted an evaluation of the Civil Works planning and design program and recommended more independent review of individual projects and studies. In the past, independent external review of individual projects has been done on a limited basis, just for complex or controversial studies.The Corps has an Office of Water Project Review to oversee implementation of the NAS recommendation.

Evidence: The National Academy of Sciences reviewed the Corps planning program on a program-wide basis in 1999 and 2004 and recommended more independent, external review of individual project plans and proposals.

NO 0%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: The 2006 Budget for Corps construction links funding to the estimated return on a project, but the Corps still needs to more improve the linkage between overall program performance goals and the associated funding request. The Corps is currently finalizing a strategy for full-cost budgeting, to account for and assign to specific programs all funding items.

Evidence: The 2006 Budget proposes a more explicit and transparent performance-based framework for ranking and funding storm damage reduction projects.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The Corps is continuing to make progress in the development of long-term and annual performance measures that will support GPRA goals of more performance-based budgeting and program management. The Corps still needs to develop one or two key outcome-oriented measures that focus on improving the return from the overall program.

Evidence: The Corps released its GPRA strategic plan in 2004 and is continuing to refine its performance goals in consultation with OMB and program stakeholders.

YES 11%

Has the agency/program conducted a recent, meaningful, credible analysis of alternatives that includes trade-offs between cost, schedule, risk, and performance goals and used the results to guide the resulting activity?

Explanation: Underlying each authorized storm damage reduction project is a benefit-cost analysis that evaluates a range of alternatives and their associated tradeoffs and recommends the alternative yielding the greatest return on the investment. The recommended alternative also satisfies environmental and other regulatory constraints. The budget allocates funds among projects based on these estimates of projects' remaining benefits relative to their remaining costs,

Evidence: The Federal Principles and Guidelines and Corps Engineering Regulations provide the guidance on how the Corps conducts its analysis of alternatives.

YES 11%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 44%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: Program and project managers carefully track the execution of appropriated funds primarily for reprogramming purposes. Currently, however, there are no mechanisms in place for the systematic collection and tracking of program performance data largely because performance measures are still under development or have only recently been developed. Part of the reason why data is not collected is because the program only this year began developing performance measures. The Corps is currently developing a more performance-based approach to reprogramming decisions --- a good first step to using integrated performance and financial data for improved program management.

Evidence: Currently, the Corps only regularly tracks and reviews the rate of expenditure of appropriated funds. funds. Program managers review this data regularly in order to make fund reprogramming decisions.

NO 0%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: The Corps accomplishes much of its studies and all of its construction activities by fixed price contracts that tightly specify performance requirements. However, the Corps does not routinely perform an ex post facto comparison of estimated versus actual benefits and costs for completed construction projects.

Evidence: Corps accomplishes much of its studies and all of its construction activities by contract. Fixed price contracts tightly specify performance requirements. ER 4115-1-17 prescribes "Construction Contractor Performance Evaluations" and record of performance is recorded in the Construction Contractor Appraisal Support System (CCAS) AIS and used for future construction contract bidder qualification.

YES 12%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: A major concern of the Corps is the efficient obligation and expenditure of funds, and the Corps is diligent in the tracking of such through Project Review Boards & Resource Management Boards that monitor the obligation and expenditure of project funds.

Evidence: The Corps of Engineers Financial Management System (CEFMS) is a distributed, real-time database that allows project managers to track work orders and their associated costs and funding streams.

YES 12%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: In the project study and design phase, each project undergoes value engineering analysis to identify ways to construct the project more inexpensively and efficiently. Further, cost-sharing agreements with non-Federal project sponsors results in a strong incentive to achieve cost efficiencies and an effective project.

Evidence: Various internal policies and engineering regulations prescribe analytical methodologies for cost-effective project design and construction.

YES 12%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: This is an area in need of much improvement. The Corps does not routinely meet with FEMA to coordinate the delivery of services or share lessons learned about their respective programs. Greater coordination is needed and should be pursued in the near-term.

Evidence: An interagency working group could be developed to address this organizational weakness.

NO 0%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: Program and project managers carefully track the exenditure of appropriated funds. Also the Corps has been making substantial progress in producing sound annual financial statements, but the agency has not yet received a clean audit for its most recent fiscal year accounting records. In this and other Corps programs, there have been problems with the Corps' management of continuing contracts for construction projects, largely because the use of these contracts has not received sufficient oversight from program managers. Without assurance of the availability of future appropriations, district staff could execute large, multi-year contracts which impose outyear funding requirements that must be met in subsequent years in order to avoid potential contract suspension or termination costs. The result is a loss of flexibility in formulating a performance-based program budget.

Evidence: The Budget proposes modifications to the Corps contract authority to address recent problems in managing its existing multi-year continuing contract authority. Also the Corps has recently developed improved contract management controls. Regarding the Corps' financial statements, the major obstacle in the Corps resolution of its audit difficulties is in determining the original cost of existing plant, property, and equipment, which affects its balance sheet.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: This program has demonstrated some progress in implementing the President's Management Agenda, as part of the Corps overall management improvement efforts.

Evidence: The Corps released its GPRA strategic plan last year which included new performance measures for this program to better inform budget and management decisions.

YES 12%

Is the program managed by maintaining clearly defined deliverables, capability/performance characteristics, and appropriate, credible cost and schedule goals?

Explanation: Deliverables are defined on a project by project basis through various decision documents and these deliverables are tracked through the Corps of Engineers Financial Management System (CEFMS). The Corps annual budget provides data on projected contract requirements. The Corps use of reprogramming provides flexibility in the management of construction contracts. The Corps mostly uses fixed-price contracts that address risks due to weather and seasonal changes and include appropriate safeguards to cover unsatisfactory performance. Project justification data is kept current; economic analysis can be no more than three years old at the time a project is being considered for construction.

Evidence: Deliverables and cost and schedule goals are defined in Project Management Plans, Cost Sharing Agreements, and Design Agreements that are executed by the Corps and Non-Federal project partners. Detailed plans and specifications specify the scope of construction performance requirements. CEFMS enables each district to track expenditure data against schedules on a monthly basis, and the Corps annual budget provides details on projected contract requirements.

YES 12%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 62%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The program only recently developed long-term performance goals, and more progress is needed in the development of more outcome-oriented long-term measures that reflect the program's success in reducing national storm damages.

Evidence: Annual Flood Damage Prevention reports and the analysis of Corps benefits provided by the addition of completed projects to the infrastrucure reflects that damages prevented are increasing.

NO 0%

Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: Annual performance measures for this program were only recently developed and are still being refined, so it is not yet possible to evaluate the program's success in achieving annual goals for those measures.

Evidence: Specific performance targets are still under development for recently developed measures.

NO 0%

Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: To more cost-effectively address the Federal interest in beach renourishment activities, the Administration has proposed funding limits on long-term renourishment activities. The agency has also developed stronger management controls for administering multi-year construction contracts in this and other Corps programs.

Evidence: The Corps is implementing changes in multi-year contract management that should help achieve improved efficiencies in reaching program goals.


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: The program is somewhat unique in the Federal government, as discussed above, and the large scope of this program relative to similar state, local and private efforts makes it difficult to draw comparisons on program performance.

Evidence: The Corps will begin working with other Federal agencies to develop common inter-agency measures for performance comparison and improvement purposes.


Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: The Corps employed the National Academy of Sciences to do a comprehensive review of Civil Works study program procedures with the goal of improving the planning processes. The NAS review found the planning program to be relatively effective and made recommendations for improvement, including more regular independent review of project studies.

Evidence: The Corps has emplyed the NAS in the past to assess its planning process and has been found to be an effective process.


Were program goals achieved within budgeted costs and established schedules?

Explanation: The Corps recently developed a few program goals but it is still collecting data to set baselines and targets.

Evidence: Baseline and target data for program goals are being collected this year.

Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 28%

Last updated: 09062008.2004SPR