The purpose of the Section 111 program is to determine the effect of Federal navigation structures on the shoreline, and develop plans for the mitigation of shore damages attributable to those structures. By monitoring the Great Lake shorelines over various time periods, the Detroit District can more efficiently manage dredged material from navigation channels for placement within the nearshore region and utilize knowledge gained through substantial analyses to address impacts by all structures. The section 111 program is critical to the Corps' desire to maintain a healthy and natural shoreline.
Section 111 Authority
Section 111 of the 1968 River and Harbor Act provides authority for the Corps of Engineers to develop and construct projects for prevention or mitigation of damages caused by Federal navigation work. This applies to both publicly and privately owned shores located along the coastal shorelines of the United States. Each project is limited to a Federal cost of not more than $5 million
The Corps can initiate an investigation of a prospective mitigation of damages project upon receipt of a request from a sponsoring agency empowered under state law to provide the required local cooperation. See sample letters requesting a study.
This authority may not be used for the following purposes:
- To construct works for prevention or mitigation of shore damage caused by riverbank erosion or vessel-generated wave wash.
- To prevent or mitigate shore damage caused by non-Federal navigation projects.
A recommendation to construct a project to prevent or mitigate shore damage attributable to a Federal navigation project may be considered when both of the following conditions exist:
- The navigation project has been determined to be the cause of the damage, and abandonment of the navigation project is not the most viable solution.
- Analysis based on sound engineering and economic principles clearly demonstrates the feasibility of the proposed work.
Construction Requirements for Federal cost sharing are as follows:
- If the work recommended is confined to mitigation work where erosion is totally attributable to the Federal navigation works, costs are shared in the same manner as the project causing the erosion or shoaling.
- If the work recommended is a combination of mitigation and restoration of beaches eroded due to other causes, mitigation work will be shared in the same manner as the project causing the erosion or shoaling and the remaining work will be 100 percent local, unless it qualifies as a Federal beach erosion control project.
Great Lakes Section 111 Reassessment Needs
The Section 111 authority of the River and Harbor Act of 1968 authorizes the USACE to prepare Detailed Project Reports (DPR’s) to investigate potential impacts on adjacent shorelines and construct projects for the prevention or mitigation of shore damages attributable to Federal navigation works.
The DPR’s created under this authority assessed existing datasets from various sources and utilized field data collection to determine erosion rates attributable to Federal projects. Coupling this information with property values and potential infrastructure impacts, a benefit/cost ratio was evaluated. If a ratio supported the implementation of an erosion mitigation project, solutions were defined.
Many of these reports were developed more than thirty (30) years ago. During this time, the tools, data, and methodologies for determining shoreline erosion have greatly improved. It has become apparent in recent years that existing DPR’s and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Manuals may require significant updates. Conclusions made in the past may no longer be valid based on the international coastal community’s understanding of coastal processes and the advanced analysis methodologies available to coastal researchers. Sediment budget analyses need to be conducted at all federal structures in the future to leverage state-of-the-art analytical tools and incorporate sophisticated methodologies to delineate more accurate erosion rates,sediment transport quantities, and accretion rates.
Based on this information, all existing DPR’s and O&M Manuals are subject to speculation as to their validity in accurately describing sediment issues at federal harbors. In order to make more precise sediment management decisions or conclusions, more accurate studies are required.