Civil Works Sustainability

Wolf Creek Dam (Cumberland River, Kentucky) USACE has long engaged in programs to promote sustainable buildings and energy conservation.  The programs are driven primarily by sustainability mandates, including federal statutes and executive orders, and general industry trends.  USACE is equally intent on ensuring its water resources activities are also sustainable; this is most emphasized in the Civil Works Strategic Plan, titled Sustainable Solutions to America's Water Resource Needs.  Civil Works' focus on sustainable solutions responds to the need to accomplish our missions under a myriad of conditions and challenges, both present and future.

USACE is the Nation's leader in water resources management and has been for most of our history.  Our accomplishments are achieved through our Civil Works activities, including flood control, navigation, recreation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, environmental stewardship, hydropower, regulatory, water supply, and emergency response.  We recognize deeply the need to balance environmental, economic, and social benefits and impacts, and having a long‐term and holistic view is key to our understanding of sustainability.  Characteristics of sustainable solutions fall into one or more of the following categories:

  1. Taking a life cycle view and recognizing risks;
  2. Conserving resources, promoting efficiency, and extending mission capability;
  3. Addressing the complexities of natural resources systems and management;
  4. Seeking opportunities to innovate and improve quality; and
  5. Partnering and collaborating to maximize value.

Further information on the definition and characteristics of sustainable solutions may be found in the USACE Sustainability:  Definition and Concepts Guide, EP 1100-1-3.

Standard and Guidance

Sustainability in Civil Works is implemented through our standards and guidance.  Key publications to help understand our sustainability requirements and practices are listed below.  Each of these documents may be found on the USACE Publications Website:

Additional Resources

Additional information on USACE sustainability activities may be found on the Sustainable Design and Development webpage, including links to USACE's sustainability compliance/scorecard, climate preparedness and resilience, sustainable buildings, sustainable acquisition, and sustainability centers of expertise.