In March 2022, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) directed USACE to develop an outreach strategy that “should capitalize on a broad range of community meetings and other organized community-level opportunities and engage communities to truly listen to their needs.” The USACE Interim Environmental Justice Strategic Plan: Community Outreach and Engagement outlines USACE’s approach to meeting that goal by focusing on seven core objectives:
- Improving the timing and quality of outreach to local communities and access to USACE Civil Works information and resources.
- Forming strong partnerships within and outside of the government to strengthen underserved and disadvantaged community participation in USACE programs and activities. Outreach and Engagement White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
- Developing and optimizing USACE resources to broaden internal expertise through the continual refinement and application of tools, training, and products centered on environmental justice.
- Strengthening Tribal relationships by taking advantage of opportunities to listen and increase effective communication while enhancing USACE’s ability to understand and respond to Tribal water resources needs.
- Improving awareness, access, and participation in USACE Civil Works technical assistance programs while maximizing assistance that benefits underserved and disadvantaged communities.
- Forming effective partnerships, early engagement, and ensuring comprehensive analysis of a full range of benefits for USACE studies and programs.
- Developing whole-of-government solutions, where possible, for all aspects and phases of USACE Civil Works programs, from study development to construction and operation of projects. Execution of these objectives will increase the timeliness and quality of outreach while we continue to build strong and meaningful relationships with communities throughout the country. We will focus on delivering whole-of-government solutions, understanding that not just one agency or level of government can always be the solution to the problems that a community is experiencing. We will also continually assess and enhance our workforce, building the capabilities and resources to overcome barriers and address equity issues where needed.