The FY23 Omnibus appropriated initial funding by Congress to begin activities in the next phase of the project, known as Preconstruction, Engineering and Design (PED). The Water Resources Development Act of 2022 provided authorization for the project to be carried out into subsequent phases in accordance with the Chief’s Report and Final Feasibility Report/Environmental Impact Statement. The PED phase may only be initiated once a Design Agreement (DA) has been executed by USACE and the City of Charleston.
The City and USACE have started the preliminary negotiations of the DA. The City’s decision to execute a DA with USACE will represent a commitment by the City to cost share the PED phase. The PED phase will address detailed engineering, technical studies, and design to include such things as continued study of the barrier alignment, prospects for additional natural and nature-based features, specifics of cultural/historic and aesthetic mitigation, refinement of gate operation procedures, advisability of higher nonstructural measure design elevations, opportunities to incorporate additional climate change resilience and other aspects of the plan.
The multi-year PED phase will require additional federal appropriations to complete and is a necessary predicate to develop the project for the Construction phase, but execution of the DA does not constitute a legal obligation on either the City’s or USACE’s part to proceed with construction.