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Observed climate change and variability has affected and will continue to affect USACE missions and operations. These observed variabilities include changes in drought intensity and frequency in the late 1970s and changing sea levels in the mid-1980s. These changes in the 1970s and 1980s were followed by studies on the economic impacts of climate change in the early 1990s. Prompted by Hurricane Katrina in the mid 2000s, USACE re-focused on land subsidence and changing sea levels. Around this same time, USACE began to feel the impacts of altered mountain snowpack and subsequent runoff patterns that impact floods and droughts. 

How Do Hydrologic and Sea Level Changes Affect USACE Mission Areas?

Corps climate preparedness and resilience activities are undertaken to ensure reliable performance or mission and operations in changing conditions. The observed and expected effects include reduced reliability of inland and coastal navigation channels, increased frequency of overtopping for coastal levees, increased shoreline erosion and associated decreased coastal storm damage reduction, altered channel sedimentation that can increase flood elevations, increased reservoir sedimentation that reduces storage for flood control and water supply storage in Corps reservoirs, inability to provide necessary pumping capacity, and changing snowmelt conditions that impact reliable hydropower production, flood risk reduction, navigation, recreation, and water supply. These activities comply with authorities including Section 216 of the River and Harbor and Flood Control Act of 1970; Section 731 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986; Sections 3022, 3024 and 3029 of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014; and specific project and purpose authorizations.



reviewed 4 October 2017


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