Congress called on Biden administration officials overseeing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to inform the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure committee and U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the administration’s priorities for this year’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2022 reauthorization as well as implementation of WRDA 2020.
WRDA sets federal water resources infrastructure policy and provides federal approval for civil works projects on our nation’s waterways and harbors and is a key priority for the recreational boating industry. Since 2014, Congress has reauthorized a water resources and development bill on a bipartisan, biannual basis, and will be due for authorization in 2022. In both hearings Congress heard from Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Michael Connor, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works.
As Congress works to develop WRDA 2022, NMMA is recommending a series of policy reforms to improve USACE recreation management, promote USACE navigation projects that support recreational access, combat the spread of aquatic nuisance species, and further the use of natural infrastructure solutions.
NMMA priorities for WRDA 2022 include:
- Increase funding for USACE recreation facilities and infrastructure that provides access to recreation sites.
- Improve USACE joint management authority to better maintain and manage recreation sites.
- Reform the navigation project prioritization process to make recreation access projects more competitive for funding.
- Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes Region by removing the state cost-share requirements for the Brandon Road project.
- Maximize natural infrastructure solutions to promote resiliency, restore wildlife habitats, and strengthen the outdoor-based economy.