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Cooperating Associations Program Summary Banner

Program Summary

      The first cooperating associations was incorporated at Yosemite National Park in 1920 with the National Park Service. Cooperating associations have since expanded to many other Federal, State and County agencies, and have been authorized within the Corps since 1991. The Corps of Engineers currently has more than 20 Cooperating Associations at projects throughout the country.
    1977 The Federal Grant and Cooperating Agreement Act of 1977, [P.L. 95-224, subsequently recodified as Chapter 63 of P.L. 97-258 (31 USC 6301- et seq.)] Section 6305 tells when to use a cooperating agreement
    "An executive agency shall use a cooperating agreement as the legal instrument reflecting a relationship between the United States Government and a State, a local government, or other recipient when-
    (1) the principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer a thing of value to the State, local government, or other recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States instead of acquiring (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government; and
    (2) substantial involvement is expected between the executive agency and the State, local government, or other recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated in the agreement."
    March 1991 ER 1130-2-441, dated 1 March 1991, "Project Operation - Cooperating Associations Program." This was the first Corps regulation to address cooperating association agreements.
    1992 Public Law 102-580, Section 225 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1992, dated 31 Oct 1992. This law authorized the Secretary of the Army to enter into cooperating agreements with non-Federal public and private entities to provide for operational and/or management and development of recreation facilities and natural resources at water resource development projects where such facilities are being maintained at full federal expense.
    1996 ER & EP 1130-2-500, dated 27 December 1996, "Project Operations - Partners and Support (Work Management Policies)." Chapter 9 covers the Cooperating Association Program. This regulation supercedes ER 1130-2-441.
    2000 Public Law 106-541, Sec. 213. Assistance Programs of WRDA 2000 dated Dec. 11, 200033 USC 2339.114 STAT. 2668-
    (a) Conservation and Recreation Management - To further training and educational opportunities at water resources development projects under the jurisdiction of the Secretary, the Secretary may enter into cooperating agreements with non-Federal public and nonprofit entities for services relating to natural resources conservation or recreation management.
    (b) Rural Community Assistance - In carrying out studies and projects under the jurisdiction of the Secretary, the Secretary may enter into cooperating agreements with multistate regional private nonprofit rural community assistance entities for services, including water resource assessment, community participation, planning, development, and management activities.
    (c) Cooperating Agreements - A cooperating agreement entered into under this section shall not be considered to be, or treated as being, a cooperating agreement to which Chapter 63 of title 31, United States Code, applies.

    Further interpretation and subsequent guidance on implementation of this law are pending.

    2000 Paintsville Lake Historical Association, Paintsville Lake, LRH receives the first Excellence in Interpretation Partnership Award.
    2002 Bay Model Association, Bay Model Visitor Center, SPN
    2004 Texas Coast Water-Borne Education Center, Wallisville Lake Project, SWG
    2006 Kaskia - Kaw Rivers Conservancy, Lake Shelbyville, MVS
    2008 Friends of Lake Sonoma, Lake Sonoma, SPN

    The Corps Excellence in Interpretive Partnerships Award, presented every two years, was created to recognize outstanding contributions to interpretative and/or environmental education efforts of the Corps by one of its cooperating associations. The winner is honored at the Association of Partners for Public Lands award ceremony, which recognizes partnering efforts between cooperating associations and the Corps, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service and other federal agencies.

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    Updated August 2010