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Shoreline Management At a Glance Banner

Program Summary

    The Corps acquired land at water resources development projects under different acquisition policies over the years and in accordance with legislative authorities. Today the Corps manages nearly 12 million acres of public land and water at 456 projects across the nation. While the amount of land at each project varies in width from the shoreline, a strip of land around each lake/river was acquired in fee and is public land.

    The Corps has a responsibility to manage the natural resources entrusted to its stewardship and to ensure that project benefits (such as recreation, fish and wildlife, water supply, navigation, hydropower, etc.) are available for continued use by current and future generations. Shoreline management is one of the programs used to manage the land and water to ensure their continued availability to all the public.

    In the early days of water resources development, the emphasis on recreation visitation and environmental quality was not as strong as it is today. With what appeared at the time to be more land, water, and shoreline than would be needed for public use, decisions were made to accommodate private exclusive use facilities such as boat docks. Over the ensuing years, the demand for private facilities continued to increase as the adjacent private lands were subdivided into home sites. It became evident that the amount of shoreline was static while the demand for its use continued to increase both from adjacent property owners and the general public. With this surge in use came problems with pollution, encroachment on public lands, law enforcement, provisions of adequate public facilities, and overcrowding. Shoreline management is a part of the overall program to solve these problems in the interest of protecting the natural resources while providing for public enjoyment.

    The following chronology describes the development of the Shoreline Management Program as we know it today:
    1944 Flood Control Act, Section 4, provided basic authority for park and recreation development at Corps reservoir projects.
    1962 Flood Control Act, Section 4, broadened recreation authority to non-reservoir projects
    1962 Senate Document 97 recognized recreation development as equivalent to other project purposes
    1965 Federal Water Projects Recreation Act (PL 89-72) required consideration of outdoor recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement and established cost sharing requirements
    1969 National Environmental Policy Act (PL 91-190) establishes policies to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.
    1969 ER 1130-2-333, Authority for Certain Private Floating Recreation Facilities on Civil Works Projects, was issued for more effective shoreline use.
    1974 ER 1130-2-406, Lakeshore Management at Civil Works, was published in final form on 13 December, formally establishing the program and policy. Except to honor written commitments made prior to 13 December 1974 (the date of the regulation), private shoreline uses were not permitted on water resources projects where construction was initiated after this date or on projects where no private shoreline uses existed as of that date. This regulation also addressed vegetative modification, required lakeshore management plans with shoreline zoning allocations, encouraged community docks, and established lakeshore management fees. Public involvement was an integral part of developing the lakeshore management policy and guidance.
    1975 Development of lakeshore management plans generated intense adverse reaction. Director of Civil Works (memo dated 17 October 1975) directed District Engineers to contact each permit holder by either letter or visit to establish a one-on-one relationship between the Corps and the adjacent owner.
    1976 Congressional Hearings held on September 10-11 in Anderson, SC to review the Corps Shoreline Management regulation. Hearings confirmed that the Corps was procedurally correct in establishing the regulation and it would remain in force.
    1981 Public Law 97-140 protected lawfully installed "grandfathered" docks or appurtenant structures from removal until 31 December 1989 as long as they were maintained in a safe and usable condition.
    1986 Public Law 99-662 prohibited forced removal, on or after 31 December 1989, of previously authorized docks and appurtenant structures which were in place on 17 November 1986, provided the dock was maintained in a safe and usable condition, such property did not occasion a threat to life or property, the permit holder was in substantial compliance with the terms of the permit, and the law applied except where deemed necessary for public purposes, or higher public use, or for a navigation or flood control project.
    1986 The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works requested a lakeshore management fee schedule be developed, separate from the regulation, that considered both program administration costs and value of the permitted activity to the private user. A task force conducted a Lakeshore Management Fee Study and recommended that fees for a five year permit for all floating facilities should be $480 and fees for vegetative modification should be $240.
    1987 Recognizing that implementation of a new fee schedule would likely be controversial, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (memo dated 14 April 1987) requested a review of the components of the permitting process and inspection process. A task force conducted a Lakeshore Management Permit Process Study identifying specific component costs and recommending ways that the permitting process could be more streamlined and economical. In the end, they recommended a five year floating facility permit fee of $490 and a five year vegetative modification permit fee of $245. These recommended fees were never implemented due to objections from certain Congressional interests.
    1990 ER 1130-2-406 was revised on 31 October changing the name "Lakeshore" to "Shoreline" to address all shorelines of lakes or rivers where the Corps holds fee simple title to the land. Revision also reduced emphasis on community docks, required periodic review of shoreline management plans to determine need for update, required a map to clearly display the shoreline allocations, and included more detailed guidance on the issuance of vegetative modification permits.

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