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Back Step 2 - What Kind of Partnership is Right for You?

    District Commanders are responsible for approval/execution of most partnering agreements. However, this authority can be delegated to the Chief of Operations or the Operations Project Manager through a delegation of authority memo. The Corps of Engineers has a number of authorities and programs that allow it to provide work or funds or accept work or funds from Federal, State, Tribal, or non-Federal entities. The following list includes the partnership types within our authorities. Click here for a Partnership Agreement Flow Chart

    Challenge Partnerships – The Corps can enter into agreements to accept funds, materials, and services from non-Federal public and private entities to provide for operation 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. This program allows the Corps to accept services or funds in the above circumstances; it does not permit the Corps to reimburse for services. The contributed resources are combined with regular project resources to accomplish work within current authorities and contained in the annual or five-year plan in the approved operational management plan. (33 USC §2328, WRDA 1992, Sec 225; EP 1130-2-500, Chapter 12; ER 1130-2-500, Chapter 12).

    Cooperating Associations – The Corps may enter into agreements with tax-exempt, non-profit organizations that volunteer services to the Corps. Cooperating associations are used to accomplish such broad goals as natural resource management, interpretation and visitor service activities at Corps civil works projects, fee-owned lands, and other areas for which the Corps has administrative and management responsibilities. (33 USC §2328, WRDA 1992, Sec 225; EP 1130-2-500, Chapter 9; ER 1130-2-500, Chapter 9).

    Volunteers – The Corps is authorized to accept the services of volunteers to carry out any Corps activity except policy-making or law enforcement. Volunteer agreements allow the Corps to accept the services of volunteers and to provide for their incidental expenses. (33 U.S.C. §569c; Implementation Guidance for Section 1047(d) of WRRDA 2014).

    Contributions Program – The Corps is authorized to accept contributions of cash, funds, materials, and services from persons, including governmental entities but excluding the project sponsor, in connection with carrying out a water resources project for environmental protection, restoration or recreation. Contributions must be used for work items within current authorities and contained in an approved annual five-year operational management plan. A contributions plan serves as the agreement for this program. Note: Real estate cannot be accepted under this program. (33 U.S.C. §2325, WRDA 1992, Sec 203; EP 1130-2-500, Chapter 11; ER 1130-2-500, Chapter 11).

    Memoranda of Understanding (MOU)/Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) – These are “agreements to agree” which coordinate the Corps’ authorized activities with another entity. MOUs often state common goals and nothing more. Thus, MOUs do not contemplate funds transfers and should usually include language that states something similar to: “This is not a funds obligating document; by signing this agreement the parties are not bound to take any action or fund any initiative.” They may be used to run a program a certain way so that it functions better with the program of a sister agency, for example.

    MOAs, on the other hand, often establish common legal terms that will be read into every Support for Others reimbursable order that follows. MOAs do not obligate any funds of themselves but they establish the terms for future service and cite one of the appropriate authorities to do so.

    Economy Act Agreements – The Economy Act of 1932, (31 U.S.C. 1535), authorizes an agency to place orders for goods and services with another Federal agency (or a major organizational unit of an agency). It can be used when: 1) funds are available, 2) the head of the ordering agency determines that it is in the best interest of the government, and, 3) the head of the ordering agency decides that ordered goods or services cannot be provided as conveniently or cheaply by contract with commercial enterprise. These must be shown by a Determination and Findings (D&F), prepared by the ordering agency. The performing agency must be able to provide the goods or services in-house or by contract, and parties should verify under Part 8 of the FAR that the responsibility for this good or service is not assigned to another agency of the Federal government.

    The Economy Act cannot be used for partnerships with non-federal entities, and is only used with federal agencies when another more specific transfer authority is not available. When entering into an Economy Act agreement with a non-DoD entity, the Corps must enter into an agreement by which the ordering agency agrees to pay all costs.

    Cooperative Agreements for Educational and Training Activities – The Corps may enter into cooperative agreements with non-Federal public and nonprofit entities for natural resources conservation or recreation management work that furthers training and educational opportunities. (33 U.S.C. §2339, WRDA 2000, Sec 213).

    Cooperative Agreements for Management of Undesirable Plants on Federal Lands - The Corps may enter into cooperative agreements with State agencies to coordinate the management of undesirable plant species on Federal lands. This integrated management system can include education, preventative measures, physical or mechanical methods, biological agents, herbicide methods, cultural methods, and general land management practices such as manipulation of livestock or wildlife grazing strategies or improving wildlife or livestock habitat. (7 USC 2814)

    Cooperative Agreements with Indian Tribes - The Secretary may enter into a cooperative agreement with an Indian tribe (or a designated representative of an Indian tribe) to carry out authorized activities of the Corps of Engineers to protect fish, wildlife, water quality, and cultural resources. (WRRDA 2014 1031(b))

    Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) - The CESU Network provides opportunities for federal agencies, NGO’s and Universities to collaborate on research, technical assistance and education in the biological, physical, social and cultural sciences needed to address natural and cultural resource management issues at multiple scales and in an ecosystem context. CESU cooperative agreements allow the Corps to efficiently transfer funds and duty station employees to university partners while maintaining responsibility for agency-sponsored activities within CESU’s. (10 USC 2358)

    Go To Step 3: Budget Development and Financing

  • Home
  • Challenge Partnerships Program
  • Memoranda of Understanding/Agreement (MOU/MOA)
  • Handshake Partnerships Program
  • Volunteer Program
  • Contributions Program
  • Economy Act Agreements
  • Cooperating Associations Program
  • Partnership Agreement Decision Tree
  • Challenge Cost Sharing Cooperative Management Program
  • Cooperative Agreements
  • Policy & Procedures
  • Partnerships in OMBIL
  • Training
  • FAQs
  • Grants/Alternative Funding Sources
  • News / Current Issues
  • Partnership Advisory Committee
  • Good Enough to Share
  • Division & District POCs
  • Corps Photo Album for Partnerships
  • National Partners
  • Military Partnerships
  • Health/Medical Community Partnerships
  • School/University Partnerships
  • Water Safety Partnerships
  • Special Events with Partners
  • Partnership and Volunteer Awards
  • Partnership Success Stories
  • Partnering with the Corps video
  • Partnership Outreach Sheet
  • Partnership/Volunteer Program Newsletter
  • Corps Lakes Gateway Partnerships Webpage

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    Updated: January 2017