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Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects (Section 206)

Under the authority provided by Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may plan, design and build projects to restore aquatic ecosystems for fish and wildlife. Projects conducted in New England under this program have included eelgrass restoration, salt marsh and salt pond restoration, freshwater wetland restoration, anadromous fish passage and dam removal, river restoration, and nesting bird island restoration. Projects must be in the public interest and cost effective and are limited to $10 million in Federal cost.

Project Process. The process for Section 206 projects begins after a non-federal sponsor requests U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assistance under the program. When funding is available, USACE prepares a feasibility study, beginning with an estimate of the overall scope and cost of the study and a determination of whether the project is in the federal interest. The feasibility study formulates alternatives to achieve the restoration, evaluates the environmental effects of the alternatives, documents the project requirements, and provides a scope and cost estimate for project implementation. If the feasibility report recommends a plan for implementation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepares detailed project plans and specifications and obtains any required federal permits. USACE then manages construction of the project by a private contractor.

Cost Sharing. USACE provides the first $100,000 of study costs. A non-Federal sponsor must contribute 50 percent of the cost of the feasibility study after the first $100,000 of expenditures, 35 percent of the cost of design and construction, and 100 percent of the cost of operation and maintenance. The sponsor receives a credit for the value of real estate necessary to implement the project. The entire non-Federal share of the project cost may be credited as work in kind, but, to receive credit, the services must be provided after a formal Feasibility Study Cost Sharing Agreement or Project Cooperation Agreement is signed.


Study Cost

The feasibility study is cost shared 50 percent Federal / 50 percent Non-Federal after the first $100,000 in study costs. The first $100,000 in study cost is Federally funded.

Project Cost

Design and construction costs are 65 percent Federal / 35 percent non-Federal



How to Request Assistance - Requests for assistance should be in the form of a letter describing the location and nature of the problem and requesting assistance under the program. The request should be submitted by a state or local government agency* to Ms. Wendy Gendron, Chief, Planning Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. For more information call Janet Cote, Environmental Restoration Program Manager at 978-318-8728.


*Non-Federal sponsors must be public agencies or national non-profit organizations capable of undertaking future requirements for operation, maintenance, repair, replacement and rehabilitation (OMRR&R), or may be any non-profit organization if there are no future requirements for OMRR&R. All potential sponsors must be able to provide any required lands, easements, rights-of-way, relocations and dredged or excavated material disposal areas (LERRD). The affected local government must consent to the non-profit entity being a sponsor. 

Sample Letter of Intent for Section 206 - Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects


Updated Sept.18, 2023