GLMRIS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a Corps Feasibility Study?
A feasibility study contains the following components:
- A concise main report that includes the study's technical findings, conclusions, and recommendation that confirms or denies the interest in the Corps of Engineers’ implementation of a candidate project;
- Technical appendices presenting the detailed backup and results of individual tasks; and
- A feasibility-level cost estimate for the recommended plan, and other supporting documentation.
The objective of the Feasibility Study is to investigate and recommend solutions to water resources problems. (Planning Manual, November 1996, IWR Report 96-R-21, p. 231)
What is the study organization for GLMRIS?
The Corps is conducting GLMRIS along two concurrent tracks: Focus Area I, the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) Study, and Focus Area II, the Other Aquatic Pathways Study, and has staffed both tracks with dedicated project teams.
Focus Area I encompasses the CAWS, which includes the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC), and five continuous aquatic pathways between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. Chicago District is leading the Focus Area I (CAWS) effort.
Focus Area II covers the remaining portion of the study area (18 identified sites outside of the CAWS that may act as an intermittent pathway for the transfer of aquatic nuisance species between the two basins). Buffalo District is the lead for the Focus Area II effort.
Within each focus area there are individual sub-teams or Project Delivery Teams (PDTs). PDTs allow for focus on complex items within the study scope. Examples of PDTs for Focus Area 1 include: Plan Formulation, Communications, Environmental Quality, Technology, Natural Resources, Navigation and Economics and Hydrology and Hydraulics.
Who are the Stakeholders for GLMRIS?
Stakeholders for GLMRIS include federal agencies, Native American tribes, state agencies, local governments, non-governmental agencies and members of the public. A stakeholder is someone with an interest in the outcome of a recommended course of action. The stakeholders are crucial to the specification of problems and opportunities.
What is GLMRIS’s relationship to other ongoing regional studies looking at ANS issues?
GLMRIS is a broad-based and complex ecosystem protection and restoration study. Results from previous and other ongoing studies will be reviewed and considered as appropriate.
How does GLMRIS differ from other ongoing regional studies?
GLMRIS differs from other studies because:
- GLMRIS covers the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins: a broader geographic region than has previously been addressed;
- GLMRIS considers all ANS, not a single targeted species;
- GLMRIS considers all potential ANS controls or their uses in combination rather than a single solution;
- GLMRIS considers impacts of ANS controls on waterway uses and significant natural resources in accordance with law and policy;
- GLMRIS will include measures to mitigate the impact of ANS controls on existing uses of the waterways and significant natural resources; and
- GLMRIS must comply with laws, regulations, executive orders and Corps of Engineers policies.
What's the purpose of the GLMRIS Report?
The purpose of the GLMRIS Report is to meet the intent of the Moving ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) legislation, which requires expedited completion of the report identified in Section 3061 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 within18 months of MAP-21 enactment. The GLMRIS Report will present a range of options and technologies to prevent the transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. The GLMRIS Report will also identify additional analyses that would need to be completed after the 18-month deadline in order for the study to proceed to Preconstruction Engineering and Design (PED).
The GLMRIS Report will be submitted in December 2013. The 90-Day Interim Report, released Oct. 2012, outlines a plan to complete the GLMRIS Report required by MAP-21 using existing fiscal year (FY) 2013 funds. The December 2013 GLMRIS Report will include components of the study originally planned for release in 2015. The GLMRIS Report will provide Congress and other stakeholders with an analysis of potential alternatives, as well as additional pertinent information for decision makers and will also identify additional analyses and requirements that must be completed after December 2013 but prior to initiating PED. These items include detailed design analyses, completion of the environmental compliance analysis, required internal reviews and public state/agency reviews.
What will be included in the GLMRIS Report?
The GLMRIS Report will include the following:
- Summary Information and Background for Study including Scope and Processes;
- Baseline Analysis Detailed Assessment including the results of numerical modeling and technical analyses and other reviews;
- Future without Project Conditions Detailed Assessment;
- Risk Assessment of ANS of Concern to support formulation;
- Screening Criteria and Screened ANS Controls based on ANS of Concern, CAWS;
- Description of Range of Alternatives developed, including the No-Action Alternative;
- General Description of each Alternative including mitigation requirements;
- Location map(s) for each alternative;
- Conceptual Design for each alternative and mitigation requirements with a commensurate cost estimate;
- Cost estimate range for each alternative;
- Cost-Schedule Risks Analyses;
- General Regulatory Requirements for Implementation as well as a listing of potential Regulatory Issues;
- Evaluation of alternatives; and
- An Environmental Assessment to help facilitate agency planning and decision-making.
Will the GLMRIS Report have a recommended alternative?
The GLMRIS Report will not recommend one alternative, but will present a range of alternatives for consideration.
Will you still be looking at hydroseparation?
Yes. Two of the alternatives currently being evaluated are Hydrologic Separation scenarios.
Who has the decision on whether or not a plan will move into implementation phase?
If the Secretary of the Army determines that a project is justified and consistent with Corps missions, the additional requirements will be completed as part of the effort leading into preconstruction engineering and design of an ANS control alternative. Some of the alternatives we may evaluate could potentially fall under the jurisdiction or be better implemented by other agencies.
What is the funding situation?
GLMRIS is 100 percent federally funded. The sources of appropriations for the GLMRIS Report are assumed to be only baseline USACE Energy and Water funds, as identified in the FY2013 Budget request of $3 million. The FY13 budget request was made based on planned activities before MAP-21 legislation was passed.
What are you doing to prevent Asian carp transfer now?
USACE employs a four-pronged strategy in Asian carp and aquatic nuisance species prevention, along with GLMRIS: Operating the electric barriers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC); Studying the efficacy of the barriers and strengthening the barriers as appropriate; and participating in extensive monitoring of the CSSC and additional research on Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA). Find more information on USACE Chicago District's ANS Portal website.
Do you have a non-federal sponsor yet?
Efforts continue toward the identification and engagement of a non-Federal sponsor(s) for project implementation, operation and maintenance.
How do you work with other agencies?
The GLMRIS team emphasizes transparency, stakeholder involvement, and basin-wide communications. Per the Project Management Plan (PMP), the GLMRIS Team works closely with an Executive Steering Committee (ESC), whose purpose is to inform the study team's effort based on agency expertise and facilitate coordination among various Federal and state agencies with respect to GLMRIS.
Other ANS Efforts FAQ
In addition to GLMRIS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has taken multiple measures to prevent the transfer of ANS between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. These actions include the Electric Dispersal Barriers Project, studies of various potential aquatic pathways, and ongoing monitoring of the location of Asian carp. These initiatives are described in more detail on the Other ANS Efforts FAQ page.