The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District is working to manage the impact that a lapse in new funding appropriations will have to programs and projects we oversee. At no time will we compromise projects that have an impact to health and safety. We are managing the impacts to ongoing design and construction projects and expect the impacts to be minimal for the next few days.
Below you will find an outline of Baltimore District publicly accessible projects and their current status due to the government shutdown.
Regulatory & Permitting
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, has temporarily closed its regulatory offices and furloughing its 45 regulatory employees due to a lapse of Fiscal 2014 funds. The review of any pending permit applications will be suspended until new funding becomes available. Regulatory offices closing include the District’s main branch in Baltimore, as well as field offices located in State College, Pa.; Carlisle, Pa.; Tioga, Pa.; and Easton, Md. Regulatory staff will also refrain from attending any meetings, presentations or outreach opportunities due to the lack of available funds.
The Corps’ regulatory branch makes permit decisions for individuals and developers whose projects impact wetlands and waters of the United States. The authority to regulate activities in jurisdictional waters is found under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. Projects typically reviewed by the regulatory branch include road crossings, subdivisions, dredging, shoreline stabilization, wetland creation, oyster restoration, and aquaculture. In 2013, the Baltimore District made more than 7,500 permit decisions and jurisdictional determinations throughout their area of responsibility, which includes central Pennsylvania (lead district), Maryland and the National Capital Region.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District will close recreation area campgrounds earlier than originally planned due to the current lack of an appropriations bill. Since the government shutdown started, the District has been routinely monitoring fiscal year 2013 funds in order to minimize the public’s impact and adhere to their normal closing date schedule. However, with those funds uncertain past October 31, two timelines have been adjusted in order to winterize facilities.
“After much consideration, we had to make the hard decision to close our campgrounds early to allow our staff enough time to prepare our facilities for the winter season,” said Joe Ignatius, flood risk management branch chief. “It is a very unfortunate situation and we are saddened to turn our visitors away. We simply have to take care of our facilities to make sure they will function for next year’s recreation season.”
The term winterizing includes draining pipes related to water functions such as toilets, sinks, showers and water points. Any water left behind could result in extensive damage to the facilities. Winterizing is a regularly scheduled process each year that usually occurs after the recreation season is complete.
The following recreation areas are impacted by the change: Seven Points Campground at Raystown Lake – closed October 14 and Ives Run Campground at Tioga-Hammond and Cowanesque Lakes – closing October 21. Visitors who have paid reservations that have been cancelled due to these two campground closures will be refunded.
If the lack of an appropriations bill continues, the District will reevaluate its remaining funds weekly to determine operations and possible closures for the sites below:
· Maryland/West Virginia --- Jennings Randolph Lake: West Virginia & Maryland Overlook.
· Pennsylvania --- Raystown Lake: Corbin's Island, James Creek, Ridenour Overlook, Seven Points Day Use, Shy Beaver, Snyder's Run, Tatman Run, Weaver Falls, Raystown Dam and Aitch Boat Launch.
· Pennsylvania --- Tioga-Hammond and Cowanesque Lakes: Ives Run Day Use, Lamb’s Creek Boat Ramp, Tompkin’s Boat Ramp and South Shore Boat Ramp.
Please note that recreation areas operated and maintained by non-federal entities will stay open throughout the federal shutdown since they are not federally funded. The Baltimore District has various agreements where Corps-owned property is managed by city, county, or state governments, and/or private individuals. There are nine properties in two states that fall into this category:
· New York: Kanakadea Park, East Sidney Lake and Dorchester Park.
· Pennsylvania: Bald Eagle State Park, Kettle Creek State Park, Aylesworth Park, Curwensville Lake, Lake Raystown Resort and Seven Points Marina.
Once Baltimore District expends their fiscal year 2013 budget funds, only staff essential to public health and safety, such as dam operations and emergency response readiness, and those necessary for the management of ongoing construction projects, will continue to work.
Washington Aqueduct Status
The government shutdown does not affect the Washington Aqueduct. The Washington Aqueduct is operating normally with all employees to produce water for customers of the District of Columbia, Arlington County, Virginia, and the City of Falls Church, Virginia.
If you have any further questions regarding local impacts to the Baltimore District area of responsibility, please contact the Public Affairs Office at 410-962-2809 or visit our social media sites: http://about.me/usace.baltimore.