Sea-Level Change Considerations in Civil Works Programs (USACE EC 1165-2-212)

Developed in 2011 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), this circular provides guidance for incorporating the direct and indirect physical effects of projected future sea-level change across the project life cycle in managing, planning, engineering, designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining USACE projects and systems of projects. The guidelines apply to all USACE elements having Civil Works responsibilities and is applicable to all USACE Civil Works activities. This guidance supersedes all previous guidance on this subject, and expires on September 30, 2013.

The guidelines in this circular are far reaching in applicability.  The potential relative sea-level change is to be considered in every USACE coastal activity as far inland as the extent of estimated tidal influence, as well as in all flood studies with backwater profiling, where appropriate. Planning for sea level change must take into account how sensitive and adaptable the relative natural and managed ecosystems, and human and engineered systems are to climate change and other related global changes.

In this report, the Army Corps mandates that in estimating future change in local sea level, analysts will consider the effect that sea level rise could have on design alternatives, economic and environmental evaluation, and risk for all USACE activities. The analysis is expected to include, as a minimum, a low rate - based on an extrapolation of the historical tide gauge rate - and intermediate and high rates, which include future acceleration of mean sea level.


An archived version of the Army Corps Sea-Level Change guidance can be found here (saved on May 19, 2016): 


Publication Date: October 1, 2011

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