Home > Missions > Programs & Project Management  > Plans & Reports > MeramecFeasibilityStudy

Meramec Feasibility Study


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District

Meramec River Basin, Jefferson and St. Louis Counties, Missouri

In August of 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) signed a cost-share agreement to begin an Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study in the Meramec River Basin. This study will help contribute to larger ongoing efforts to improve, preserve, and sustain the resources of the Meramec River Basin by stakeholder groups, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies at the local, state, and federal level.

What is Meramec River Basin Ecosystem Restoration? The Meramec River, including its two major tributaries the Big River and Bourbeuse River, make up the Meramec River Basin.  This basin cover nearly 4,000 square miles of east-central Missouri and is among the most biologically important river systems of North America. The Meramec River and its tributaries flow from the Ozarks into the Mississippi River just downstream of St. Louis, Missouri.  The Meramec River Basin is notable for regionally and nationally high aquatic biodiversity, including numerous rare, state, and federally protected species and communities.  However, the Meramec River Basin is in need of aquatic habitat restoration due to several identified problems contributing to degradation of habitat for fish and wildlife in the Meramec and its tributaries.  The key factors identified to negatively affect the aquatic habitat of the Meramec River Basin include:

  • Altered riparian corridor

  • Altered connectivity (lateral and longitudinal)

  • Altered floodplains and wetlands

  • Altered hydrology

  • Altered habitat complexity

  • Contaminated sediments

  • Excessive suspended and bedded sediments

  • Degraded mussel habitat

The Meramec River Basin has been identified as a conservation priority by both public and private entities, and now an opportunity to study these problems in a collaborative effort among Federal, State, and non-government agencies is underway to restore the aquatic habitat of the Meramec River Basin.

 Click here for a full screen view of the above story map

What is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Feasibility Study?  A Civil Works feasibility study is the initial step in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers process for addressing many of the nation’s significant water resources needs and typically focuses on one or more of the USACE’s key mission areas: flood risk reduction, navigation, or aquatic ecosystem restoration.  After Congress has both authorized and appropriated funds to begin a study, USACE works with a non-federal sponsor (Sponsor) and a multi-disciplinary Project Delivery Team to conduct a feasibility study.  A feasibility study establishes the Federal interest, engineering feasibility, economic justification and environmental acceptability of a water resources project recommended for Congressional authorization and construction.  Specifically, USACE and the Sponsor work together to identify water resources problems, formulate and evaluate solutions, resolve conflicting interests, and prepare recommendations. Feasibility studies are cost shared equally between the Sponsor and the federal government.  Typically, the feasibility study and resulting recommendation for project authorization in the form of Chief’s Report should be completed at a total cost of $3 million and within three years of study initiation. 

The Meramec River Basin Feasibility Study is cost shared with the Sponsor, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and has been authorized to address the aquatic ecosystem restoration needs of the watershed located within Jefferson and St. Louis Counties, Missouri.