System Wide Improvement Framework

USACE levee systems that are eligible for rehabilitation assistance under Public Law (P.L.) 84-99 following flood or storm damage include those federally-authorized, operated and maintained by a non-federal sponsor or non-federally built, operated and maintained by a non-federal sponsor. These levees remain eligible if they are operated and maintained to acceptable or minimally acceptable standards.

USACE now offers non-federal sponsors a process through the system-wide improvement framework (SWIF) to remain temporarily eligible for P.L. 84-99 assistance while they correct unacceptable operation and maintenance deficiencies as part of a broader, system-wide improvement to their levee systems. Submitting a system-wide improvement framework plan is a two step process. A Letter of Intent is submitted followed by submission of a SWIF plan. The applicant has up to two years to develop the plan.

A SWIF provides committed sponsors the opportunity to transition their levees over time to USACE standards. By using a SWIF, sponsors can prioritize deficiencies to address the highest risk first to achieve system-wide risk reduction.

In preparing the requirements for a SWIF, USACE recognized that sponsors may engage at the federal, state, and local levels to address complex levee system issues in a more long-term, comprehensive approach to identify solutions that optimize resources; prioritize improvements and corrective actions based on risk; and coordinate overlapping or competing programs and requirements.

Examples of situations where a SWIF is appropriate are when a longer-term, holistic approach may be necessary to address multiple engineering deficiencies AND operation and maintenance deficiencies; when broader improvements involve multiple levee segments/systems; or when additional time and coordination are needed to consider complex, endangered species habitat or Native American concerns while meeting requirements for levee safety.

The following should be considered prior to submitting a SWIF:

  • A SWIF may include corrective action for overarching operation and maintenance deficiencies, for example, a system-wide culvert replacement.
  • A SWIF is not intended for correction only of individual operation and maintenance deficiencies, for example, a single culvert replacement.
  • A SWIF is not a process for acceptance into the P.L. 84-99 program.
  • A SWIF may include a vegetation variance request.
  • A SWIF recognizes regional differences.
  • A SWIF must be closely synchronized to align with other USACE levee policies.