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Posted 11/2/2017

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By Andrew Kornacki

The Federal Government’s fiscal year (FY) begins October 1 and ends September 30, and is often the time period that is used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine how well it delivered its mission, serving as the Nation’s environmental engineer in both military and civilian needs.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works mission provides a key foundational component of the Nation’s public infrastructure that facilitates economic growth, quality of life, environmental health and national security for the American people. During Fiscal Year 2017 the USACE, Buffalo District delivered $92.3 million worth of programs, contributing to the Army Corps of Engineers mission success, while delivering on promises to District stakeholders.

“Our mission success in FY17 was due to a great team effort by the dedicated professionals of the Buffalo District working with stakeholders throughout our area of operations,” said LTC Adam Czekanski, USACE Buffalo District Commander.

Success came in many forms across many business lines. 

“$54.6 million in contracts obligated, 2.148 million cubic yards of sediments dredged, 1,469 regulatory permits issued; these numbers are far above where the District was in Fiscal Year 2016,” said Dave Romano, Deputy District Engineer.  “We also saw great success with our navigation, and recreation missions.”

Mount Morris Dam and the Black Rock Lock played a dual role, contributing to recreation as well as flood risk reduction and aid to navigation respectfully.  The dam hosted about 138,000 visitors during FY17 and to date has delivered $2.68 billion in flood damages prevented, not bad for a 65-year-old structure.  The 104-year-old Black Rock Lock conducted 1,590 lockages, passing 2,488 commercial and recreational vessels.

An emerging business line for the Buffalo District in FY17 has been the Interagency and International Services program. 

“The program provides an avenue for our partners both within and outside the Federal family to connect with and utilize our extremely skilled workforce of engineers, scientists, and technical experts,” said Romano.  “A perfect example of how this program works is the Braddock Bay project in Greece, NY along the Lake Ontario shoreline.  The Environmental Protection agency provided us the funding, and our technical team, partners, and stakeholders delivered a project that will improve habitat diversity and reduce erosion of the existing emergent marsh through the construction of a barrier beach.”

What’s at the center of all this success? People!

“Internally we focused on building the next generation of leaders through leadership development programs, and matching the aspirations of the workforce.  Part of this is to encourage our technical staff to pursue professional licenses and certifications.  This fiscal year we had 72 employees earn or renew licenses and certifications,” said LTC Czekanski. “The mission is not possible without our amazing people.”

It is not just the people who work for the Army Corps of Engineers that drove success. 

“Many partners, stakeholders, contractors, were part of the District’s success,” said Romano.  “We focused on collaborating with our external stakeholders to understand their needs, develop common goals and reduce overall risk.”

With FY17 completed and FY18 already underway, the District’s focus has now shifted with new goals set.

“FY18 has already presented new challenges with many of our employees deployed in support of hurricane recovery efforts, as well as for enduring operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This just reinforces the Buffalo District’s commitment to the needs of our Nation,” said LTC Czekanski.  “We will continue to pursue opportunities to reduce risk exposure in our mission areas in order to successfully deliver our program again in FY18."

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