President Obama’s Budget for fiscal 2011 includes more than $4.9 billion in gross discretionary funding for the Civil Works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and about $1.8 billion in construction spending.

Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, said the budget focuses on commercial navigation, flood and coastal storm damage reduction, and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects. The Army Civil Works program also addresses projects related to the nation’s waters and wetlands; the restoration of sites contaminated from atomic weapons development programs; and emergency preparedness and training to respond to natural disasters.

Highlights of the FY11 funding include: $2.4 billion for operation and maintenance; nearly $1.8 billion for construction; $240 million for the Mississippi River and tributaries; $193 million for the regulatory program; $130 million for the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program; $104 million for investigations; and $30 million for flood control and coastal emergencies.

The FY11 Operation and Maintenance program, funded at $2.5 billion, emphasizes performance of existing projects by focusing on the maintenance of key commercial navigation, flood and storm damage reduction and other facilities. Among navigation projects, the O&M program gives priority to harbors and waterway segments that support high volumes of commercial traffic. The budget also funds harbors that support significant commercial fishing, subsistence or public transportation benefits.

The FY11 O&M program also includes $15 million for the National Levee Inventory Program for ongoing development of the national levee database. Roughly $3 million is provided for the Coastal Data Information Program and $10 million for Global Change Sustainability.

The FY11 construction program funds 95 construction projects, consisting of 10 dam safety assurance, seepage control and static instability correction projects; 20 projects justified on the basis of life-saving benefits; six project completions; two new starts; and 57 other continuing projects.

By program area, the 95 funded construction projects comprise 49 flood and storm damage reduction projects; 25 commercial navigation projects; 17 aquatic ecosystem restoration projects; and four hydropower replacement projects.

Contained within the construction budget is $180 million for South Florida ecosystem restoration, which includes the Everglades, plus $105 million for seepage control related to the Herbert Hoover Dike, also in Florida.