||The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates over 500 reservoirs in the U.S.,
the majority of which are 50 years old. As the agency looks to the future, it is crucial
for it to understand which reservoirs continue to meet design and operational goals.
This report examines the Corps’ reservoir policy and historic operations to assess
the reservoirs’ need for adaptation, focusing on the Wilmington District in Southeastern
U.S. Four metrics are developed using Corps data and documentation. The metrics are
synthesized via a model that presents 5 Wilmington reservoirs as a system. The model
helps visualize concepts of operational flexibility and thresholds of adaptation,
though reliable estimates of the latter could not be gleaned from Corps documentation.
The report concludes that the agency's wide discretion is at odds with the establishment
of thresholds for adaptation. This disincentive may undermine the Corps' ability to
prepare for climate challenges of the 21st century.