General Investigation studies refer to the traditional and most common way for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assist a community in addressing large-scale, complex water resource problems. These types of studies are typically conducted in partnership with a non-federal entity (known as a sponsor).
Congress has provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with a number of standing authorities to study and build water resource projects for various purposes and with specified limits on how much federal money can be spent for a project. The Continuing Authorities Program is a collection of these authorities established to allow for expedited project development and approval, resulting in a decrease in the amount of time it takes to get smaller, less complex projects constructed. Each of these authorities carries with it pre-approved authority for construction without the need for additional congressional authority, provided the recommended project falls within the parameters of the specific program.