The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' story began more than 200 years ago when Congress established the Continental Army with a provision for a chief engineer on June 16, 1775. The Army established the Corps of Engineers as a separate, permanent branch on March 16, 1802, and gave the engineers responsibility for founding and operating the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Since then, the Corps has responded to changing defense requirements and played an integral part in the development of the country. Throughout the 19th century, the Corps built coastal fortifications, surveyed roads and canals, eliminated navigational hazards, explored and mapped the Western frontier, and constructed buildings and monuments in the Nation’s capital. While the mission and tasks have evolved with the needs and priorities of the Nation, the dedication and commitment of the workforce has remained constant.
Here at San Francisco District:
"Essayons is the motto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It translates to “Let us try!” in French. But “try” for the Army Corps is not a half-hearted “try.” Trying means bringing all of our skills, talents, resources and gusto to bear on a challenge. It means that we will try, and we will try until we succeed."
That is the spirit the San Francisco District brings to our mission of delivering navigation, flood risk management, ecosystem restoration and government facilities solutions in the Bay Area and the coastal watersheds of Northern California. That is the spirit we bring to addressing the nation’s toughest challenge yet: climate change.
Sea level rise, extreme weather patterns and other climate impacts threaten our communities, critical infrastructure and habitats. It is our duty to be an engaged and collaborative partner in developing bold and innovative solutions that help the region adapt to this accelerating crisis.
- History: We are the oldest USACE district on the Pacific Coast, providing value to the Nation since 1866.
- Economic: We support 22 Federal ship channels and SF Bay Area's $75B annual maritime industry. We are also custodians of the debris removal (>1,200 tons per year) mission in SF Bay.
- Environmental: Our District oversees some of the largest wetlands restoration projects on the West Coast, and we are leading the effort to beneficially reuse dredged material. Our district also "owns" and is recovering the last viable population of an endangered species—Coho salmon on Russian River—recognized by NOAA as a "Habitat Blueprint for Success."
- Emergency Response: Reducing disaster risk for 6.5 million people and economies of SF Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Sonoma, Napa and Central Coast. 99 percent chance of big earthquake in next 30 years, per USGS. Additional risks include flooding, sea level change and wildfires.