The Network for Engineering With Nature

N-EWN

The Network for Engineering with Nature (N-EWN) is an active community of researchers, practitioners, and educators who are addressing the major infrastructure challenges facing our society while creating opportunities that align ecological, social, and engineering processes to achieve multiple societal benefits.

To view research projects, see member organizations, or to join the network visit the N-EWN website.

NEWN researchers partnering across organizations are:

  • advancing methods to use natural infrastructure for more resilient communities,
  • creating models and dashboards that allow designers to map out natural infrastructure benefits to society, and
  • empowering a new generation of engineers, ecologists, and social scientists through education and workforce development.

The N-EWN Knowledge Series

The N-EWN Knowledge Series is a continuing education series about Engineering with Nature. Continuing Education Credits (1-hr) are available to all attendees who join live.

Register Here.

September 2022 – Opportunities for Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) in Unique Island Contexts: Puerto Rico

Guest speakers, Dave Hampton (LimnoTech) and Burton Suedel (ERDC-EL), will present EWN® highlights from the March 2022 symposium: Basin Sediment Management for Unique Island Topography: From Mountain to Estuary, featuring lessons learned from site visits throughout the Añasco River watershed and exploring exciting opportunities for green infrastructure (GI), Low Impact Development (LID) and tropical island EWN® interventions designed to minimize the impacts of storm events. 

July 2022 – Consideration of Natural Infrastructure for Flood Hazard Reduction: in a numerical modeling framework

Dr. Matthew Bilskie, Assistant Professor with University of Georgia’s College of Engineering and Director of the Coastal Ocean Analysis and Simulation Team (COAST) continues last month’s discussion on CSTORM, the Engineering With Nature® Toolkit for ERDC’s Coastal Storm System. This month’s N-EWN webinar focuses on the environmental side with predicting the benefits of flood protection for nature-based features (NBF) and how these features can attenuate flooding.

June 2022 – Economic valuation of nature-based infrastructure

The common method used to calculate Benefit-cost analysis does not incorporate the often-times greater long-term benefits of natural infrastructure (NI) over conventional approaches, putting the selection of NI at a disadvantage. Several groups are moving toward an ecosystem services approach to identifying benefits that people obtain from ecosystems including the European Union, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Dr. Ben Blachy gives a summary of a technical report on Benefit-cost analysis and how this computation is used to prioritize projects and choose between options.

May 2022 – An EWN Toolkit for ERDC’s Coastal Storm (CSTORM) Modeling System

In this webinar, Dr. Amanda Tritinger discusses CSTORM, the Engineering With Nature® Toolkit for ERDC’s Coastal Storm System, a toolkit developed to combine natural and nature-based features into existing numerical models.

April 2022 – Restoring the Nisqually Delta

In 2009, the tidal waters of Puget Sound breached the Brown Farm Dike in efforts to restore the Nisqually Delta. This was the culmination of the largest tidal marsh restoration project in the Pacific Northwest. Daniel Krenz, regulatory section chief and project manager with the USACE Seattle District, discusses the history of the Nisqually Delta, restoration planning, pre- and post-restoration monitoring efforts as well as lessons learned.

March 2022 – Future Synergy Between Infrastructure and Biodiversity Conservation

This webinar focuses on the relationship between Biodiversity and its conservation and Infrastructure and related disciplines, why this is important for today’s challenges, what this relationship looks like, how it has changed, and what it will look like in the future. Dr. Charles B. van Rees addresses what we can do as professionals to address these issues.

February 2022 – Monitoring and Adaptive Management in EWN Projects

Technically sound, efficient and applicable methods are needed to track natural infrastructure performance over time, develop the evidence base for future designs, ensure compliance with policy, and inform project operations and adaptive management. Dr. Safra Altman discusses a holistic monitoring framework for natural infrastructure, the specific considerations for monitoring before and after extreme events, and outlines an example in coastal Mississippi. Also check out this EWN podcast with Dr. Altman, Adding Value to Climate Change Initiatives.

January 2022 – Quantifying the Multi-Scale Benefits of Natural and Nature-Based Features

Natural and nature-based features (NNBF) provide a diverse suite of benefits to society, including flood risk reduction, socio-economic development, water and food security, and habitat. Unlike traditional structural measures, benefits of NNBF accrue over time due to the inherent dynamism of natural features. Capturing and quantifying the benefits requires a multi-scale approach to benefits analysis. This presentation provides an introduction to multiscale benefits analysis for NNBF to be included in project planning and engineering design.

November 2021 – Operationalizing Equity for Integrated Water Resources

Advancing social equity has been implicitly and explicitly central to international water resources policy for decades. However, water resources planning sometimes fail to fully embrace this crucial concept. Inclusion of equity within water resources infrastructure is often inhibited by an incomplete conceptual understanding of equity, a perceived lack of quantitative and qualitative equity metrics, unclear connections between equity and standard project planning frameworks, and the absence of concrete examples. In this presentation, we describe equity relative to dimensions of distribution, procedure, and recognition and identify metrics associated with each. We then map these dimensions of equity to different stages of a water resources project life cycle and highlight case studies illustrating best practices. By providing pragmatic responses to these four barriers, our intent is to facilitate a broader and deeper inclusion of equity in water resources planning, engineering, and management.

October 2021 – Living Shoreline Policy

Adapting shoreline stabilization infrastructure and approaches to sea-level rise will require measures that improve federal, state, and local governance mechanisms; promote nature-based management practices; and change property owner behavior that affects coastal areas.  This presentation focuses on shoreline stabilization law and policy, specifically the ocean-facing and estuarine protection laws in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.  Hear an overview of important distinctions between how we manage ocean-facing and estuarine-facing shorelines as well as a wide variety of values and interests driving them. Lastly learn how increasing the use of living shorelines will require policy innovation and new approaches to shoreline management at the state level.

September 2021 – Characterizing USACE EWN Projects

This presentation reviews the current EWN ProMap and how proposed changes to the online database will increase our ability to track and assess how well projects are contributing to multiple environmental, economic, and social benefits. Proposed changes to the data entry field include information on what assessment methods were used to calculate benefits and how aspects of the project contribute to various ecosystem goods and services.

Background

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in partnership with the University of Georgia (UGA) established the Network for Engineering With Nature (N-EWN). N-EWN was developed to accelerate the delivery of nature-based solutions and natural infrastructure in the public and private sectors.

The collaboration was initiated by USACE researchers led by Dr. Todd Bridges, the EWN national lead, and Dr. Jeffrey King, EWN program manager. Sixteen UGA researchers from ten different colleges and departments will apply their expertise to the acceleration of EWN. The project leader for UGA is Dr. Brian Bledsoe, a professor in the College of Engineering and Director of the Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems. The N-EWN partnership also draws from the expertise of the UGA’s River Basin Center and Center for Integrative Conservation Research.

USACE presented a $2.5 million award to UGA to establish the collaborative network, which will be a clearinghouse for tools, products, and outreach for researchers and practitioners from both organizations working on nature-based solutions and natural infrastructure projects. Additionally, the partnership seeks to expand N-EWN by inviting other academic institutions, federal agencies, and private industry partners to join the network. Visit N-EWN

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