NNBF Engagements


23 February 2017 – NNBF Collaborative Workshop between USACE and NOAA

On February 23, 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service conducted a meeting on Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF) that was focused on the Texas coast. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen collaboration, understanding, and creative application of NNBF; facilitate appropriate implementation of NNBF solutions for increased resilience, and seek opportunities to leverage resources. Participants identified clear, prioritized activities along the Texas coast to form the basis for consideration of future collaborations.

NNBF Workshop Materials – 2017

Background: This meeting was the third USACE/NOAA Collaboration Workshop on Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF) over the last 12 months. It was attended by 24 participants representing USACE (Galveston District and US Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center), NOAA’s National Ocean Service (Office for Coastal Management and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science), and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (Restoration Center). Participants included leadership at numerous levels, a variety of roles in USACE and NOAA, and diverse disciplines and programmatic backgrounds. During the 1-day workshop, the participants gained a greater understanding for how missions are executed and for ongoing/future-anticipated, NNBF-related work within the respective agencies. The workshop included plenary and breakout group (comprised of a mixture of USACE and NOAA participants) discussions. These discussions resulted in the identification of areas where the two organizations could collaborate along the Texas Coast to address information gaps and advance practice on NNBF.

Outcomes: The high quality of engagement among USACE and NOAA participants was evidenced by focused and energetic presentations that inspired a productive dialogue and ultimately resulted in the identification of high-priority, NNBF needs and opportunities along the Texas coast. In turn, NNBF project ideas were identified, which included several that integrated science, engineering, management, and evaluation practices. Decreasing uncertainty gaps and increasing confidence in the design, construction, performance, and ecosystem services produced by NNBF were key themes of the 1-day workshop. NNBF-related projects and activities within USACE’s Galveston District were identified as potential opportunities for coordinated action to address the gaps. Workshop participants developed for consideration an initial list of specific, collaborative opportunities within a portfolio that included a mix of more than 25 near to long-term efforts. Specific examples of NNBF project collaboration opportunities in Galveston District included, but were not limited to:

  1. Matagorda Bay west foreshore island and wetland creation;
  2. Galveston Bay subaquatic ecosystem restoration;
  3. South Padre Island sand engine and placement;
  4. Jefferson County large scale shoreline and marsh restoration;
  5. Creation of breakwaters along the Galveston Intracoastal Waterway;
  6. Studies of Mission Aransas NERR beneficial use site(s) and associated NNBF;
  7. Identification of data gaps across agencies, such as modeling and evaluation of ecosystem benefits, with implementation of methods to improve data sharing; and
  8. Expand our knowledge and understanding of NNBF solutions that are derived through assessment/management activities and also satisfy environmental compliance requirements.

Next Steps: The immediate next steps that will be taken following the workshop include:

  1. Prepare a joint, 1-page executive summary of the workshop (present document);
  2. Distribute a draft workshop proceedings report to senior leadership for feedback by April 28, 2017, which will be followed by report finalization and joint publication; and
  3. Hold a senior leadership team follow-up teleconference by March 24, 2017, to track progress.
  4. Engage the USACE-NOAA NNBF Collaboration Strategy Leadership and Coordination Groups to solicit their input on the identified project opportunities.

Use or reproduction of any slides/graphics or portions of figures etc. found herein shall contain an acknowledgment of the author/institution and be by permission of the author.

1-3 March 2016 – NNBF Collaborative Workshop between USACE and NOAA 

A collaboration workshop on the topic of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) between the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration-National Ocean Service (NOAA-NOS) was held on 01-03 March in Charleston, South Carolina. NNBF refers to those features that define natural coastal landscapes and are either naturally occurring or engineered to mimic natural conditions. Some examples of NNBF are beaches and dunes, salt marshes, oyster reefs, and barrier islands.

NNBF Workshop Materials – 2016

The objectives of the workshop included to:

  1. Identify high-priority, resilience-based NNBF projects of common interest to USACE and NOAA-NOS;
  2. Categorize and prioritize projects that are identified for future collaboration;
  3. Form a USACE/NOAA-NOS Leadership and Implementation Group to provide agency advocacy and oversight; and
  4. Develop and publish a joint USACE/NOAA-NOS report that documents results of the workshop.

The workshop included a plenary session where USACE and NOAA-NOS senior leaders presented agency overviews related to NNBF and interactive breakout sessions to gather input on uncertainty, opportunities and challenges concerning NNBF. Forty workshop participants represented USACE (Headquarters, North Atlantic and South Atlantic Divisions, Galveston and Philadelphia Districts, ERDC Environmental and Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratories, and the Institute for Water Resources) and NOAA (National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Office for Coastal Management, Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, National Geodetic Survey, National Marine Fisheries Service).

Use or reproduction of any slides/graphics or portions of figures etc. found herein shall contain an acknowledgment of the author/institution and be by permission of the author.

Click to see performance factors


16-17 May 2019 – NNBF Symposium at Edinburgh’s Centre for Carbon Innovation, Edinburgh, Scotland 

During May 16th –17th, 2019, England’s Environment Agency and USACE’s Engineering With Nature (EWN) Initiative hosted a Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF) Symposium at Edinburgh’s Centre for Carbon Innovation, Edinburgh, Scotland. Over 100 people from 15 different countries attended the symposium, which offered a range of topics including, but not limited to: the UK’s Building With Nature (BwN) Program, Natural Flood Management in the UK’s Cumbria, UK’s Land4Flood Program, NNBF practices in the United States, and sandy reinforcement of Houtribdijk in the Netherlands. The symposium also offered a breakout session for participants to learn more about specific ways to deliver nature-based solutions through more focused discussions about projects and associated best practices, which were derived from this international community. The symposium concluded on Friday (May 19th) with site visits to the Eddleston Water Project and Belford Natural Flood Scheme Project. The Symposium was offered in conjunction with a planned, in-person meeting of the working group for the International NNBF Guidelines Project that occurred May 13th-15th, 2019. Please see the NNBF Guidelines Project – Spring 2019 to learn more about the agenda and exhibits associated with the meeting.

NNBF Symposium Materials – 2019
May 16th, Symposium Presentations
May 17th, Symposium Site Visits
Additional Information

20 September 2018 – NNBF Symposium at University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California

On September 20, 2018, USACE, The Nature Conservancy and the University of California Santa Cruz hosted a Symposium on Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF). The symposium included a range of topics information specific to NNBF practices and example projects that promote resilience and flood risk reduction; application/utility of specific NNBF types (coastal and riverine/fluvial examples); valuation and benefits analysis, which includes engineering, environmental, and socio‐economic; US and international examples of NNBF projects; the important role of community and stakeholder engagement; and R&D efforts that support NNBF solutions. Four sessions were offered and included 15 speakers from a diverse set of organizations that are applying Engineering With Nature (EWN) practices in pursuit of enhanced coastal resilience.

NNBF Workshop Materials – 2017
Session I: NNBF Projects and Associated Applications/Techniques in Western US
  1. Hamilton and Sears Point Projects by Julien Meisler, Sonoma Land Trust, and Elizabeth Murray, USACE-ERDC
  2. Strategic Sediment Placement in SF Bay by Jeremy Lowe, San Francisco Estuary Institute
  3. 2013 Colorado Flood Recovery: A Case Study in Riverine/Fluvial NNBF Applications by Randy H. Mandel, Great Ecology, Inc.
Session II: Communication, Collaboration and Public Engagement
  1. Telling the Story of NNBF by Doug Parsons, America Adapts Media
  2. Public Engagement on NNBF: Building the Case by Sarah Newkirk, The Nature Conservancy
  3. Large Scale and Long Term: The Role of Science and Collaboration in Large Ecosystem Restoration Projects by Anne Morkill, USFWS San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex
  4. FEMA Perspectives on NNBF by Katie Grasty, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Session III: Valuation, Financing, and Perspectives on NNBF Integration to Enhance Flood Risk Reduction Strategies
  1. Rigorously Valuing the Flood Savings from Wetlands and Reefs for Insurance and Disaster Recovery by Mike Beck, The Nature Conservancy
  2. Financing Natural and Nature-based Features: How to Pay for NNBF by Charlie Colgan, MIIS Center for Blue Economy
  3. Natural Capital Solutions in the Private Sector by Jim South, The Nature Conservancy
  4. Mainstreaming Nature Based Solutions in World Bank Flood Risk Reduction Investments by Denis Jean-Jacques Jordy, The World Bank
Session IV: International NNBF Pursuits and Resilience Efforts in California’s North Bay Watershed
  1. NNBF Examples and Flood Risk Reduction Measures in the Netherlands by Quirijn Lodder, Rijkswaterstaat
  2. NNBF & Flood Risk Reduction Projects from Canada by Enda Murphy, National Research Council-Canada
  3. North Bay Watershed Resilience by LTC Travis Rayfield, USACE San Francisco District