Publications

A collection of journal and magazine articles, books, and technical reports featuring Engineering With Nature.

April 2022 – A strategic monitoring approach for learning to improve natural infrastructure

Charles B. van Rees, Laura Naslund, Darixa D. Hernandez-Abrams, S. Kyle McKay, C. Brock Woodson, Amy Rosemond, Brian McFall, Safra Altman, and Seth J. Wenger

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Natural infrastructure (NI) development, including ecosystemrestoration, is an increasingly popular approach to leverage ecosystem services for sustainable development, climate resilience, and biodiversity conservation goals. Although implementation and planning for these tools is accelerating, there is a critical need for effective post-implementation monitoring to accumulate performance data and evidence for best practices. The complexity and longer time scales associated with NI, compounded by differing disciplinary definitions and concepts of monitoring necessitate a deliberate and strategic approach to monitoring that encompasses different timeframes and objectives. This paper outlines a typology of monitoring classes differentiated by temporal scale, purpose of data collection, the information benefits of monitoring, and the responsible party. Next, we provide a framework and practical guidelines for designing monitoring plans for NI around learning objectives. In particular, we emphasize conducting research and development monitoring, which provides scientifically rigorous evidence for methodological improvement beyond the project scale. Wherever feasible, and where NI tools are relatively new and untested, such monitoring should avoid wasted effort and ensure progress and refinement of methodology and practice over time. Finally, we propose institutional changes that would promote greater adoption of research and development monitoring to increase the evidence base for NI implementation at larger scales.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155078

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April 2022 – Innovations in Coastline Management With Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF): Lessons Learned From Three Case Studies

Cindy M. Palinkas, Philip Orton, Michelle A. Hummel, William Nardin, Ariana E. Sutton-Grier, Lora Harris, Matthew Gray, Ming Li, Donna Ball, Kelly Burks-Copes, Meri Davlasheridze, Matthieu De Schipper, Douglas A. George, Dave Halsing, Coraggio Maglio, Joseph Marrone, S. Kyle McKay, Heidi Nutters, Katherine Orff, Marcel Taal, Alexander P. E. Van Oudenhoven, William Veatch, and Tony Williams

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Coastal communities around the world are facing increased coastal flooding and shoreline erosion from factors such as sea-level rise and unsustainable development practices. Coastal engineers and managers often rely on gray infrastructure such as seawalls, levees and breakwaters, but are increasingly seeking to incorporate more sustainable natural and nature-based features (NNBF). While coastal restoration projects have been happening for decades, NNBF projects go above and beyond coastal restoration. They seek to provide communities with coastal protection from storms, erosion, and/or flooding while also providing some of the other natural benefits that restored habitats provide. Yet there remain many unknowns about how to design and implement these projects. This study examines three innovative coastal resilience projects that use NNBF approaches to improve coastal community resilience to flooding while providing a host of other benefits: 1) Living Breakwaters in New York Harbor; 2) the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study; and 3) the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project in San Francisco Bay. We synthesize findings from these case studies to report areas of progress and illustrate remaining challenges. All three case studies began with innovative project funding and framing that enabled expansion beyond a sole focus on flood risk reduction to include multiple functions and benefits. Each project involved stakeholder engagement and incorporated feedback into the design process. In the Texas case study this dramatically shifted one part of the project design from a more traditional, gray approach to a more natural hybrid solution. We also identified common challenges related to permitting and funding, which often arise as a consequence of uncertainties in performance and long-term sustainability for diverse NNBF approaches. The Living Breakwaters project is helping to address these uncertainties by using detailed computational and physical modeling and a variety of experimental morphologies to help facilitate learning while monitoring future performance. This paper informs and improves future sustainable coastal resilience projects by learning from these past innovations, highlighting the need for integrated and robust monitoring plans for projects after implementation, and emphasizing the critical role of stakeholder engagement.

https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2022.814180

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July 2021 – An Assessment of Long-Term, Multipurpose Ecosystem Functions and Engineering Benefits Derived from Historical Dredged Sediment Beneficial Use Projects

Jacob F. Berkowitz, Nathan R. Beane, Kevin D. Philley, Nia R. Hurst, and Jake F. Jung

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The beneficial use of dredged materials improves environmental outcomes while maximizing navigation benefits and minimizing costs, in accordance with the principles of the Engineering With Nature® (EWN) initiative. Yet, few studies document the long-term benefits of innovative dredged material management strategies or conduct comprehensive life-cycle analysis because of a combination of (1) short monitoring time frames and (2) the paucity of constructed projects that have reached ecological maturity. In response, we conducted an ecological functional and engineering benefit assessment of six historic (>40 years old) dredged material–supported habitat improvement projects where initial postconstruction beneficial use monitoring data was available. Conditions at natural reference locations were also documented to facilitate a comparison between natural and engineered landscape features. Results indicate the projects examined provide valuable habitat for a variety of species in addition to yielding a number of engineering (for example, shoreline protection) and other (for example, carbon storage) benefits. Our findings also suggest establishment of ecological success criteria should not overemphasize replicating reference conditions but remain focused on achieving specific ecological functions (that is, habitat and biogeochemical cycling) and engineering benefits (that is, storm surge reduction, navigation channel maintenance) achievable through project design and operational management.

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April 2022 – New Initiatives Improve Wetland Restoration Outcomes: Engineering with Nature and the Use of Natural and Nature-Based Features

Jacob F. Berkowitz and Nia R. Hurst

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For some time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has supported an initiative called Engineering With Nature® (EWN) and the application of Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF), both of which promote the incorporation of natural processes and structures into the design and operation of ecological restoration and flood risk reduction projects. Each approach is introduced below, with an emphasis on potential applications in a wetland restoration context. Additionally, examples of recent and ongoing case studies that align with these initiatives are discussed.

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February 2022 – Walter Marine and Atlantic Reefmaker Wave Attenuator

Duncan B. Bryant and Leigh A. Provost

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As part of a testing service agreement with Walter Marine and Atlantic Reefmaker, a 1:5.2 physical model of the Reefmaker Wave Attenuator was constructed and tested by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center to evaluate its influence on wave attenuation. The tested prototype wave periods ranged from 2.5 to 8 sec with prototype wave heights between 1 ft and 6.5 ft. The Reefmaker Wave Attenuator included orthogonal and square designs and was tested under a variety of configurations including a suspended configuration, a bed-mounted configuration, and a rotated configuration. Testing demonstrated that depending on configurations and wavelength, the wave transmission coefficients ranged from 0.29 to 0.70. The most improvement, however, was demonstrated when testing the square unit designs with transmission coefficients, kt, below 0.51. The smallest kt of 0.29 occurred during square unit testing, which consisted of eight bed-mounted, square Ecosystem disks plus a base unit (24.05 in. freeboard) and with a wave period of 3.0 sec and height of 0.84 ft. Of all 134 tests performed, including the suspended case, the average transmission through the structure was 58%.

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February 2022 – Supporting Mission Resilience through Natural Infrastructure

Todd Bridges, Jeffrey King, and Courtney Chambers

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Many of the challenges and opportunities that the Department of Defense (DOD) will face throughout the balance of the 21st century relate to building and sustaining the infrastructure needed for mission resilience. Currently, DOD and its 3 million team members operate on more than 25-million-acres and nearly 5,000 sites in different regions, climates, and landscapes in the United States and around the world. Over the last five years, military installations have experienced more than $10 billion in damage from storms, flooding, and other natural hazards. These risks are compounded by combinations of natural hazards, climate change, and aging infrastructure. Given the complexity of DOD’s mission, there are not many instances where simple “silver bullet” infrastructure solutions are sufficient. Creating resilient systems requires innovation and action. Meeting this need will require new ways of thinking about complex problems, an openness to new solutions, a willingness to change, and a commitment to adaptation.

For the last 10 years, an initiative within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working to develop and implement approaches that leverage natural systems to support critical engineering functions while also delivering a diversity of economic, environmental, and social co-benefits. The progress achieved through Engineering With Nature (EWN) over the last decade has been the product of numerous projects, partnerships, technical advancements, and communication investments.

These efforts are accelerating the innovation and delivery of nature-based solutions. The natural landscapes, features, and processes situated on DOD’s footprint can and will play a dynamic role in natural hazard mitigation. Through stewardship and investment, these assets comprise 25-million-acres of risk reduction potential—an opportunity that science and engineering practitioners can focus on to create nature-based solutions that support DOD readiness and resilience.

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February 2022 – Engineering With Nature + Landscape Architecture Tikigaq / Point Hope

Jeffrey King, Burton Suedel, Amanda Tritinger, Nick Cohn, Tom Douglas,Lauren Bosche, Rob Holmes, Romina Delgado, Anna Mitchell, Sean Burkholder, Kathryn Dunn, Rob Levinthal, Brian Davis, Sarai Carter, Christopher Porter, Gena Wirth, Brett Milligan, Sam Whitin, Taber Midgley, Dan Savercool, Melissa Becker, Ellen Jessup McDermott, Christopher Small, and Erin Barry

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This report outlines a series of research and analytical exercises conducted by our DRC team intended to assist the ongoing efforts to understand and characterize the cultural and ecological histories and processes in and around the city and village of Point Hope (Tikigaq) Alaska. Following ths analysis, our team assisted in the development and communication of a range of possible nature-based strategies that could address some of the concerns of the local Native Alaskan community. These concerns could be generalized as:

  1. Coastal protection and cultural landscape preservation.
  2. Loss of ice cellars (sigluaqs) due to permafrost melting and water intrusion.
  3. Water access for boats.
  4. Lack of emergency evacuation route to high ground.

The design concepts in this report combine Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) approaches to infrastructure design with landscape architectural (LA) approaches to infrastructure design in order to identify opportunities to incorporate “Natural and Nature-Based Features” (NNBF) into proposed project infrastructure for the community of Point Hope. As described by the EWN® initiative, NNBF “are landscape features that are used to provide engineering functions relevant to flood risk management, while producing additional economic, environmental, and/or social benefits. These features may occur naturally in landscapes or be engineered, constructed and/or restored to mimic natural conditions. A strategy that combines NNBF with nonstructural and structural measures represents an integrated approach to flood risk management that can deliver a broad array of ecosystem goods and services to local communities.”

The analysis and proposals in this report were the product of a strong collaboration with EA engineering and their ongoing relationship with members of the local Native Alaskan community of Point Hope. Members of our team also accompanied EA on a trip to Point Hope in the summer of 2021 to assist in data collection and community outreach. The material in this report is not intended to be comprehensive of all of the work being done by the larger EA team, but instead outline our contributions and serve as a supplement to that larger effort.

This report is divided into two main sections, the first being the various components of Analysis undertaken by our team and the other, the collection of Proposed NNBF features.

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June 2021 – Advancing nature-based solutions by leveraging Engineering With Nature® strategies and landscape architectural practices in highly collaborative settings

Jeffrey King, Rob Holmes, Sean Burkholder, Justine Holzman, and Burton Suedel

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Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)’s Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) initiative consistently promotes the use of collaboration for identifying innovative, nature-based solutions (NBS) that lead to more resilient communities and water-based infrastructure. In recent years, EWN researchers, in partnership with landscape architects (LAs) affiliated with the Dredge Research Collaborative (DRC), have championed an innovative, collaborative strategy that offers traditional planners an opportunity to participate in visioning exercises during the initial phases of coastal storm risk management projects. This has resulted in the identification, development, and incorporation of design concepts that prioritize NBS and the placement of natural and nature-based features (NNBF). These concepts, and their development process, have been documented in reports for the use of both the participating planners and other audiences interested in innovative NNBF. Upon observing these favorable outcomes, it has become clear that the integration of disciplines—landscape architecture, applied science, and engineering—has increased our ability to process, utilize, and communicate complex information. Both groups (i.e., DRC’s LAs and EWN engineers and scientists) have considerable experience related to infrastructure design and performance; they elucidate ways to achieve functional engineering criteria while also maximizing ecological value and/or promoting more recreational opportunities. However, this partnership also produces a complementary set of uniquely acquired skills and expertise, which advances the development of NBS through accelerated and more meaningful communications. This study will offer insight into the partnership, collaborative techniques, and resulting products that have fostered innovation as well as advocacy for more sustainable infrastructure. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2022;18:108–114. © 2021 SETAC. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.

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April 2021 – A framework for evaluating island restoration performance: A case study from the Chesapeake Bay

Jenny Davis, Paula Whitfield, Danielle Szimanski, Becky R. Golden, Matt Whitbeck, Joe Gailani, Brook Herman, Amanda Tritinger, Sally C. Dillon, and Jeffrey King

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Abstract: The use of natural habitats for coastal protection (also known as Nature-Based Solutions or NBS) in place of engineered structures like breakwaters and seawalls can yield a wide range of ecological and economic benefits. Despite these advantages, NBS are not commonly implemented for shoreline protection due to uncertainty over the amount of protection afforded by each unique feature and how protective capacity and ecological benefits are likely to change over time as NBS mature and adapt to changing environmental drivers. Here, we highlight the recent restoration of Swan Island in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA, and the collaborative approach used to evaluate post-construction performance, as a framework for quantitative evaluation of NBS projects. At Swan Island, 60 000 cubic yards of dredged sediment were used to elevate and restore the island’s footprint with an emphasis on increasing its protective and ecological benefits and long-term resilience to sea-level rise. Five entities have leveraged resources to quantify the benefits and efficacy of island restoration by conducting pre- and post-restoration monitoring, which supports the development of an integrated, simulation model that includes three “measured” system parameters: wave height, vegetative biomass, and island profile (i.e., elevations). The model will be used to predict island performance under a range of different system scenarios and used to inform adaptive management options. Results will demonstrate the efficacy of leveraging natural and engineered processes to restore island systems while providing a framework for quantifying NBS. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2022;18:42–48. © 2021 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC). This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.

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The Role of Mangroves in Coastal Protection

November 2021 – The Role of Mangroves in Coastal Protection

Tori Tomiczek, Anna Wargula, Nia Hurst, Duncan Bryant, and Leigh Provost

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Summary: The purpose of this Engineering With Nature technical note (EWN TN) is to review previous studies of mangroves as a nature-based adaptation alternative for coastal protection and flood hazard mitigation.

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Restoring Marsh Habitat with Beneficial Use of Dredged Sediment from a Riverine Environment

Andrew McQueen, Burton Suedel, Justin Wilkens, Christina Saltus, Joseph Gailani, Jeffrey King, and Jeffery Corbino (page 5/65)

Utilization of Passive and Active Mechanical Dewatering Technologies to Process Navigational Dredged Material on a Small Footprint

W.S. Douglas, W. Henderson, J. Heeren, S. Minnich, and C. Mullan (page 24/65)

2014 Egmont Key Beneficial Use of High Fines Material Using Traditional Versus Cross Shore Swash Zone Placement

C. K. Maglio, J. D. Ousley, A. Hershorin, K. E. Brutsche, M. B. Taylor, Z. J. Taylor, and P. Wang (page 40/65)

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October 2021 – Infrastructure investment must incorporate Nature’s lessons in a rapidly changing world

Rusty Feagin, Todd Bridges, Brian Bledsoe, Elizabeth Losos, Susana Ferreira, Emily Corwin, Quirjin Lodder, Michael Beck, Borja Reguero, Ariana Sutton-Grier, Jens Figlus, Rowan Palmer, Donald Nelson, Carter Smith, Lydia Olander, Brian Silliman, Hans Pietersen, Robert Costanza, Rachel Gittman, Siddharth Narayan, Nigel Pontee, Mike Donahue, Don McNeill, and Todd Guidry

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Summary: Several of the major economies of the world plan to stimulate their post-COVID recovery by spending on infrastructure. Among economists and environmentalists, there is a broad consensus that this spending represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a more sustainable global economy. The opportunity for transformation abounds in programs as diverse as the European Union and South Korean “Green New Deal” initiatives, the United Nations, United Kingdom, and United States “Build Back Better” programs, and China’s 2060 commitment to carbon neutrality and its “Belt and Road” initiative. The future context is enormous—in excess of $81 trillion USD will be required to meet global infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. Without this infrastructure—to include the construction and protection of navigation and transportation routes; the maintenance of sustainable food, energy, and material supply lines; and the provision of clean water and sanitation— human development will suffer in both developing and developed countries.

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September 2021 – Water Level Management for Enhanced Fish and Wildlife Habitat Production in Upper Mississippi River Navigation Pools.

Charles Theiling, Benjamin McGuire, Gretchen Benjamin, Dave Busse, Jon Hendrickson, Kevin Kenow, Kevin Landwehr, Tim Schlagenhaft, and Mary Stefanski

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Summary: There is a long history of fish and wildlife management associated with Upper Mississippi River navigation dams owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Many operational changes have been made to improve aquatic habitat, with recent emphasis on pool-scale drawdowns to enhance wetland benefits without affecting navigation or other uses. This special report describes projects successfully incorporating Engineering With Nature® principles in a review of the physical setting and historical fish and wildlife habitat management efforts using Upper Mississippi River System navigation dams. We reviewed 80 years of adaptation and lessons learned about how to integrate navigation operations and wildlife management. Several experiments have revealed the capacity to produce thousands of hectares of emergent and submersed aquatic plants, restoring much-needed riparian habitat for a variety of aquatic, wetland, and avian species.

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July 2021 – Beneficial use of dredged sediment as a sustainable practice for restoring coastal marsh habitat

Burton Suedel, Andrew McQueen, Justin Wilkens, Christina Saltus, Scott Bourne, Joseph Gailani, Jeffrey King, and Jeffrey Corbino

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Summary: Coastal Louisiana (USA) continues to sustain immense land and habitat losses due to subsidence, sea-level rise, and storm events. Approximately 65 million m3 (85 million cubic yards) of sediment is dredged annually from Gulf Coast federal navigation channels to maintain safe waterway passage. The beneficial use of these sediments continues to increase, and now this sediment is recognized as a critical resource in large-scale (estimated multibillion dollar) ecosystem restoration efforts to mitigate land and habitat losses along the US Gulf Coast. However, the documentation of restoration benefits where dredged sediments are the primary resource is lacking, which limits the potential for future applications. Therefore, this study documents the progress to restore marsh habitat and the resultant benefits in West Bay, Louisiana, and investigates how the restoration practices align with principles of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering with Nature® (EWN®) and UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). West Bay, a 4964-ha subdelta adjacent to the Mississippi River, typifies risks of coastal land loss that also threatens the integrity of the adjacent federal navigation channel. To help restore coastal marsh habitat on a large spatial and temporal scale, the USACE constructed an uncontrolled diversionary channel from the Mississippi River and with subsequent direct and strategic placement of dredged sediment. Restoration performance was assessed through remotely sensed methods using data spanning approximately 70 years. To date, placement of dredged sediment in the bay has facilitated the creation of over 800 ha of new land in the formerly open waters of West Bay. The West Bay restoration project aligns with the principles of the EWN initiative, which supports more sustainable practices to deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaborative processes and meaningfully integrates 10 of the UN SDGs designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2021;00:1–12. Published 2021. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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June 2021 – Using Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) principles to manage erosion of watersheds damaged by large‐scale wildfires

Christopher Haring, Garrett Altmann, Burton Suedel, and Stephen Brown

Low‐cost and readily available materials such as logs, mulch, vegetation, and local rock are used to stabilize highly erodible parts of a New Mexico watershed. The study informs recommendations for broader implementation.

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Summary: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) manages hundreds of reservoirs and thousands of miles of navigation channels that provide invaluable flood control, commercial transport of materials, water supply, recreation, and stream flow regulation. This capability is being threatened by the continued occurrence of large-scale wildfires across the western United States. The wildfires damage watersheds in part by denuding landscapes, reducing infiltration rates, and increasing runoff rates, thereby dramatically increasing the potential for the erosion of denuded slopes, destabilizing stream channels, increasing the infilling potential of reservoirs and, hence, reducing their capacity. The increased erosion rates highlight the need to develop innovative solutions to reduce erosion of watersheds laid bare after wildfires engulf the area. The Santa Clara Pueblo in northern New Mexico extends from the top of the eastern Jemez Mountains to the floodplains of the Rio Grande River. The Pueblo designed and constructed thousands of structures built from natural materials, consistent with Engineering With Nature (EWN) principles for erosion control incorporating low-cost and readily available materials such as logs, mulch, vegetation, and local rock to stabilize highly erodible parts of the watershed. The watersheds where these natural structures were constructed were monitored after construction to assess their effectiveness, guiding a series of recommendations for broader implementation. As part of a continued emphasis on updating USACE engineering guidance, research, and development, funding has been focused on developing sustainable and resilient project designs using natural materials like those implemented by the Santa Clara Pueblo. This paper focuses on the innovative EWN-based watershed stabilization practices that were implemented in the upper section of this wildfire affected canyon and tributary streams. Recommendations for future implementation based on lessons learned from this project are also provided. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2021;00:1–9. Published 2021. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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April 2021 – Integrating Engineering With Nature® strategies and landscape architecture techniques into the Sabine-to-Galveston Coastal Storm Risk Management Project

Rob Holmes, Sean Burkholder, Justine Holzman, Jeffrey King, and Burton Suedel

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Summary: Damaging storm events frequently impact the Texas coast. In response, the US Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District (SWG) has undertaken the Sabine-to-Galveston (S2G) Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Project. This approximately $3.9B project includes numerous measures across several counties of the upper Texas coast, including levees, floodwalls, and pump stations. In June 2019, SWG leadership enlisted a team including the paper authors to integrate Engineering With Nature (EWN) strategies into this infrastructure project. EWN strategies intentionally align natural and engineering processes to efficiently and sustainably deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaboration. The first step in this process was to develop potentially relevant EWN strategies. A collaborative workshop included visits to project sites and working sessions where the project team reviewed challenges associated with each site, generated an array of EWN strategies, and began to test design concepts based on those strategies through collaborative drawing sessions. Afterward, prioritized ideas were refined and evaluated in terms of property acquisition, estimated cost, logistics, stakeholder and sponsor interest, constructability, aesthetics, recreational opportunities, and ecological benefit. Design concepts considered feasible for integration into the broader S2G project included horizontal levees, inland floodwater storage areas that double as wildlife habitat, and strategic placement of sediment berms to reduce storm impacts and provide marsh substrate. All these concepts should achieve intended CSRM outcomes while enhancing environmental and social benefits. This assimilation of EWN strategies and landscape architecture techniques into a large CSRM study illustrates a method for expanding overall project value and producing infrastructure that benefits coastal communities. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2021;00:1–11. © 2021 SETAC

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April 2021 – A Hemimysis-driven novel ecosystem at a modified rubble-mound breakwater: An Engineering With Nature® Demonstration Project

Eric J. Geisthardt, Burton C. Suedel, and John A. Janssen

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Summary: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) repairs aging breakwater structures as part of routine maintenance to maintain safe navigation in Great Lakes commercial ports. A USACE repair to an existing breakwater structure in Milwaukee Harbor (WI) implementing Engineering With Nature (EWN) principles created complex rocky habitat by strategically placing cobblesized stone over conventional 5.4 to 9.1 metric ton boulders, thus creating “control” (boulder) and “treatment” (cobble) habitats. We evaluated the resultant nature-based breakwater (NBBW) developing food web versus an adjacent reference site on the same breakwater and determined that, unexpectedly, locally abundant Hemimysis anomala were impacting the food-web dynamics and feeding ecology of fishes occupying the structure. Fish and forage communities were sampled using gillnets, night scuba diving surveys, rock collections, and a novel trap to capture invertebrates. The resultant NBBW became home to a prolific population of nonindigenous Hemimysis, with indications that they were more abundant on cobble versus boulders, based on rainbow smelt feeding. This lithophilic/cave swelling mysid provided an important new food resource in Milwaukee Harbor for two introduced pelagic prey fishes: alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Gillnetting and night scuba diving surveys confirmed that rainbow smelt preferred to forage on the cobble section (p < 0.05). Hemimysis were also the primary food item consumed by nearshore game fishes such as young-of-the-year (YOY) yellow perch (Perca flavescens), YOY largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), and juvenile rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris). We propose that those breakwaters that harbor abundant Hemimysis constitute novel ecosystems (ecosystems that include both native and non-native biota) that might benefit harbor fisheries if well-managed. This project demonstrated how a low-cost design modification could be applied during the repair of rubble-mound, breakwater structures to achieve benefits beyond safe navigation. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2021;00:1–14. Published 2021. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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March 2021 – Monitoring the Milwaukee Harbor Breakwater: An Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) Demonstration Project

Eric J. Geisthardt, Burton C. Suedel, and John A. Janssen

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Summary: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) maintains breakwaters in Mil-waukee Harbor. USACE’s Engineering With Nature® (EWN) breakwater demonstration project created rocky aquatic habitat with cobbles (10–20 cm) covering boulders (6–8 metric tons) along a 152 m section. A prolific population of Hemimysis anomala, an introduced Pontocaspian mysid and important food source for local pelagic fishes, was significantly (p < .05) more abundant on cobbles versus boulders. Food-habits data of ale-wife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) pro-vided evidence that H. anomala were a common prey item. Night surveys and gill netting confirmed O. mordax preferred foraging on the cobbles (p < .05) and consumed more H. anomala than at the reference site (p < .05). H. anomala comprised a significant portion of the diets of young-of-the-year (YOY) yellow perch (Perca flavescens), YOY largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), and juvenile rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) caught on the breakwater. The natural features’ construction on the break-water increased the available habitat for this benthopelagic macroinverte-brate and created a novel ecosystem benefiting forage fish and a nursery habitat benefiting nearshore game fish juveniles. These data will encourage the application of EWN concepts during structural repairs at other built navigation infrastructure.

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January 2021 – Nature Based Approaches to Urban Shoreline Management – Biohabitats Expert Q&A

Dr. Todd Bridges, recent interview discusses nature-based solutions and future coastal resilience.

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Summary: When we hear the word “infrastructure,” we typically think of things like roads, power grids, pipelines, drinking water supply, airports, wastewater, and telecommunications. While all of this infrastructure is necessary for modern life, there is an entire suite of infrastructure that is equally vital to our survival. Nature-based solutions harness natural capital to by using alternative and non-traditional approaches to infrastructural development. ERDC Senior Research Scientist Dr. Todd Bridges’ recent interview with “Biohabitats” discusses nature-based solutions and future coastal resilience.

Click here to read Dr. Bridges interview: https://lnkd.in/dmHbSqe (external link)
* Cannot access while on USACE VPN

December 2020 – Building with Nature – Creating, implementing and upscaling Nature-based Solutions

Dr. Todd Bridges, shares the complementary work of Engineering with Nature in the book and in a recorded interview with EcoShape.

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Summary: Over the past decade, EcoShape has collaboratively designed, realised, monitored, and researched multiple projects that involve building with nature, not only in the Netherlands but also across Europe and in South East Asia. These projects demonstrate the ability to build nature-based solutions which create safe and sustainable flood protection as well as ecologically rich and resilient environments that provide attractive places to live, work, and visit. Here a dialogue with experts and stakeholders is presented on methodologies and experiences, illustrating key concepts and linking them to a range of landscapes and their underlying ecological, economic, and social systems.

Link to Book (external link)
Link to Interview (external link)

August 2019 – Restoration project exemplifies collaborative, transparent process

Holly Kuzmitski, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public Affairs Office

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Summary: In the August 2019 issue of The Corps Environment, which is published quarterly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering With Nature (EWN) is featured on page 13. The article is titled “Restoration project exemplifies collaborative, transparent process”. In the article, Tony Friona, Engineering Research and Development Center liason to the Great Lakes, describes how the construction team keeps the process transparent to the public. The Corps Environment seeks to highlight USACE environmental initiatives, issues, policies and technologies across the nation.

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May 2019 – Corps researchers investigate how to create resilient beach dunes

Holly Kuzmitski, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public Affairs Office

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Summary: In the May 2019 issue of The Corps Environment, which is published quarterly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering With Nature (EWN) is featured on page 24. The article is titled “Corps researchers investigate how to create resilient beach dunes”. In the article, Dr. Duncan Bryant and Mary Bryant of the Engineer Research and Development Center’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory discuss the importance of planting dunes for stabilization and resistance to extreme weather events. The Corps Environment seeks to highlight USACE environmental initiatives, issues, policies and technologies across the nation.

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February 2019 – Realizing multiple benefits in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Baltimore District dredging projects through application of Engineering With Nature® principles

Danielle M. Szimanski, Andrew D. McQueen, and Burton C. Suedel

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Summary: The application of Engineering With Nature® (EWN) principles at existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) dredging and navigation projects is increasing. This technical note (TN) documents four USACE Baltimore District (NAB) projects that successfully applied EWN principles.

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February 2019 – Engineering With Nature delivers triple wins

Dr. Jeff King, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center; Prof. Rob Holmes, Auburn University; and Holly Kuzmitski, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public Affairs Office

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Summary: In the February 2019 issue of The Corps Environment, which is published quarterly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering With Nature (EWN) is featured on page 17. The article is titled “Engineering With Nature delivers triple wins”. In the article, Drs. Jeff King, Burton Suedel, Tosin Sekoni and Brandon Boyd at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer district offices, identified opportunities in Florida and Texas to integrate EWN techniques and practices into USACE repair, replacement and rehabilitation projects by working with members of the Dredge Research Collaborative landscape architects. The Corps Environment seeks to highlight USACE environmental initiatives, issues, policies and technologies across the nation.

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October 2018 – Engineering with Nature Baltimore District strives to restore Chesapeake Bay islands, marshes

Paula E. Whitfield, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Summary: In the July 2018 issue of The Corps Environment, which is published quarterly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering With Nature (EWN) is featured on page 15. The article is titled “Engineering with Nature Baltimore District strives to restore Chesapeake Bay islands, marshes”. In the article, Danielle Szimanski, project manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District discusses plans to help the Baltimore District become the next Engineering With Nature Proving Ground. The Corps Environment seeks to highlight USACE environmental initiatives, issues, policies and technologies across the nation.

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July 2018 – Research group studies restoration sites to determine shape of future projects

Holly Kuzmitski, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public Affairs Office

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Summary: In the July 2018 issue of The Corps Environment, which is published quarterly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering With Nature (EWN) is featured on page 12. The article is titled “Research group studies restoration sites to determine shape of future projects”. In the article, Elizabeth Murray discusses the accretion process in coastal marshes and the question of what optimal barrier shape should be used for decreasing wave energy. The Corps Environment seeks to highlight USACE environmental initiatives, issues, policies and technologies across the nation.

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June 2017 – Levee Setbacks: An Innovative, Cost-Effective, and Sustainable Solution for Improved Flood Risk Management

David L. Smith, Scott P. Miner, Charles H. Theiling, Randall Behm, and John M. Nestler

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Abstract: This report describes levee setbacks as alternatives to traditional levees for flood risk management and environmental benefits. It is organized into five sections:

1. Information about levees for reducing flood damage, emphasizing environmental considerations
2. Description of the Engineering With Nature (EWN) concept for considering environmental benefits of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) actions
3. Explanations of relevant Corps policy (Executive Orders (EOs), Engineer Regulations (ERs), and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs))
4. Summary of environmental trade-offs between traditional versus levee setbacks
5. Summaries of two Corps levee setbacks in the Sacramento and Omaha Districts that successfully completed the planning process

The summaries describe how hydraulic, flood risk management, and environmental benefits were quantified. The report includes environmental considerations for levee setbacks developed by Rock Island District for the Upper Mississippi River (UMR). Parts of the UMR are not leveed, which provides insight into the ecological response that could be expected from large-scale levee setbacks. Levee setbacks are valuable tools for reducing flood damages and provide environmental benefits consistent with the EWN concept, the Chief’s Environmental Operating Principles, and ERs, including the Resilience Initiative Roadmap. The report concludes that levee setbacks should be considered for appropriate sites.

Link to full report report (ERDC/EL SR-17-3)

March 2018 – Terra et Aqua article: How can the Dredging Sector Join the Global Shirt towards Sustainability?

Dr. Todd Bridges

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Summary: Three guiding principles are set forth to guide the sustainable development of marine infrastructure projects. For marine infrastructure projects, the importance of vision and value creation, adapting projects to nature from the onset, and viewing a project and its impacts over the long term are key to success. The insights presented in Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure result from a wealth of up-to-date knowledge pooled by a team of practicing industry experts. Written by professionals, the publication’s information has been moderated by and Editorial Board. Chaired by Polite Laboyrie from Witteveen + Bos and the Central Dredging Association (CEDA), the board includes Stefan Aarninkhof from Boskalis and Delft University of Technology, Mark van Koningsveld from Van Oord, Marcel Van Parys from Jan De Nul, Mark Lee from HR Wallingford, Anders Jensen from DHI, Anna Csiti from CEDA and Rene Kolman from the International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC). The principles and case study set forth in this article are foundational concepts in the publication and were authored by Todd Bridges from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

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A multifactor ecosystem assessment of wetlands created using a novel dredged material placement technique in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana: an Engineering With Nature Demonstration Project

Jacob F. Berkowitz, Sung-Chan Kim, Nathan R. Beane, Darrell E. Evans, Elizabeth A. Summers, Burton C. Suedel, Maik C. Flanagin, and Jeffrey M. Corbino

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Abstract: A multifactor ecosystem assessment of dredged material supported wet-lands was conducted within the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana. The assessment included evaluations of (1) geomorphic evolution, (2) ecosystem classification and distribution, (3) floral communities, (4) avian communities, (5) aquatic invertebrates, (6) soils and biogeochemical activity, and (7) hydrodynamic and sediment transport processes. Results indicate that the innovative use of dredged materials in a riverine environment supports wetland formation and expansion while providing habitat, hydrologic, and biogeochemical functions. The strategic placement of dredged materials in locations that mimic natural process promoted additional ecological bene-fits, especially regarding wading bird and infaunal habitat, thus adhering to Engineering With Nature (EWN) processes. The multifactor approach improved the wetland assessment, allowing for a comprehensive ecosystem-level analysis of a diverse array of ecosystem components and functions.

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Strategic Placement of Mixed Sediment in the Form of a Nearshore Berm along Fort Myers Beach, Florida

EWN Technical Note by Katherine E. Brutsché and Cheryl E. Pollock

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Summary: The Engineering With Nature (EWN) program explores the partnering of engineering with naturally occurring physical processes to achieve a desired benefit. This technical note documents the application of EWN practices as applied to the strategic placement of a nearshore berm at Fort Myers Beach, FL, to accommodate sediments that exceed regulatory limits for the percentage of fine material that can be used for beach placement yet still allowing the dredged materials to be used to benefit the nearshore region.

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Ashtabula Breakwater Common Tern (Sterna Hirundo) Nesting

EWN Technical Note by Thomas J. Fredette, Richard J. Ruby, Paul Bijhouwer, Burton C. Suedel, Michael Guilfoyle, Marleen Kromer, and Karen Adair

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Summary: This document summarizes the design features used to create a nesting area for the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) that was incorporated as part of the maintenance repairs to the harbor breakwater located in Ashtabula, OH. The purpose of the tern nesting project was to demonstrate an option that can be used during such maintenance activities for increasing infrastructure benefits. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dredging Operations and Environmental Research Program sponsored the development of the nesting habitat site. The project was developed in consultation with the The Nature Conservancy and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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National Large Wood Manual

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers Joint Publication

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Summary: The Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research and EWN programs have joined with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Office of Science and Technology and Sedimentation and River Hydraulics Group to produce a design support manual on large wood utilization in river and floodplain restoration. The target audience is the entire community of restoration practice. The manual addresses project planning, geomorphic effects, ecological responses, design and engineering, risk issues, regulatory considerations, project implementation and staging, monitoring and adaptive management, active and passive restoration techniques, large wood dynamics in peak flows, and large wood utilization and considerations in flood response.

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Engineering With Nature: Advancing System Resilience and Sustainable Development

The Military Engineer, contributed to by Dr. Todd S. Bridges, Ph.D., Cynthia Banks, Monica Chasten, and Stephen Rochette

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Summary: In the January-February 2016 issue of The Military Engineer which is published by the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), Engineering With Nature (EWN) is featured on page 52. The article is titled “Engineering With Nature: Advancing System Resilience and Sustainable Development”. Authors included Dr. Todd Bridges, Cynthia Banks (both of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center), Monica Chasten and Stephen Rochette (both of USACE Philadelphia District). SAME is the premier professional military engineering association in the United States. One of SAME’s values is to preserve, protect, conserve and restore our national resources through sustainable practices.

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Creating Horseshoe Bend Island, Atchafalaya River, Louisiana

Terra et Aqua, contributed to by Burton Suedel, Jacob Berkowitz, Sung-Chan Kim, Nathan Beane, Elizabeth Summers, Darrell Evans and Jeffrey Corbino

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Summary: In the September 2015 issue of Terra et Aqua, the Engineering With Nature (EWN) Action Project is featured on page 26. The article is titled “Creating Horseshoe Bend Island, Atchafalaya River, Louisiana”. The Horseshoe Bend Island, Atchafalaya River project is led by Dr. Burton Suedel of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Team members are Dr. Jacob Berkowitz, Dr. Sung-Chan Kim, Dr. Nathan Beane, Ms. Elizabeth Summers, Mr. Darrell Evans (all of ERDC) and Mr. Jeff Corbino of the U.S. Army New Orleans District. Terra et Aqua, the official quarterly publication of International Association of Dredging Companies seeks to present dredging related papers on important scientific and state-of-the-art subjects. Terra et Aqua is distributed to more than 10,000 readers world-wide.

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Engineering With Nature Yields Lush Results on River Island

Our Mississippi

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Summary: In the Summer 2015 issue of Our Mississippi, the Engineering With Nature (EWN) Action Project is featured on page 5. The article is titled “Engineering With Nature Yields Lush Results on River Island”. The Horseshoe Bend Island, Atchafalaya River project is led by Dr. Burton Suedel of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Team members are Dr. Jacob Berkowitz, Dr. Sung-Chan Kim, Dr. Nathan Beane, Ms. Elizabeth Summers, Mr. Darrell Evans (all of ERDC) and Mr. Jeff Corbino of the U.S. Army New Orleans District. Our Mississippi is a quarterly newsletter of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about its work in the Mississippi River Basin. It is published in cooperation with other state and federal agencies and other river interests with whom the Corps collaborates and partners toward long-term sustainability of the economic uses and ecological integrity of the river system.

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Use of Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF) for Coastal Resilience

ERDC Special Report, by Todd S. Bridges, Paul W. Wagner, Kelly A. Burks-Copes, Matthew E. Bates, Zachary A. Collier, Craig J. Fischenich, Joe Z. Gailani, Lauren D. Leuck, Candice D. Piercy, Julie D. Rosati, Edmond J. Russo, Deborah J. Shafer, Burton C. Suedel, Emily A. Vuxton and Ty V. Wamsley

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Summary: The ERDC and the Institute for Water Resources (IWR) have joined forces in support of the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS) to develop a technical framework for evaluating and implementing Natural and Nature-based Features (NNBF) to reduce coastal storm risks and enhance system resilience. The study promotes the concept of multiple lines of defense include NNBF solutions (e.g., beach nourishment, artificial reefs, dunes, salt marshes, and living shorelines) that can be used in combination with structural and non-structural measures to generate an array of ecosystem benefits, including reductions in coastal storm damages, recreational benefits, and wide variety of environmental benefits.

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Deer Island Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project

ERDC Technical Note, by Jennifer Gerhardt Smith, Justin McDonald, Susan Ivester Rees and Nathan Lovelace

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Summary: As part of the Engineering With Nature (EWN) Technical Note Series, a new publication has been released! The Deer Island Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project (Deer Island AERP) has been identified as a case study for EWN, based on its “triple-win” benefits, operational efficiency achievements, use of natural processes, and high degree of stakeholder collaboration. The purpose of the technical note (see attached PDF) is to showcase the Deer Island AERP from an EWN perspective. Summary case studies such as this, which document the objectives, methods, and outcomes of projects with EWN features, provide useful information for others with like missions and goals.

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Engineering With Nature’s Support to the Nation’s Civil Works Mission

USACE Publication

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Summary: The 2014-2015 interactive web edition of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE):BUILDING STRONG®, Serving the Nation and the Armed Forces is now available. Engineering With Nature’s support to the Nation’s civil works mission is mentioned by Dr. Holland, USACE Engineer Research and Development Center Director, on page 32.

Link to Publication (external link)

Ecological Survey of a Dredged Material-Supported Wetland in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana: An Engineering With Nature Case Study

Wetland Science and Practice, contributions by Jacob F. Berkowitz, Nathan R. Beane, Darrell E. Evans, Burton Suedel and Jeffrey M. Corbino

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Summary: In the March 2015 issue (Vol. 32/No. 1) of Wetland Science and Practice, an Engineering With Nature (EWN) Action Project is featured beginning on page 14. The article is titled “Ecological Survey of a Dredged Material-supported Wetland in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana:An Engineering With Nature Case Study”. The project team includes Dr. Burton Suedel, Dr. Jacob Berkowitz, Dr. Nathan Beane, Mr. Darrell Evans (all of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Environmental Laboratory) and Mr. Jeff Corbino of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District. Wetland Science and Practice is the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) quarterly publication aimed at providing information on select SWS activities, brief summary articles on ongoing or recently completed wetland research, restoration, or management projects and highlights of current events.

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Engineering With Nature Program Collaborates with Flood Risk Management

USACE Silver Jackets Publication, contributions by Cynthia J. Banks

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Summary: In the January 2015 issue of the Silver Jackets Newsletter (also known as The BUZZ), an Engineering With Nature (EWN) article related to Flood Risk Management is featured beginning on page 10. The article is titled “Engineering With Nature Program Collaborates with Flood Risk Management”. Article contributors were Mr. Jock Conyngham and Dr. David Smith. The Silver Jackets program (http://www.nfrmp.us/state/) provides a formal and consistent strategy for an interagency approach to planning and implementing measures to reduce the risks associated with flooding and other natural hazards. The BUZZ is a quarterly newsletter which serves as a forum for Silver Jackets teams’ successes, opportunities, and resources.

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Conservation Actions Along Interior Rivers of the United States – Contributions to the Recovery of the Interior Population of Least Tern

Journal of Dredging, contributions by Richard A. Fischer, Casey A. Lott and Paul Hartfield

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Summary: In the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Dredging, an Engineering With Nature (EWN) related article is featured beginning on page 1. The article is titled “Conservation Actions along Interior Rivers of the United States – Contributions to the Recovery of the Interior Population of Least Tern” and is authored by Dr. Richard Fischer (U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center), Mr. Casey Lott (American Bird Conservancy) and Mr. Paul Hartfield (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). The Journal of Dredging is published by the Western Dredging Association to provide dissemination of technical and project information on dredging engineering topics.

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A Design Manual: Engineering With Nature Using Native Plant Communities

ERDC Manual, by Dr. Pamela Bailey

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Summary: The book entitled “A Design Manual: Engineering With Nature Using Native Plant Communities” has been published. This design manual is important because it promotes our native plant communities, which in turn supports native fauna. The National Classification System data (NRCS) and Nature Serve database (2013) has defined more than 800 ecosystem units in the United States and adjacent Canada. Of the 16,100 native flowering plant species in the United States, 5,474 are at risk, making them by far the largest group of organisms at risk (The Nature Conservancy, 2000). Impacts to native plant communities such as the loss of habitat, fragmentation, invasive plant species, the loss of pollinators, pollution, disease and changes to the climate will continue to occur, further stressing healthy plant populations and increasing the risks of loss of species.

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Engineering With Nature Promotes Triple-Win Outcomes

Terra et Aqua, contributions by Dr. Todd Bridges, Jeff Lillycrop, Dr. Tom Fredette, Dr. Burton Suedel, Cynthia Banks, Joe Wilson and Dr. Edmond Russo

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Summary: In the June 2014 issue of Terra et Aqua which is published by the International Association of Dredging Companies, Engineering With Nature (EWN) is featured on page 17. The article is titled “Engineering With Nature Promotes Triple-Win Outcomes”. Authors included Dr. Todd Bridges, Jeff Lillycrop, Dr. Tom Fredette, Dr. Burton Suedel, Cynthia Banks (all of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center), Joe Wilson (HQUSACE) and Dr. Edmond Russo (USACE Galveston District). The journal is distributed to more than 10,000 readers worldwide quarterly. Terra et Aqua seeks to present dredging related papers on important scientific and state-of-the-art subjects.

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USACE Regional Sediment Management and Engineering with Nature 2012 Workshop Summary

ERDC Technical Note, by Cynthia J. Banks and Jennifer M. Gerhardt Smith

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Purpose: This document summarizes the major findings of a workshop entitled ” Regional Sediment Management (RSM) and Engineering With Nature (EWN).” The workshop was held August 28-30, 2012, at the U.S. Army Engineer District, Portland, in Portland, Oregon. The goals of the workshop were to introduce the EWN initiative; identify opportunities and establish collaborations between RSM and EWN; and conduct the annual RSM In-Progress-Review. The workshop was sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE or the Corps) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) RSM and Dredging Operations Environmental Research (DOER) Programs and further served as a conduit to share technical presentations and lessons learned. The workshop also provided a venue for participants to network, to participate in valuable discussions of relevant experiences, and to generate outcomes that will support the USACE Navigation, Flood Risk Management, and Environmental Restoration missions. Coordinators of the workshop were Linda Lillycrop of the ERDC Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory and Dr. Todd Bridges of the ERDC Environmental Laboratory.

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Epifaunal Community Development on Great Lakes Breakwaters: An Engineering With Nature Demonstration Project

ERDC Technical Note, by Thomas J. Fredette, Burton Suedel, Cynthia J. Banks, Richard J. Ruby, Paul Bijhouwer and Anthony M. Friona

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Purpose: This technical note describes an Engineering With Nature (EWN) project being conducted on the east arrowhead breakwater on Lake Erie in Cleveland Harbor, OH. Background information, project objectives, approaches, and preliminary monitoring results are included with this description. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) has partnered with the USACE Buffalo District (LRB) to design and implement modifications to LRB’s normal maintenance procedures for breakwater repairs at this site. The structural design modifications are intended to produce greater environmental benefits to invertebrate and fish communities than would be present otherwise using standard practices. This work was funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative managed by the Great Lakes National Program Office.

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USACE Regional Sediment Management and Engineering With Nature 2013 Summary

ERDC Technical Note, by Jennifer M. Gerhardt Smith and Cynthia J. Banks

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Purpose: This document summarizes the major activities and findings of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) workshop entitled “Regional Sediment Management (RSM) and Engineering With Nature (EWN).” The workshop was held August 20-22, 2013, at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The workshop included technical presentations and group breakout sessions on a broad range of topics associated with navigation, flood risk management, and environmental missions including innovative engineering and operational practices, modeling, data management, and strategic communications for the advancement of a joint RSM and EWN community.

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Use of Strategic Placement of Dredged Sediments to Support Horseshoe Island in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana: A Preliminary Ecological Survey

ERDC Technical Note, by Jacob F. Berkowitz, Nathan R. Beane, Darrell E. Evans, Burton Suedel and Jeffrey M. Corbino

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Purpose: This technical note describes an Engineering With Nature (EWN) project being conducted in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana. The current work presents a wetland classification, vegetation survey map, preliminary ecological inventory, and soil descriptions for an island receiving strategically placed dredged sediments (i.e., Horseshoe Bend Island) located within the Atchafalaya River. The practice of strategically placing dredged sediments upriver of a naturally occurring island was conducted with the intent of aiding the islands growth to produce greater environmental benefits than otherwise would be present using more conventional placement practices. The results provided background information regarding ecosystem classification and mapping, floral and faunal composition of the island, and background data supporting future research efforts. Opportunities for additional research are also presented.

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Island Building in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana USA – An Engineering With Nature Demonstration Project

World Dredging, contributions by Burton C. Suedel, Thomas J. Fredette, and Jeffery M. Corbino

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Summary: In the February 2014 issue of World Dredging, one of the seven EWN Action Projects is featured on page 14. The article is titled Island Building in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana USA – An Engineering With Nature Demonstration Project. World Dredging is a bi-monthly publication dedicated to publishing news related to dredging and marine construction worldwide.

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Engineering With Nature: Designing Navigation Infrastructure for Greater Environmental Sustainability

ERDC Technical Report

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Summary: This technical document summarizes the major outcomes of a workshop entitled “Engineering With Nature: Designing Navigation Infrastructure for Greater Environmental Sustainability” held September 7-8, 2011, in Charleston, South Carolina. The primary goal of the workshop was to identify opportunities to advance science, engineering, and operational practice leading to expanded environmental benefits from navigation infrastructure and operations within the US Army Corps of Engineers.

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Working with Nature Certificate of Recognition for the Cleveland Arrowhead Breakwater Project

PIANC Newsletter

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Summary: In PIANC’s e-newsletter ‘Sailing Ahead’ October 2013 issue, we are pleased to highlight a Working with Nature (WwN) Certificate of Recognition which was awarded for the Cleveland Arrowhead Breakwater Project. The project is managed collaboratively by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Buffalo District and the Engineer Research and Development Center. The project’s detailed information now resides in the WwN Database.

Link to Publication (not available)

Operationalizing Engineering With Nature – Regional Sediment Management Principles and Practices into Operations and Maintenance Dredging Beneficial Use Project Management

ERDC Technical Note, by Cynthia J. Banks and Jennifer M. Gerhardt Smith

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Purpose: This technical document summarizes an effort to begin the process of operationalizing the application of Engineering With Nature and Regional Sediment Management principles and practices in Federal navigation channel Operations and Maintenance dredging beneficial use project management. The ultimate goal of this effort was to develop a model that could be used to inform development of a Project Management Plan for use by Project Managers across the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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Corps of Engineers Aims for
Environmental Sustainability

Inland Port, by Thomas J. Fredette, Ph.D. and Burton Suedel, Ph.D

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Summary: Written by Thomas J. Fredette, Ph.D., and Burton Suedel, Ph.D., of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, this booklet explores opportunities for enhancing life-promoting features of coastal infrastructure. With the use of more creative design, low-cost measures could be implemented as part of routine maintenance, scheduled repairs or new modifications, and would result in improved habitat.

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Engineering With Nature

ERDC Brochure

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Summary: The Engineering With Nature (EWN) Fact Sheet communicates the USACE policies that are aligned with this initiative. It also outlines the essential ingredients, guiding principles and opportunities available for EWN as a mechanism for moving toward more sustainable practices.

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Environmental Enhancements and Navigation Infrastructure: A Study of Existing Practices, Innovative Ideas, Impediments, and Research Needs

ERDC Technical Report, by Thomas J. Fredette, Christy M. Foran, Sandra M. Brasfield and Burton C. Suedel

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Summary: The Environmental Enhancements and Navigation Infrastructure (EENI) study investigated the opportunities and challenges associated with increasing the environmental benefits of navigation infrastructure (e.g., jetties, locks, channels, and anchorages). The concept of EENI was relatively new to most participants, but was viewed by 95% of respondents as an activity for which there is considerable opportunity.

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Making Great Lakes Coastal Structures Greener

ERDC Booklet

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Summary: Coastal structures in the Great Lakes have been noted to provide essential habitat for waterfowl and fisheries, but often these advantages are not intentional. Making Great Lakes Coastal Structures Greener explores the idea of taking a deliberate approach to creating habitat by improving these structureslife-promoting features as a part of routine maintenance. Low-cost measures could be implemented as part of routine maintenance. By taking advantage of scheduled repairs or new modifications, the incorporation of habitat features would prove cost-effective, as well as green.

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Environmental Engineering of Navigation Infrastructure: A Survey of Existing Practices, Challenges, and Potential Opportunities

Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, by Thomas J. Fredette, Christy M. Foran, Sandra M. Brasfield and Burton C. Suedel

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Summary: Environmental engineering of navigation infrastructure: A survey of existing practices, challenges, and potential opportunities. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management examines the existing institutional conditions within the USACE and cooperating federal agencies relative to incorporating environmental enhancements into navigation infrastructure projects.

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Working with Nature

PIANC Position Paper

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Summary: In its position paper, Working with Nature, The International Navigation Association (PIANC) calls for an integrated process, which involves working to identify and exploit win-win solutions that respect nature and are acceptable to both project proponents and environmental stakeholders.

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