EWN Engagements

Natural Infrastructure for Sustainable, Resilient Installations: Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona

Multi-day Event (March 1-
3, 2022)


Military installations in the desert Southwest are grappling with the challenges posed by a range of natural hazards, such as drought, heat, winds, wildfire, desertification, earthquakes and soil erosion. An Engineering with Nature (EWN) workshop was conducted in conjunction with the Department of the Navy at Marine Corp Air Station (MCAS) Yuma on March 1-3, 2022. The workshop focused on critical climate change impacts and increasing natural disaster issues of the desert Southwest. Subject matter experts shared regional climate adaptations. Climate vulnerabilities were addressed through a series of breakout group exercises which included the identification of shocks and stressors, opportunities and constraints, and potential EWN solutions to mitigate vulnerabilities and increase mission assurance and resilience.

The Department of the Navy (DoN ), the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), academia and the private sector came together to consider and identify opportunities for using natural infrastructure (NI) to support the sustainability and resilience of installation missions. The workshop was conducted and facilitated by the USACE’s Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) Program in partnership with Jacobs, a global engineering and solutions company. Workshop participants included a diverse group of installation personnel, resource managers, scientists, engineers, landscape architects, resilience planners and stakeholders.

The workshop included group discussions resulting in identification of large-scale natural infrastructure (NI) solutions to be implemented on DoN/USMC installations with the assistance of stakeholders in the larger community. Workshop outcomes and products will inform opportunities for follow-on efforts, including demonstration projects and full-scale implementation.

Resilient Solutions

  • Using the water, carbon and biodiversity cycle as the foundation to address climate resilience
  • Recharging groundwater through a watershed systems approach to include check dams and other natural water systems
  • Sustainable ranching and regenerative agriculture
  • Re-greening the desert with grazing and soil management
  • Using animals to manage invasive species (shepherding landscapes)
  • Using animals and organic materials to create more diverse organic soils
  • Using compost to minimize waste and reuse for soil renourishment
  • Managing wildfire consequences
  • Identifying resilient strategies that deliver carbon sequestration to offset DoN/USMC footprint

What's Next

Based on a review of installation data and workshop outputs, the
EWN study team will collaborate with DoN-USMC personnel to generate a Natural Infrastructure (NI) Assessment Report that will include a set of planning and engineering concepts to inform NI application to western DoN-USMC installations.


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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.


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