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EWN Publications

Embracing biodiversity on engineered coastal infrastructure through structured decision-making and Engineering With Nature®

Emily Dolatowski (UGA), Burton Suedel (USACE ERDC EL), Jon Calabria (UGA), Matthew Bilskie (UGA), James Byers (UGA), Kelsey Broich (UGA), Kyle McKay (USACE ERDC EL), Amanda Tritinger (USACE EWN), and Brock Woodson (UGA)
April 15, 2024

About This Publication

Extreme weather variation, natural disasters, and anthropogenic actions negatively impact coastal communities through flooding and erosion. To safeguard coastal settlements, shorelines are frequently reinforced with seawalls and bulkheads. Hardened shorelines, however, result in biodiversity loss and environmental deterioration. The creation of sustainable solutions that engineer with nature is required to lessen natural and anthropogenic pressures. Nature-based solutions (NbS) are a means to enhance biodiversity and improve the environment while meeting engineering goals. To address this urgent need, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering With Nature® (EWN) program balances economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaboration. This report presents how design and engineering practice can be enhanced through organized decision-making and landscape architectural renderings that integrate engineering, science, and NbS to increase biodiversity in coastal marine habitats. When developing new infrastructure or updating or repairing existing infrastructure, such integration can be greatly beneficial. Further, drawings and renderings exhibiting EWN concepts can assist in decision-making by aiding in the communication of NbS designs. Our practical experiences with the application of EWN have shown that involving landscape architects can play a critical role in effective collaboration and result in solutions that safeguard coastal communities while maintaining or enhancing biodiversity.

Research Projects

There is increasing recognition of the value of biodiversity in maintaining the services essential fora sustainable society and the flows that drive economic activity. However, we run a risk in valuingbiodiversity sol...