EWN Publications

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
April 19, 2021

About This Publication

Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management

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