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  • Investigation for Shoaling Reduction along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) at Caney Creek, Sargent, Texas

    Purpose: This US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Regional Sediment Management (RSM) initiative considered alternatives for shoaling reduction in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in the vicinity of Caney Creek near Sargent, TX (Figure 1). Additionally, new beneficial use (BU) sites were considered along degraded islands adjacent to the GIWW with a threefold objective: increase the quality and quantity of habitat, reduce dredging cost via shorter pump distance, and reduce shoaling in the GIWW through East Matagorda Bay.
  • Environmental Applications of 3D Printing Polymer Composites for Dredging Operations

    Abstract: This Dredging Operations Environmental Research (DOER) technical note disseminates novel methods to monitor and reduce contaminant mobility and bioavailability in water, sediments, and soils. These method advancements are enabled by additive manufacturing (i.e., three-dimensional [3D] printing) to deploy and retrieve materials that adsorb contaminants that are traditionally applied as unbound powders. Examples of sorbents added as amendments for remediation of contaminated sediments include activated carbon, biochar, biopolymers, zeolite, and sand caps. Figure 1 provides examples of sorbent and photocatalytic particles successfully compounded and 3D printed using polylactic acid as a binder. Additional adsorptive materials may be applicable and photocatalytic materials (Friedmann et al. 2019) may be applied to degrade contaminants of concern into less hazardous forms. This technical note further describes opportunities for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) project managers and the water and sediment resource management community to apply 3D printing of polymers containing adsorptive filler materials as a prototyping tool and as an on-site, on-demand manufacturing capability to remediate and monitor contaminants in the environment. This research was funded by DOER project 19-13, titled “3D Printed Design for Remediation and Monitoring of Dredged Material.”
  • Incorporating Color Change Propensity into Dredged Material Management to Increase Beneficial Use Opportunities

    Dredged materials provide a number of beneficial use opportunities, including beach nourishment, habitat creation and restoration, and other activities. In situ sediment color is important for determining aesthetic and habitat suitability, for beach nourishment, and for other projects. However, dredged materials must meet locally established color compatibility requirements (for example, material cannot be too dark). Often, potential sediment sources are close to meeting specified color thresholds, and previous observations suggest that sediments lighten over time. In response to these observations, this study quantified sediment color change potential in a dredged m material management context. Results indicate that dredged material sediment color responded to changes in secondary color components, sediment mixing, and photolytic bleaching improving the sediment color for beneficial use application. Findings allowed for development of a conceptual color change capacity framework and supported development of tools for resource managers to incorporate color change dynamic into planning and operations activities. The following report provides a framework for determining the color change capacity of dredged materials using (1) a comprehensive laboratory approach and (2) a semiquantitative index based on source material and placement location conditions. These tools allow practitioners to incorporate dredged-material color change into resource management decisions, thus increasing beneficial use opportunities.
  • Development of a HEC-RAS Sediment Model for the Chippewa River, Wisconsin for Use in Predicting Future Dredging Activities

    Purpose: This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Regional Sediment Management Technical Note (RSM-TN) describes the process of constructing and calibrating a sediment model that utilizes recent sediment data collection efforts performed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center – Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (ERDC-CHL) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) along the Chippewa River in Wisconsin. A USACE Institute for Water Resources (IWR), Hydrologic Engineering Center, River Analysis System (HEC-RAS, version 5.0.7) unsteady flow sediment model was developed to perform a continuous simulation of bed-load and suspended load transport and dredging operations through the Chippewa River and Lower Pool 4 of the Upper Mississippi River navigation channel. The resulting model developed through this effort can be useful in forecasting future channel maintenance needs through this reach of river.
  • Hydrodynamic and Sediment Transport Modeling for James River Dredged Material Management

    Abstract: The fate of material placed during dredging operations within the James River (Dancing Point-Swann Point reach) at a channel adjacent placement mound was modeled within this work. The study focuses on the potential migration of the placement mound into the channel as well as the transport of sediment resuspended during placement. A select combination of US Army Engineer Research and Development-developed models was utilized in this work to appropriately simulate hydrodynamic conditions, pipeline discharge near field suspended sediment estimates, far field transport of the pipeline discharge source term, and mound migration. Results show that the material released into the water column during placement remains in the placement area or is transported out of the area of interest downstream. A small fraction of sediment from the placement mound migrates into the channel after placement. The fine-grained nature of these sediments precludes these small volumes of sediment from depositing in the channel where the currents are strong.
  • Barriers to Innovation in USACE

    Abstract: The Dredging Operations and Environmental Research Program (DOER) of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) develops new tools and practices to support the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of navigation dredging operations and then implements these new approaches (that is, innovations).We analyzed the innovation process to increase the adoption and implementation of new approaches and techniques. We then created a literature review of innovation diffusion theories and developed a mental model that identifies the actual and perceived barriers to innovation diffusion in USACE through a case study of its Navigation Program. We built the final expert mental model using interviews with 25 subject matter experts familiar with the program’s processes and external stakeholders. Interviewees reported environmental and budgetary constraints, time restrictions, and politics as the most common barriers to dredging innovation, including those based on the perceptions and beliefs of stakeholders rather than hard engineering or policy constraints (herein cognitive barriers). We suggest overcoming these barriers through changes in communication channels and social systems, such as public outreach through social media channels; interpersonal face-to-face meetings with decision makers; internal collaboration between local USACE districts and external collaboration with outside stakeholders, such as contractors and environmental regulators.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Insights: An Update of the USACE Data Strategy Initiative; November 2019 Edition

    Abstract: The Data25 strategy was advanced in FY19 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chief Information Officer (USACE CIO) by funding pilots to show the power of data analytics on real USACE operations. This report details pilots that were conducted in three of USACEs Business Lines; Dredging, Hydropower, and Military Construction. The purposes for each of these pilots are listed below. 1. Enterprise value: Demonstrates the power of data analytics and its ability to generate business value by improving decision-making across the organization. 2. Technology value: Helps the CIO understand how cloud technology could support the overall data strategy. 3. Business value: Provides examples of data analytics in action. This view helps the Business Lines, Divisions, and Districts understand what it takes to supplement decision-making with insights generated from data. The main purpose of the pilots was to provide a glimpse of what could be gained from data analytics. From the initial business questions, the pilot Business Lines are seeking to use data to improve decisions through the automation of business processes, more rapid decision cycles, and the layering of previously siloed data on their own to reveal new insights.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: New York/New Jersey Harbor Sedimentation Study: Numerical Modeling of Hydrodynamics and Sediment Transport

    Abstract: The New York/New Jersey Harbor (NYNJH) is a vital economic resource for both the local economy and the entire US economy due to the vast quantity of imports and exports handled by the numerous ports in this waterway. As with most ports, there is a significant, recurring expense associated with dredging the navigation channels to the authorized depths. In an effort to determine the impact of channel enlargements (“the project”) on dredging volumes, a numerical model study was performed. The advantage of a numerical model study is the ability to isolate individual system modifications and associated impacts in terms of dredging volumes. Five years (1985, 1995, 1996, 2011, and 2012) were simulated for both the with- and without-project conditions to determine the impact of the channel deepening on the dredging requirements for a wide range of meteorological conditions including storm events. The numerical model results were analyzed to provide insight into which locations will experience increased/decreased deposition and quantify the amount of increase/decrease for a given channel reach. The model results indicate a relatively minor increase in the total dredge volumes for the NYNJH with the increase being insignificant in comparison to the natural variability in dredge volumes across years.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Sediment Sorting by Hopper Dredging and Pump-Out Operations: Sampling Methods and Analysis

    Abstract: Hopper dredging operations for beach and nearshore placement typically include periods of overflow, which produces some degree of separation between the size fractions of the dredged sediment. The degree of separation and the controlling factors are presently poorly known. This report focuses on laboratory experiments aimed at determining (1) suitable sampling methods on a dredge, (2) composite sampling techniques to reduce analysis cost, (3) associated sampling intervals to achieve suitable sediment representation of a hopper load, and (4) a hydraulic means of sample splitting. Results showed that no statistical difference exists among the three methods used to sample the hopper weir overflow. The method used to sample deposited hopper sediment identified a bias in the percent fines that resulted from flow sheltering. Further, it was found that composited samples were able to quantify the concentration and percent fines accurately, although an analytical data experiment showed that the accuracy of a composited sample is dependent on the sampling intervals. The accuracy of the fines and concentration from a hydraulic sample splitter was found to be dependent on median grain size, with fine sediment being evenly distributed and coarser sediment increasing the error in concentration and grain size distribution.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Erosion Thresholds and Rates for Sand-Mud Mixtures

    Abstract: Differences in erosion behavior of non-cohesive and cohesive sediments are widely recognized. In many natural environments, sand and mud are not completely separated and occur as mixtures. Significantly less research has been conducted on the erosion behavior of sand-mud mixtures compared to the separate treatment of sand and mud erosion. Sedflume erosion experiments were conducted on sand-mud mixtures with varying mud content to define the relationships between mud content, critical stress for erosion (τc), and erosion rate. Sand-mud mixtures were prepared with three mud sources: (1) non-swelling clay (kaolinite), (2) swelling clay (kaolinite/bentonite), and (3) a swelling, natural mud from the Mississippi River. Test results showed that critical shear stresses of the mixed sediments departed from that of pure sand with mud fractions on the order of 2% to 10%. Peak τc was observed between 30% to 40% mud content, with swelling muds achieving a ten-fold increase in τc while a five-fold increase in τc was measured for kaolinite. Additionally, this study demonstrated that the introduction of small amounts (≤5%) of mud to sand reduced erosion rates by a factor of 10 to 100. This observed abatement of erosion rate has implications for the use of dredged materials in civil and environmental engineering projects.

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