Who we are

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) helps solve our nation’s most challenging problems in civil and military engineering, geospatial sciences, water resources, and environmental sciences for the Army, Department of Defense, civilian agencies, and our Nation’s public good. 

ERDC’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) delivers solutions to our Nation’s most challenging coastal and hydraulic problems through research, development, and application of cutting-edge science, engineering, and technology. 

CHL’s Coastal Observation and Analysis Branch is located at the Field Research Facility (FRF) in Duck, NC.  The FRF is a natural littoral laboratory that supports ERDC’s civil and military missions by advancing coastal environment knowledge through field observation, data analysis, numerical exploration, and technology development. 

The FRF was created to:
•    to collect wave, current, water level, and bottom elevation data continuously, especially during storms
•    to serve as a permanent field base of operations for research in the adjacent sound, bay, and ocean region by USACE, other Federal agencies, universities, and private industry;
•    to provide USACE with field experience and data that would complement laboratory and analytical studies and provide a better understanding of the influence of field conditions on measurements and design; and
•    to provide a field facility for evaluation of new instrumentation

The FRF seeks to fulfill these goals as a part of its core mission today and recognizes the unique contribution of the data, facility, and institutional knowledge to the global coastal science and engineering community.  FRF data is publicly available in near-realtime, accessible here, and we welcome collaboration across the science and engineering community.

In addition to the continuously operating measurements, FRF researchers and technicians conduct basic, applied, and technology development research in support of the Nation’s coastal flood risk management, navigation needs, and the Warfighter’s needs across the globe.  Our data and technology are used to expand fundamental understanding of coastal physical processes, to improve numerical simulation capabilities, and to provide critical engineering data for civil and military applications. 

The FRF Vision today is: 
•    to maintain the longest and most comprehensive record of beach & surf-zone observations in the world,
•    to share these data to the general public for science and engineering analysis and advancement worldwide
•    to be a venue to bring the nearshore community together
•    to provide our users unparalleled and innovative access to the dynamic surf zone environment; and  
•    to drive innovation, support exploration, and foster technology development 

in pursuit of the advancement of coastal science and engineering knowledge.