Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory

Published Jan. 30, 2013
CHL engineers monitor turbines to ensure that fish travel safely through waterways.

CHL engineers monitor turbines to ensure that fish travel safely through waterways.

Who We Are

The Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL, est. 1996) multi-disciplinary team of scientists, engineers and support personnel is internationally recognized for its world-class research. This 222-member group includes 152 scientists and engineers and 18 contractors, including 59 doctorate and 62 master’s degrees. Along with access to unique, cutting-edge facilities, these team members have the experimental and computational expertise needed to solve water resource problems worldwide. CHL addresses an entire spectrum of water resource challenges in groundwater, watersheds, rivers, reservoirs, estuaries, harbors, coastal inlets and wetlands.  


The CHL team conducts research in all aspects of water interaction with sediment, structures and operations, dividing topics into two categories: coastal engineering and hydraulic research. Coastal engineering research aims to provide a better understanding of waves, currents and winds, as well as other natural shoreline forces such as shore and beach control erosion, flooding and storm prediction, and coastal dredging. Hydraulic research focuses on understanding and improving U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) water-related projects including navigation, flood control, hydraulic structures and reservoir operations.

CHL engineers are currently involved in more than 500 different research projects around the world. Subject areas include inland and coastal navigation, military logistics-over-the-shore, dredging, flood control, storm and erosion protection, waterway restoration, fish passage, hydro-environmental modeling, water and land management, and many other water-related issues.

As a world-class laboratory, CHL performs research and development in support of concerns from strategic activities of U.S. military forces to Army civil works. Clients include multiple USACE and Department of Defense sponsors, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and a variety of other federal agencies. CHL also works closely with a number of local, state and foreign governments and with many private research sponsors.


Physical facilities total 1.5 million square feet and provide the necessary infrastructure to produce cutting-edge products ranging from design guidance to three-dimensional numerical models. A $3 million state-of-the art Ship Simulator Complex was completed in FY12 and boasts three full-mission simulators for navigation studies, each with the capability to simulate ships, tows and small crafts. CHL is also home to some of the largest navigation and coastal physical models in the world.



Contact Us 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Engineer Research & Development Center
Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory
3909 Halls Ferry Road
Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199

Intro to the OHWM Manual

Video by Jared Eastman
Introduction to the Interim Draft of the National Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) Manual
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center
Jan. 30, 2023 | 24:23
Introduction to the Interim Draft of the National Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) Manual for Rivers and Streams.