VICKSBURG, Miss. – Dr. Jennifer Miller, a supervisory environmental engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Chicago District, reached the half-way mark in her research project with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) six-month detail program known as ERDC University, or ERDC-U.
Miller has seen significant progress during her research project titled, “Investigation of Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Opportunities in Nearshore Great Lakes Environments, using Engineering With Nature Principles,” which targets the best use of sediment for natural shoreline restoration.
“Recent historically high lake levels have demonstrated the extent of human impacts on Great Lakes shorelines with significant coastal erosion damage especially near key natural areas,” she said. “I am working on regionally based sediment source and placement location identification for western Lake Michigan.”
Miller is currently involved in field work with her ERDC-U mentors, research biologist Dr. Burton Suedel with the ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory, and research hydraulic engineer Dr. Brian McFall with the ERDC’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory.
Miller and Suedel visited a sediment placement site used by the Chicago District the previous year for placing navigational dredging material for shoreline stabilization and other eco-restoration sites nearby.
“Although the area appears somewhat more stable, we believe there is strong potential for an Engineering With Nature® project that would help protect the adjacent natural area and would provide a more sustainable coastal condition in this area,” Miller said.
Engineering With Nature is the intentional alignment of natural and engineering processes to efficiently, and sustainably, deliver economic, environmental and social benefits through collaboration.
“Our focus is on western Lake Michigan, which appears to have multiple opportunities for beneficial use of sediment for natural shoreline restoration,” Miller said. “The goal is to systematically identify opportunities that can be summarized in a regional dredged material management plan for implementation over the short term.”
A USACE team member for 22 years, Miller serves as chief of the Environmental Engineering Team in the Engineering and Construction Division of the Design Branch in the Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering Section for the Chicago District.
She will present her research results at the ERDC-U graduation ceremony scheduled for Sept. 15, 2022, during a presentation to senior leadership and invited guests. Dr. David Pittman, ERDC director, will present diplomas to the six ERDC-U 2022 participants. Interested district team members can access the event virtually with an invitation request to Miller.
ERDC-U Program Manager Antisa Webb said, “This is an exciting opportunity for the selectees to help shape the future of the Corps of Engineers’ technical knowledge base. Participants gain knowledge of ERDC science and technology, collaborate and partner with ERDC researchers to grow programs and explore opportunities for career advancement. The goals are to establish a process that leverages workforce development with collaborations and partnerships across the USACE.”
To learn more about ERDC University, including application requirements for the upcoming session opening Oct. 1, 2022, please visit https://wiki.erdc.dren.mil/index.php?title=ERDC_University.