VICKSBURG, Miss. – The project delivery team for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Dredging Operations and Environmental Research, or DOER, Project 19-11 recently published technical guidance and tools for modernizing the conduct of dredging evaluations for open water disposal compliance.
The collaborative team consisted of researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Environmental Laboratory (EL) and Information Technology Laboratory. Feedback from 13 USACE districts within six USACE divisions was received through webinars and demonstration workshops held at the Jacksonville and Buffalo Districts.
“Publication of this technical report represents the first national dissemination of modernized processes and science for conducting dredging operations under the Clean Water Act and Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act,” said Alan Kennedy, ERDC-EL research biologist and project team lead. “Much of the content was inspired from over a decade of effort, including multiple workshops involving USACE divisions and districts, ERDC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, during the ongoing development of a revised and combined Inland and Ocean Testing Document.”
The technical report, titled “Advances in Dredged Material Evaluations for Inland and Ocean Aquatic Placement: Modernized Processes and Supportive Tools” also provides a user guide for associated electronic guidance tools for conducting dredging evaluations. View the report here https://erdc-library.erdc.dren.mil/jspui/handle/11681/47071.
The Dredging Evaluation Management, Analysis, and Networked Documentation, or DEMAND, application guides dredged material program managers, risk assessors or data generators through dredging evaluations to determine the suitability for open water placement. The second electronic tool, the Dredging Evaluation Visualization, Organization, and Integration Database, or DEVOID, is a data visualization application specific to dredging evaluations. Both tools can be found here https://doer.el.erdc.dren.mil/tools.html.
“The benefit of the published guidance document and associated tools is a reduction in dredging management delays through a clearer and more streamlined process for assessing sediment in the nation’s ports and harbors,” Kennedy said.
The streamlined process is expected to be particularly valuable to new USACE employees to avoid decision bottlenecks that ultimately cost the organization money and potentially delay or limit the most economic dredging options.
The document and tools mitigate knowledge lost from a retiring workforce through a software application, standard database platform and electronic reporting templates that improve accessibility and standardization of decision making and documentation that can be easily updated and remain current with scientific advances.
“The benefit to operations is a reduction in dredging management delays through consistent decision making, avoiding unnecessary testing costs and streamlined standardized reporting,” said Kennedy. “Additional benefits include ability to do retrospective analysis — for example, quantifying failures, reasons for failures and cost optimization — and electronic access to historic data.”
The project delivery team comprised Kennedy, David Moore, J. Daniel Farrar, Guilherme Lotufo, Burton Suedel, Susan Bailey, Paul Schroeder, Paige Krupa, Taylor Rycroft and Trent May.