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  • A Resilient Path Forward for the Marine Transportation System: Recommendations for Response and Recovery Operations from the 2017-2019 Hurricane Seasons

    Abstract: The Marine Transportation System (MTS), Resilience Integrated Action Team (RIAT), is tasked by the coordinating board of the US Committee on the MTS to serve as a coordinating body to identify the impacts, best practices, and lessons learned by federal agencies involved in the response and recovery of the MTS after hurricane seasons. In response to this request, the RIAT has focused its analysis on the ability of MTS federal agencies to prepare, respond, recover, and adapt to as well as from disruptions. This was accomplished through workshops focused on gathering the collective experiences of emergency response professionals. In 2017, recommendations were gathered based on experiences responding to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. In this report, a similar approach was adopted to gather findings from Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Utilizing the successes, challenges, and best practices from all six of these storms, the RIAT identified key coordinating bodies and the participants for each and key takeaways relative to the coordination of agencies with respect to the four steps of resilience: prepare, absorb, recover, and adapt.
  • Accelerated Corrosion of Infrastructural Seven-Strand Cables via Additively Manufactured Corrosion Flow Cells

    Purpose: The purpose of this project was to generate an accelerated corrosion methodology capable of producing seven-strand cables with simulated corrosive defects for calibration of nondestructive analysis (NDA) techniques. An additively manufactured accelerated corrosion cell was motivated and designed. Previous attempts at accelerated electrochemical corrosion used a large cable area with a current density that was too low (i.e., 1 A/m²)* to effectuate efficient corrosion. The accelerated corrosion cell presented here takes advantage of the restricted area within the corrosion flow cell to maximize the corrosion rate in a consistent and calibrated manner (i.e., 2,000 A/m²).
  • ERDC: A Tradition of Innovation

    Abstract: As the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) celebrates its 25th anniversary, “A Tradition of Innovation” traces the organization’s history from its precarious roots through its evolution into a world-class organization solving the toughest problems facing the nation and the Warfighter. This book highlights the key inflection points that shaped ERDC–from responding to national crises like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina to changing climates, evolving military strategies and demands for greater computational power. As ERDC prepares to solve a myriad of new and escalating challenges, its engineers and scientists will build upon its tradition of innovation and lean into the cross-disciplinary culture forged during the organizations’ first quarter century.
  • Real-Time Forecasting Model Development Work Plan

    Abstract: The objective of the Lowermost Mississippi River Management Program is to move the nation toward more holistic management of the lower reaches of the Mississippi River through the development and use of a science-based decision-making framework. There has been substantial investment in the last decade to develop multidimensional numerical models to evaluate the Lowermost Mississippi River (LMMR) hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and salinity dynamics. The focus of this work plan is to leverage the existing scientific knowledge and models to improve holistic management of the LMMR. Specifically, this work plan proposes the development of a real-time forecasting (RTF) system for water, sediment, and selected nutrients in the LMMR. The RTF system will help inform and guide the decision-making process for operating flood-control and sediment-diversion structures. This work plan describes the primary components of the RTF system and their interactions. The work plan includes descriptions of the existing tools and numerical models that could be leveraged to develop this system together with a brief inventory of existing real-time data that could be used to validate the RTF system. A description of the tasks that would be required to develop and set up the RTF system is included together with an associated timeline.
  • Surge Analysis in Mobile Harbor, Alabama: Ship-Simulation Report

    Abstract: A navigation channel improvement study for Mobile Harbor was conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District (CESAM), and the Alabama State Port Authority. The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) assisted CESAM in assessing channel modifications using ERDC’s Ship/Tow Simulator through a Feasibility Level Screening Simulation study in 2017 and through a more comprehensive ship-simulation study in 2020. During the 2020 study, a safety concern was identified related to vessel interactions between a transiting vessel passing docked vessels at the McDuffie Coal Terminal located along the main federal channel. In the previous ship-simulation studies, the docked vessels were represented as targets, which means the ships are visually represented but no hydrodynamic interaction is captured. To fully assess this interaction, a surge-analysis study was completed in 2022 that used hydrodynamic models to represent docked vessels with representative mooring conditions. This study assessed several proposed navigation channel expansions across from the McDuffie Coal Terminal over the course of six testing days with four pilots. Assessment of the proposed modifications was accomplished through analysis of ship simulations completed by experienced local pilots, track plots, run sheets, and final pilot questionnaires.
  • Sensitivity of Sediment Transport Analyses in Dam Removal Applications

    Abstract: Dam removal has become a widespread river management practice in the US for a variety of goals including ecosystem restoration, removing aging infrastructure, flood risk management, and recreation. The ability to forecast the sediment impacts of dam removal is critical to evaluating different management alternatives that can minimize adverse consequences for ecosystems and human communities. Tullos et al. (2016) identified seven Common Management Concerns (CMCs) associated with dam removal. Four of these CMCs; degree and rate of reservoir sediment erosion, excessive channel incision upstream of reservoirs, downstream sediment aggradation, and elevated downstream turbidity are associated with stored sediment release and changing fluvial hydraulics. There are a range of existing qualitative and quantitative tools developed to infer or quantify geomorphic implications of disturbances like these in river environments (McKay et al. 2019). This study investigated how a one-dimensional (1D) sediment transport model can inform these four CMCs, develop an approach for assessing sediment transport model sensitivity in the context of the Simkins Dam removal, and use sensitivity analyses to identify key uncertainties, which can inform data collection and model building for other dam removal projects. For the selected case study, model outputs including the mean effective invert change (MEIC) and eroded sediment volume from reservoir were highly sensitive to the variation of the reservoir sediment gradation and sorting method selection. These model outputs also showed some sensitivity to the selected transport functions. Erosion method sensitivity using the channel evolution method will vary depending on side slope and channel parameter selection.
  • Cold Impacts on Vehicle Electrical Systems: Developing a Baseline for Cold Testing Military Vehicles

    Abstract: Low temperatures can significantly affect vehicle operation. While many of the effects, like increased fluid viscosity and decreased battery capacity, are well documented, the impacts on the electrical system as a whole are not. The objective of this study was to investigate the impacts of temperature on the electrical systems of select military vehicles and to develop a baseline for future testing. A High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT), and a four-person diesel Polaris MRZR D4 were subjected to 15°C, 0°C, and −15°C temperatures while the loads on the battery and alternator were monitored. The HMMWV and MRZR were able to start on the first try for all tests. They both showed a slight increase in vehicle load current draw from the alternator as temperatures decreased. Future testing with more iterations and at lower temperatures will help identify clearer trends and improve testing procedures. As the Army becomes more reliant on electronic systems, it is becoming increasingly important that we understand how various climates will impact them.
  • UGV SLAM Payload for Low-Visibility Environments

    Abstract: Herein, we explore using a low size, weight, power, and cost unmanned ground vehicle payload designed specifically for low-visibility environments. The proposed payload simultaneously localizes and maps in GPS-denied environments via waypoint navigation. This solution utilizes a diverse sensor payload that includes wheel encoders, inertial measurement unit, 3D lidar, 3D ultrasonic sensors, and thermal cameras. Furthermore, the resulting 3D point cloud was compared against a survey-grade lidar.
  • The Use of Native Vegetation for Structural Stability in Dredged Material Placement Areas: A Case Study of Beneficial Use Site 4A, Chocolate Bayou, Brazoria County, Texas

    PURPOSE: This technical note is the third in a series about using native plant communities to enhance dredge material placement areas (DMPAs), confined disposal facilities (CDFs), and projects where dredged sediments are used for various engineering purposes. DMPAs and CDFs occur in numerous locations spanning different geographic locations nationwide. Oftentimes, these containment dikes are constructed using earthen materials. The materials are either barged in from an off-site location or obtained on-site from new or virgin materials, consisting of heavy clay particles and sediments removed from the nearby channel. In the Gulf Coast region of the United States, new or virgin materials are obtained during channel deepening activities using mechanical or hydraulic dredging methods. Examples of these dredging methods include hopper dredge, pipeline dredge, and excavator or bucket dredge. When materials are considered suitable for beneficial use purposes, and following environmental compliance, the materials are often used to construct containment dikes in DMPAs and CDFs. The project site used in this study—Beneficial Use Site 4A (BUS 4A)—used dredged material during its construction and has periodically received dredged material to maintain its target elevation of 2 ft (0.67 m) above the mean lower low water; hence, this site presents an opportunity for use as a demonstration study. Project goals include (1) demonstrating the use of native plant communities to provide structural stability, (2) introducing targeted vegetation establishment on DMPAs and CDFs as a management strategy to improve engineering and environmental outcomes, and (3) providing technology transfer to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) districts through hands-on planting techniques and installation of natural material (in this demonstration, coir logs).
  • The Use of Native Vegetation and Natural Materials in Shoreline Stabilization: A Case Study of Bubble Gum Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

    PURPOSE: This technical note is the fourth in a series about using native plant communities to achieve engineering and ecological purposes such as shoreline stabilization, structural enhancements, habitat creation, and ecosystem development. In this series, we demonstrate the utility of natural materials (specifically, native vegetation, oyster reefs, and coir logs) in living shoreline projects. Plant species and plant communities play critical roles in wave attenuation and sediment accretion in coastal areas. The application of vegetation in the coastal areas, especially on the East and Gulf Coasts, has focused heavily on the creation of living shorelines—serving both environmental and engineering purposes. This technical note documents the workshop conducted by the US Army Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) and hosted by the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Philadelphia District (NAP) and Center for the Inland Bays. The goals of this technical note are (1) to demonstrate the application of native plant communities, oyster shells, and coir (coconut) materials and their installation techniques along shorelines to the engineering community; (2) to demonstrate how targeted vegetation establishment can facilitate ecosystem development along shorelines to improve engineering and environmental outcomes; and (3) to provide native vegetation installation techniques for living shorelines projects’ purposes.