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  • A Community Engagement Framework Using Mental Modeling: The Seven Mile Island Innovation Lab Community Engagement Pilot—Phase I

    Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) engages and collaborates with multiple stakeholders—from agency partners, to public, private, and not-for-profit organizations, to community residents—to develop its dredged-sediment long-term management strategy (LTMS) that expands beneficial-use (BU) practices. In spring 2019, USACE collaborated with Decision Partners, the USACE–Philadelphia District Operations Division, The Wetlands Institute, and the Engineering With Nature program leadership to adapt, test, and refine the proven behavioral-science-based processes, methods, and tools based on Decision Partners’ Mental Modeling Insight, or MMI, approach for engaging stakeholders, including community members, as part of the Seven Mile Island Innovation Laboratory (SMIIL) initiative in coastal New Jersey. The team identified key community stakeholders and conducted research to better understand their values, interests, priorities, and preferences regarding wetlands and USACE activities in the Seven Mile Island area and those activities’ effects on wetlands, including protecting the environment, wildlife habitat, aesthetic beauty, maintaining navigability, and supporting coastal resilience. Understanding stakeholder needs, values, interests, priorities, and preferences is key to designing effective engagement strategies for diverse communities for SMIIL and provides a foundation for the community engagement framework currently being developed for application across USACE.
  • The Use of US Army Corps of Engineers Reservoirs as Stopover Sites for the Aransas–Wood Buffalo Population of Whooping Crane

    Abstract: This technical report summarizes the use of US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reservoirs as spring and fall migration stopover sites for the endangered Aransas–Wood Buffalo population of whooping cranes (WHCR), which proved much greater than previously known. We assessed stopover use within the migration flyway with satellite transmitter data on 68 WHCR during 2009–2018 from a study by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and collaborators, resulting in over 165,000 location records, supplemented by incidental observations from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the USGS Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) databases. Significant stopover use was observed during both spring and fall migration, and one reservoir served as a wintering location in multiple years. Future efforts should include (a) continued monitoring for WHCR at USACE reservoirs within the flyway; (b) reservoir-specific management plans at all projects with significant WHCR stopover; (c) a USACE-specific and range-wide Endangered Species Act Section 7(a)(1) conservation plan that specifies proactive conservation actions; (d) habitat management plans that include potential pool-level modifications during spring and fall to optimize stopover habitat conditions; and (e) continued evaluation of habitat conditions at USACE reservoirs.
  • South Pole Station Snowdrift Model

    Abstract: The elevated building at Scott-Amundsen South Pole Station was designed to mitigate the effects of windblown snow on it and the surrounding infrastructure. Because the elevation of the snow surface increases annually, the station is periodically lifted on its support columns to maintain its design height above the snow surface. To assist with planning these lifts, this effort developed a computational model to simulate snowdrift formation around the elevated building. The model uses computational fluid dynamics methods and synthetic wind record generation derived from statistical analysis of meteorological data. Simulations assessed the impact of several options for the lifting operation on drifts surrounding the elevated building. Simulation results indicate that raising the eastern-most building section (Pod A), or the entire station all at once, can reduce drift accumulation rates over the nearby arches structures. Long-term analyses, spanning 5–6 years, determine whether an equilibrium drift condition may be reached after a long period of undisturbed drift development. These simulations showed that after about 6 years, the rate of growth of the upwind drift slows, appearing to approach an equilibrium condition. However, the adjacent drifts were still increasing in depth at a roughly linear rate, indicating that equilibrium for those drifts was still several seasons away.
  • SAGE-PEDD Theory Manual: Modeling Windblown Snow Deposition around Buildings

    Abstract: Numerical modeling of snowdrifting is a useful tool for assessing the im-pact of building design on operations and facility maintenance. Here we outline the theory for the SAGE-PEDD snowdrift model that has applica-tion for determining snowdrift accumulation around buildings. This model uses the SAGE computational fluid dynamics code to determine the flow field in the computational domain. A particle entrainment, dis-persion, and deposition (PEDD) model is coupled to SAGE to simulate the movement and deposition of the snow within the computational do-main. The report also outlines areas of future development that upgrades to the SAGE-PEDD model should address.
  • SAGE-PEDD User Manual

    Abstract: SAGE-PEDD is a computational model for estimating snowdrift shapes around buildings. The main inputs to the model are wind speed, wind direction, building geometry and initial ground or snow-surface topography. Though developed mainly for predicting snowdrift shapes, it has the flexibility to accept other soil types, though this manual addresses snow only. This manual provides detailed information for set up, running, and viewing the output of a SAGE-PEDD simulation.
  • Simulating Environmental Conditions for Southwest United States Convective Dust Storms Using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model v4.1

    Abstract: Dust aerosols can pose a significant detriment to public health, transportation, and tactical operations through reductions in air quality and visibility. Thus, accurate model forecasts of dust emission and transport are essential to decision makers. While a large number of studies have advanced the understanding and predictability of dust storms, the majority of existing literature considers dust production and forcing conditions of the underlying meteorology independently of each other. Our study works towards filling this research gap by inventorying dust-event case studies forced by convective activity in the Desert Southwest United States, simulating select representative case studies using several configurations of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, testing the sensitivity of forecasts to essential model parameters, and assessing overall forecast skill using variables essential to dust production and transport. We found our control configuration captured the initiation, evolution, and storm structure of a variety of convective features admirably well. Peak wind speeds were well represented, but we found that simulated events arrived up to 2 hours earlier or later than observed. Our results show that convective storms are highly sensitive to initialization time and initial conditions that can preemptively dry the atmosphere and suppress the growth of convective storms.
  • Engineering With Nature® Principles in Action: Islands

    Abstract: The Engineering With Nature® (EWN) Program supports nature-based solutions that reduce coastal-storm and flood risks while providing environmental and socioeconomic benefits. Combining the beneficial use of dredged sediments with the restoration or creation of islands increases habitat and recreation, keeps sediment in the system, and reduces coastal-storm and flood impacts. Given the potential advantages of islands, EWN seeks to support science-based investigations of island performance, impacts, and benefits through collaborative multidisciplinary efforts. Using a series of case studies led by US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) districts and others, this technical report highlights the role of islands in providing coastal resilience benefits in terms of reducing waves and erosion as well as other environmental and socioeconomic benefits to the communities and the ecosystems they reside in.
  • Supporting Bank and Near-bank Stabilization and Habitat Using Dredged Sediment: Documenting Best Practices

    Abstract: In-water beneficial use of dredged sediment provides the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) the opportunity to increase beneficial use while controlling costs. Beneficial use projects in riverine environments include bank and near-bank placement, where sediments can protect against bank erosion and support habitat diversity. While bank and near-bank placement of navigation dredged sediment to support river-bank stabilization and habitat is currently practiced, documented examples are sparse. Documenting successful projects can support advancing the practice across USACE. In addition, documentation identifies data gaps required to develop engineering and ecosystem restoration guidance using navigation-dredged sediment. This report documents five USACE and international case studies that successfully applied these practices: Ephemeral Island Creation on the Upper Mississippi River; Gravel Island Creation on the Danube River; Gravel Bar Creation on the Tombigbee River; Wetland Habitat Restoration on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta; and Island and Wetland Creation on the Lower Columbia River Estuary. Increased bank and near-bank placement can have multiple benefits, including reduced dredge volumes that would otherwise increase as banks erode, improved sustainable dredged sediment management strategies, expanded ecosystem restoration opportunities, and improved flood risk management. Data collected from site monitoring can be applied to support development of USACE engineering and ecosystem restoration guidance.
  • You can go your own way: No evidence for social behavior based on kinship or familiarity in captive juvenile box turtles

    Abstract: Behavioral interactions between conspecific animals can be influenced by relatedness and familiarity. To test how kinship and familiarity influenced social behavior in juvenile Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina), 16 captive-born individuals were reared under semi-natural conditions in four equally sized groups, where each group comprised pairs of siblings and non-siblings. Using separation distance between pairs of turtles in rearing enclosures as a measure of gregariousness, we found no evidence suggesting siblings more frequently interacted with one another compared to non-relatives over the first five months of life. Average pair separation distance decreased during this time but may have been due to turtles aggregating around resources like heat and moist retreat areas as colder temperatures approached. At eight months old, we again measured repeated separation distances between unique pair combinations and similarly found no support for associations being influenced by kinship. Agonistic interactions between individuals were never observed. Based on our results, group housing and rearing of juvenile box turtles did not appear to negatively impact their welfare. Unlike findings for other taxa, our results suggest strategically housing groups of juvenile T. carolina to maintain social stability may not be an important husbandry consideration when planning releases of captive-reared individuals for conservation purposes.
  • Investigation of Sources of Sediment Associated with Deposition in the Calcasieu Ship Channel

    Abstract: The Calcasieu Ship Channel (CSC) is a deep-draft federal channel located in southwest Louisiana. It is the channelized lowermost segment of the Calcasieu River, connecting Lake Charles to the Gulf of Mexico. With support from the Regional Sediment Management Program, the US Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, requested that the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, perform an investigation of the potential sources of sediment associated with dredging in the CSC. A previous study had quantified sediment from known sources, indicating that the known sediment sources contribute approximately only 21% of the volume that is regularly dredged from the channel. This technical report details the results of the current study, which employed multiple methods, including numerical analysis, to identify potential additional sources of sediment by first examining the available literature and the modeled energetics and flow pathways, and then estimating the quantities of sediment associated with these identified sources that may be contributing to the shoaling of the CSC. The results of these efforts were used to update the original sediment budget with estimates of the contributions from two additional sources: the erosion of interior wetlands and coastally derived sediments.