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Category: Technology
  • Financing Natural Infrastructure: South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, California

    PURPOSE: This technical note is part of a series collaboratively produced by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)–Institute for Water Resources (IWR) and the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). It describes the funding and financing process for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project in San Francisco Bay, California and, like the other technical notes in this series, documents successful examples of funding natural infrastructure projects. The research effort is a collaboration between the Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) and Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering (SAGE) programs of USACE. A key need for greater application of natural infrastructure approaches is information about obtaining funds to scope, design, construct, monitor, and adaptively manage these projects. As natural infrastructure techniques vary widely by location, purpose, and scale, there is no standard process for securing funds. The goal of this series is to share lessons learned about a variety of funding and financing methods to increase the implementation of natural infrastructure projects.
  • McMurdo Snow Roads and Transportation: Final Program Summary

    Abstract: The snow roads at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, are the primary transportation corridors for moving personnel and material to and from the airfields servicing intra- and intercontinental air traffic. The majority of the road system is made of snow overlying a snow, firn, and icy subsurface and is particularly susceptible to deterioration during the warmest parts of the austral summer when above-freezing temperatures can occur for several days at a time. Poor snow-road conditions can seriously limit payloads for all types of ground vehicles. The US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) studied the McMurdo snow roads for the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs as part of the Snow Roads and Transportation (SRT) program. The goals of the SRT program was to improve construction, maintenance, and use of the McMurdo’s snow roads, with particular attention on minimizing warm-season deterioration. This is the final report of the SRT program, summarizing the program’s activities and findings and emphasizing those parts of the program not previously documented in CRREL Reports, conference papers, or journal articles.
  • The Old River, Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, and Red River (OMAR) Technical Assessment

    NOTE: The Old River, Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, and Red River (OMAR) Technical Assessment is a 9-volume series of reports that was produced under the direction of the Mississippi River Geomorphology & Potamology Program. An abstract from the main report, Volume 1, is listed below, along with the individual volume titles and links to the relevant reports. ABSTRACT: This is the main report of Old River, Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, and Red River (OMAR) Technical Assessment. The primary objective of the OMAR Technical Assessment was to conduct a comprehensive evaluation that aimed to understand the impacts of former and potential changes to the system in the vicinity of the Old River Control Complex (ORCC) over time, the water and sediment delivery regime at the ORCC, and the effects to the river system surrounding the ORCC. Scenarios evaluated in this technical assessment were designed to investigate potential system responses to a wide range of possible operational alternatives and identify knowledge gaps in current understanding of system behavior. This report summarizes and synthesizes the individual reports detailing the investigations into specific aspects of the ORCC and the surrounding region.
  • Geospatial Suitability Indices (GSI) Toolbox: User’s Guide

    Abstract: Habitat suitability models have been widely adopted in ecosystem management and restoration to assess environmental impacts and benefits according to the quantity and quality of a given habitat. Many spatially distributed ecological processes require application of suitability models within a geographic information system (GIS). This technical report presents a geospatial toolbox for assessing habitat suitability. The geospatial suitability indices (GSI) toolbox was developed in ArcGIS Pro 2.7 using the Python 3.7 programming language and is available for use on the local desktop in the Windows 10 environment. Two main tools comprise the GSI toolbox. First, the suitability index (SIC) calculator tool uses thematic or continuous geospatial raster layers to calculate parameter suitability indices using user-specified habitat relationships. Second, the overall suitability index calculator (OSIC) combines multiple parameter suitability indices into one overarching index using one or more options, including arithmetic mean, weighted arithmetic mean, geometric mean, and minimum limiting factor. The result is a raster layer representing habitat suitability values from 0.0–1.0, where zero (0) is unsuitable habitat and one (1) is ideal suitability. This report documents the model purpose and development and provides a user’s guide for the GSI toolbox.
  • Ecological Model Development: Toolkit for interActive Modeling (TAM)

    Overview: Ecological models provide crucial tools for informing many aspects of ecosystem restoration and management, ranging from increasing understanding of complex ecological functions to prioritizing restoration sites and quantifying benefits for project reporting. The diversity of ecosystem types and restoration objectives often precludes the use of existing models; as such, model development is commonly required to inform restoration decision-making. Index-based habitat models are a common approach for assessing ecosystem condition. These models relate habitat quality to species’ distributions. Habitat suitability (quality) typically ranges on a scale from 0 to 1. Habitat models have been developed to assess habitat suitability for specific taxa, communities, or ecosystem functions. Restoration-project timelines often require that these models be developed rapidly and in conjunction with many external stakeholders or partners. Here, the Toolkit for interActive Modeling (TAM) is proposed as a platform for rapidly developing index-based models, particularly for US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) ecosystem-restoration or mitigation planning processes. The TAM is a consistent quantitative framework that allows for development of a generic platform for index-based model development
  • Evaluation of Methods for Monitoring Herbaceous Vegetation

    Abstract: This special report seeks to advance the field of ecological restoration by reviewing selected reports on the processes, procedures, and protocols associated with monitoring of ecological restoration projects. Specifically, this report identifies selected published herbaceous vegetation monitoring protocols at the national, regional, and local levels and then evaluates the recommended sampling design and methods from these identified protocols. Finally, the report analyzes the sampling designs and methods in the context of monitoring restored herbaceous vegetation at US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) ecosystem restoration sites. By providing this information and the accompanying analyses in one document, this special report aids the current effort to standardize data-collection methods in monitoring ecosystem restoration projects.
  • Installation Utility Monitoring and Control System Technical Guide

    Abstract: Army policy calls for each installation to install a building automation system (aka utility monitoring and control system [UMCS]) to provide for centralized monitoring of buildings and utilities to reduce energy and water commodity and maintenance costs. Typically, the UMCS, including building control systems (BCS), is installed and expanded in piecemeal fashion resulting in intersystem incompatibilities. The integration of multivendor BCSs into a single basewide UMCS, and subsequent UMCS operation, can present technical and administrative challenges due to its complexity and cybersecurity requirements. Open Control Systems technology and open communications protocols, including BACnet, LonWorks, and Niagara Framework, help overcome technical incompatibilities. Additional practical considerations include funding, control systems commissioning, staffing, training, and the need for a commitment to proper operation, use, and sustainment of the UMCS. This document provides guidance to Army installations to help achieve a successful basewide UMCS through its full life cycle based on DoD criteria and technical requirements for Open Control Systems and cybersecurity. It includes institutional knowledge on technical solutions and business processes amassed from decades of collaboration with Army installations and learned from and with their staff. Detailed activities spanning both implementation and sustainment include planning, procurement, installation, integration, cybersecurity authorization, and ongoing management.
  • Thermal Infra-Red Comparison Study of Buried Objects between Humid and Desert Test Beds

    Abstract: This study pertains to the thermal variations caused by buried objects and their ramifications on soil phenomenology. A multitude of environmental conditions were investigated to observe the effect on thermal infrared sensor performance and detection capabilities. Correlations between these external variables and sensor contrast metrics enable determinable key factors responsible for sensor degradation. This document consists of two parts. The first part is a summary of data collected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer and Research and Development Center Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (ERDC-CRREL), ERDC-Geotechnical Structures Laboratory, and Desert Research Institute at the Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) site in February 2020 and observations from this activity. The second part is a comparison of target visibility between data collected at YPG and data collected at the ERDC-CRREL test site in 2018.
  • Identification and Preventative Treatment of Overwintering Cyanobacteria in Sediments: A Literature Review

    Abstract: Freshwaters can experience growths of toxin-producing cyanobacteria or harmful algal blooms (HABs). HAB-producing cyanobacteria can develop akinetes, which are thick-enveloped quiescent cells akin to seeds in vascular plants or quiescent colonies that overwinter in sediment. Overwintering cells produce viable “seed beds” for HAB resurgences and preventative treatments may diminish HAB intensity. The purpose of this literature review was to identify (1) environmental factors triggering germination and growth of overwintering cells, (2) sampling, identification, and enumeration methods, and (3) feasibility of preventative algaecide treatments. Conditions triggering akinete germination (light ≥0.5 µmol m-2s-1, temperature 22-27℃) differ from conditions triggering overwintering Microcystis growth (temperature 15-30℃, nutrients, mixing). Corers or dredges are used to collect surficial (0-2 cm) sediment layers containing overwintering cells. Identification and enumeration via microscopy are aided by dilution, sieving, or density separation of sediment. Grow-out studies simulate environmental conditions triggering cell growth and provide evidence of overwintering cell viability. Lines of evidence supporting algaecide efficacy for preventative treatments include (1) field studies demonstrating scalability and efficacy of algaecides against benthic algae, (2) data suggesting similar sensitivities of overwintering and planktonic Microcystis cells to a peroxide algaecide, and (3) a mesocosm study demonstrating a decrease in HAB severity following preventative treatments. This review informs data needs, monitoring techniques, and potential efficacy of algaecides for preventative treatments of overwintering cells.
  • Understanding and Improving Snow Processes in Noah-MP over the Northeast United States via the New York State Mesonet

    Abstract: Snow is a critical component of the global hydrologic cycle and is a key input to river and stream flow forecasts. In 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched the National Water Model (NWM) to provide a high-fidelity numerical forecast of streamflow integrated with the broader atmospheric prediction modeling framework. The NWM is coupled to the atmospheric model using the Noah-MP land surface modeling framework. While snow in Noah-MP has been consistently evaluated in the western United States, less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing its performance in the Northeast US (NEUS). The newly installed New York State Mesonet (NYSM), a network of high-quality surface meteorological stations distributed across New York State, provides a unique opportunity to evaluate Noah-MP performance in the NEUS. In this report, we document the methodology used to perform single-column simulations using meteorological inputs from the NYSM and compare the point evaluations against baseline NWM performance. We further discuss how enhanced surface energy balance measurements at a selection of NYSM sites can be used to evaluate specific components of Noah-MP and present initial results.