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Category: Technology
  • Landform Identification in the Chihuahuan Desert for Dust Source Characterization Applications: Developing a Landform Reference Data Set

    Abstract: ERDC-Geo is a surface erodibility parameterization developed to improve dust predictions in weather forecasting models. Geomorphic landform maps used in ERDC-Geo link surface dust emission potential to landform type. Using a previously generated southwest United States landform map as training data, a classification model based on machine learning (ML) was established to generate ERDC-Geo input data. To evaluate the ability of the ML model to accurately classify landforms, an independent reference landform data set was created for areas in the Chihuahuan Desert. The reference landform data set was generated using two separate map-ping methodologies: one based on in situ observations, and another based on the interpretation of satellite imagery. Existing geospatial data layers and recommendations from local rangeland experts guided site selections for both in situ and remote landform identification. A total of 18 landform types were mapped across 128 sites in New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico using the in situ (31 sites) and remote (97 sites) techniques. The final data set is critical for evaluating the ML-classification model and, ultimately, for improving dust forecasting models.
  • Automated Ground-Penetrating-Radar Post-Processing Software in R Programming

    Abstract: Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a nondestructive geophysical technique used to create images of the subsurface. A major limitation of GPR is that a subject matter expert (SME) needs to post-process and interpret the data, limiting the technique’s use. Post-processing is time-intensive and, for detailed processing, requires proprietary software. The goal of this study is to develop automated GPR post-processing software, compatible with Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc. (GSSI) data, in open-source R programming. This would eliminate the need for an SME to process GPR data, remove proprietary software dependencies, and render GPR more accessible. This study collected GPR profiles by using a GSSI SIR4000 control unit, a 100 MHz antenna, and a Trimble GPS. A standardized method for post-processing data was then established, which includes static data removal, time-zero correction, distance normalization, data filtering, and stacking. These steps were scripted and automated in R programming, excluding data filtering, which was used from an existing package, RGPR. The study compared profiles processed using GSSI soft-ware to profiles processed using the R script developed here to ensure comparable functionality and output. While an SME is currently still necessary for interpretations, this script eliminates the need for one to post-process GSSI GPR data.
  • Investigations into the Ice Crystallization and Freezing Properties of the Antifreeze Protein ApAFP752

    Abstract: Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) allow biological organisms, including insects, fish, and plants, to survive in freezing temperatures. While in solution, AFPs impart cryoprotection by creating a thermal hysteresis (TH), imparting ice recrystallization inhibition (IRI), and providing dynamic ice shaping (DIS). To leverage these ice-modulating effects of AFPs in other scenarios, a range of icing assays were performed with AFPs to investigate how AFPs interact with ice formation when tethered to a surface. In this work, we studied ApAFP752, an AFP from the beetle Anatolica polita, and first investigated whether removing the fusion protein attached during protein expression would result in a difference in freezing behavior. We performed optical microscopy to examine ice-crystal shape, micro-structure, and the recrystallization behavior of frozen droplets of AFP solutions. We developed a surface chemistry approach to tether these proteins to glass surfaces and conducted droplet-freezing experiments to probe the interactions of these proteins with ice formed on those surfaces. In solution, ApAFP752 did not show any DIS or TH, but it did show IRI capabilities. In surface studies, the freezing of AFP droplets on clean glass surfaces showed no dependence on concentration, and the results from freezing water droplets on AFP-decorated surfaces were inconclusive.
  • White Sands Missile Range Thurgood Canyon Watershed: Analysis of Range Road 7 for Development of Best Management Practices and Recommendations

    Abstract: Thurgood Canyon, located on White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), contains an alluvial fan that is bisected by a primary installation road and is in the proximity of sensitive fish habitats. This project was initiated to determine if and how sensitive fish habitats at the base of the fan are impacted by the existing drainage infrastructure and to assess the condition and sustainability of the existing transportation infrastructure. Findings show that the current drainage infrastructure maintains flow energy and sediment carrying capacity further down the fan than would occur in its absence. However, frequent to moderately rare (small to medium) flood events dissipate over 2 km from sensitive habitat, and overland flow and sediment do not reach the base of the fan. Controlled flow diversion is recommended upstream of the road to mitigate infrastructure or habitat impacts during very rare (very large) flood events. A comprehensive operation and management approach is presented to achieve sustainable transportation infrastructure and reduce the likelihood of impacts to the sensitive habitat.
  • Buried-Object-Detection Improvements Incorporating Environmental Phenomenology into Signature Physics

    Abstract: The ability to detect buried objects is critical for the Army. Therefore, this report summarizes the fourth year of an ongoing study to assess environmental phenomenological conditions affecting probability of detection and false alarm rates for buried-object detection using thermal infrared sensors. This study used several different approaches to identify the predominant environmental variables affecting object detection: (1) multilevel statistical modeling, (2) direct image analysis, (3) physics-based thermal modeling, and (4) application of machine learning (ML) techniques. In addition, this study developed an approach using a Canny edge methodology to identify regions of interest potentially harboring a target object. Finally, an ML method was developed to improve automatic target detection and recognition performance by accounting for environmental phenomenological conditions, improving performance by 50% over standard automatic target detection and recognition software.
  • Financing Natural Infrastructure: Exploration Green, Texas

    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 process for Exploration Green, a large- scale community initiative that transformed a former golf course into a multipurpose green space with flood detention, habitat, and recreation benefits. It is one in a series of technical notes that document 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.
  • Fort McCoy Firing Ranges and Military Training Lands: A History and Analysis

    Abstract: The US Congress codified the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), the nation’s most effective cultural resources legislation to date, mostly through establishing the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The NHPA requires Federal agencies to address their cultural resources, which are defined as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object. Section 110of the NHPA requires Federal agencies to inventory and evaluate their cultural resources, and Section 106 requires them to determine the effect of Federal undertakings on those potentially eligible for the NRHP. Fort McCoy is entirely within Monroe County in west-central Wisconsin. It was first established as the Sparta Maneuver Tract in 1909.The post was renamed Camp McCoy in 1926. Since 1974, it has been known as Fort McCoy. This report provides a historic context for ranges, features, and buildings associated with the post’s training lands in support of Section 110 of the NHPA.
  • Birds of the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area, Portsmouth, Virginia, 2008-2020

    Abstract: This report presents the results of a long-term trend analyses of seasonal bird community data from a monitoring effort conducted on the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area (CIDMMA) from 2008 to 2020, Portsmouth, VA. The USACE Richmond District collaborated with the College of William and Mary and the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory, Waterbird Team, to conduct year-round semimonthly area counts of the CIDMMA to examine species presence and population changes overtime. This effort provides information on the importance of the area to numerous bird species and bird species’ groups and provides an index to those species and group showing significant changes in populations during the monitoring period. We identified those species regionally identified as Highest, High, and Moderate Priority Species based on their status as rare, sensitive, or in need of conservation attention as identified by the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture (ACJV), Bird Conservation Region (BCR), New England/Mid-Atlantic Bird Conservation Area (BCR 30). Of 134 ranked priority species in the region, the CIDMMA supported 102 of 134 (76%) recognized in the BCR, including 16 of 19 (84%) of Highest priority ranked species, 47 of 60 (78.3%) of High priority species, and 39 of 55 (71%) of Moderate priority species for BCR 30. All bird count and species richness data collected were fitted to a negative binomial (mean abundance) or Poisson distribution (mean species richness) and a total of 271 species and over 1.5 million birds were detected during the monitoring period. Most all bird species and species groups showed stable or increasing trends during the monitoring period. These results indicate that the CIDMMA is an important site that supports numerous avian species of local and regional conservation concern throughout the year.
  • A Fuzzy Epigenetic Model for Representing Degradation in Engineered Systems

    Abstract: Degradation processes are implicated in a large number of system failures, and are crucial to understanding issues related to reliability and safety. Systems typically degrade in response to stressors, such as physical or chemical environmental conditions, which can vary widely for identical units that are deployed in different places or for different uses. This situational variance makes it difficult to develop accurate physics-based or data-driven models to assess and predict the system health status of individual components. To address this issue, we propose a fuzzy set model for representing degradation in engineered systems that is based on a bioinspired concept from the field of epigenetics. Epigenetics is concerned with the regulation of gene expression resulting from environmental or other factors, such as toxicants or diet. One of the most studied epigenetic processes is methylation, which involves the attachment of methyl groups to genomic regulatory regions. Methylation of specific genes has been implicated in numerous chronic diseases, so provides an excellent analog to system degradation. We present a fuzzy set model for characterizing system degradation as a methylation process based on a set-theoretic representation for epigenetic modeling of engineered systems. This model allows us to capture the individual dynamic relationships among a system, environmental factors, and state of health .
  • Wave Attenuation of Coastal Mangroves at a Near-Prototype Scale

    Abstract: A physical model study investigating the dissipation of wave energy by a 1:2.1 scale North American red mangrove forest was performed in a large-scale flume. The objectives were to measure the amount of wave attenuation afforded by mangroves, identify key hydrodynamic parameters influencing wave attenuation, and provide methodologies for application. Seventy-two hydrodynamic conditions, comprising irregular and regular waves, were tested. The analysis related the dissipation to three formulations that can provide estimates of wave attenuation for flood risk management projects considering mangroves: damping coefficient β, drag coefficient CD, and Manning’s roughness coefficient n. The attenuation of the incident wave height through the 15.12 m long, 1:2.1 scale mangrove forest was exponential in form and varied from 13%–77%. Water depth and incident wave height strongly influenced the amount of wave attenuation. Accounting for differences in water depth using the sub-merged volume fraction resulted in a common fit of the damping coefficient as a function of relative wave height and wave steepness. The drag coefficient demonstrated a stronger relationship with the Keulegan–Carpenter number than the Reynolds number. The linear relationship be-tween relative depth and Manning’s n was stronger than that between Manning’s n and either relative wave height or wave steep