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Category: Technology
  • Demonstration of an Autonomous Sailing Vessel for Monitoring Nearshore and Offshore Marine Environments

    Abstract: This technical note describes the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) application of an autonomous sailing vessel (ASV) to monitor water quality near underwater unexploded ordnance in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and the Center for Acoustics Research and Education, University of New Hampshire, application of the ASV to monitor the ocean soundscape along the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Invasive Species Costs to the USACE Navigation Business Line: A Demonstration Analysis in the Chicago District

    Abstract: Executive Order 13112 requires federal agencies to report invasive species costs to the National Invasive Species Counsel (NISC) annually. NISC then reports to Congress to increase awareness of invasive species and encourage inter-agency cooperation. Since 2005, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has provided an annual estimate for the Civil Works (CW) business lines. Traditionally, USACE estimates have been informed by broad assumptions, as many invasive species costs are not itemized. This study sought to develop a method to improve these estimates. A demonstration analysis was conducted for the Chicago District Navigation Business Line and was used to inform recommendations for a nation-wide analysis. The demonstration revealed invasive species-related costs represent about 0.2% ($64,000) of the district’s Navigation Business Line. Invasive species costs are subject to many variables, such as the type, prevalence, and impact of invasive species, as well as the number and type of navigation projects. The Chicago District results are not presumed to be indicative of other districts’ invasive species costs. Rather, the demonstration informed the development of an invasive species cost estimating method that can adapted for each CW business line, as well as variations in invasive species and projects across geographic regions. This report describes the demonstration analysis and presents a defensible framework for quantifying the costs of invasive species to the USACE CW program.
  • Coastal Hazards System–Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands (CHS-PR)

    Abstract: The South Atlantic Coastal Study (SACS) was completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers to quantify storm surge and wave hazards allowing for the expansion of the Coastal Hazards System (CHS) to the South Atlantic Division (SAD) domain. The goal of the CHS-SACS was to quantify coastal storm hazards for present conditions and future sea level rise (SLR) scenarios to aid in reducing flooding risk and increasing resiliency in coastal environments. CHS-SACS was completed for three regions within the SAD domain, and this report focuses on the Coastal Hazards System–Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands (CHS-PR). This study applied the CHS Probabilistic Coastal Hazard Analysis (PCHA) framework for quantifying tropical cyclone (TC) responses, leveraging new atmospheric and hydrodynamic numerical model simulations of synthetic TCs developed explicitly for the CHS-PR region. This report focuses on documenting the PCHA conducted for CHS-PR, including the characterization of storm climate, storm sampling, storm recurrence rate estimation, marginal distributions, correlation and dependence structure of TC atmospheric-forcing parameters, development of augmented storm suites, and assignment of discrete storm weights to the synthetic TCs. As part of CHS-PR, coastal hazards were estimated for annual exceedance frequencies over the range of 10 yr⁻¹ to 10⁻⁴ yr⁻¹.
  • Publications of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center; Appendix G: FY22 (October 2021-September 2022)

    Abstract: Publications issued October 2021 through September 2022 by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) are listed. The publications are grouped according to the technical laboratories or technical program for which they were prepared. Procedures for obtaining ERDC reports are included in the Preface.
  • In Situ and Time

    Abstract: Large-scale HPC simulations with their inherent I/O bottleneck have made in situ visualization an essential approach for data analysis, although the idea of in situ visualization dates back to the era of coprocessing in the 1990s. In situ coupling of analysis and visualization to a live simulation circumvents writing raw data to disk for post-mortem analysis -- an approach that is already inefficient for today's very large simulation codes. Instead, with in situ visualization, data abstracts are generated that provide a much higher level of expressiveness per byte. Therefore, more details can be computed and stored for later analysis, providing more insight than traditional methods. This workshop encouraged talks on methods and workflows that have been used for large-scale parallel visualization, with a particular focus on the in situ case.
  • Evaluation of Cedar Tree Revetments for Bank Stabilization at the Locust Creek Conservation Area, Missouri: Quantifying Bank Erosion Volumes from Preproject to Postfailure

    Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers Regional Sediment Management (RSM) program funded research to assess the longevity and effectiveness of cedar tree revetments for sediment reduction. Between 1988 and 1997, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) constructed multiple cedar tree revetments, plantings, and a grade-control structure at an experimental stream management area on Locust Creek within the Locust Creek Conservation Area (LCCA). For the first few years, MDC also replaced missing trees as needed. MDC monitored these sites with photographs and cross sections until 2004. This study evaluated bank stability on Locust Creek from 1970 to 2019 using aerial imagery, lidar, ground surveys, and a December 2019 site visit to estimate the areal change in streambanks and the volume of sediment eroded over the years. Based on their dates of construction, the project compared preproject, with-project, and postfailure conditions at each site. The project included cedar tree revetments, other hardwood revetments, plantings, and a grade-control structure. This research found a 50% to 64% reduction in erosion for approximately 14 years. As of December 2019, all tree revetments had failed, and banks were bare and steep. The grade-control structure remained intact and continued to stabilize bed and banks immediately upstream.
  • A Review of Tidal Embayment Shoaling Mechanisms in the Context of Future Wetland Placement

    Abstract: Wetland construction in tidally influenced embayments is a strategy for beneficial use of sediment dredged from nearby navigation channels. These projects have the potential to alter basin morphology, tidal hydrodynamics, and shoaling trends. This special report provides a broad review of the literature related to engineering-induced changes in tidal range, salinity, tidal prism, tidal asymmetry, and other known causes of shoaling. Each potential shoaling mechanism is then evaluated in the context of wetland placement to provide a foundation for future beneficial use research. Based on a compilation of worldwide examples, wetland placement may reduce tidal amplitude and enhance ebb current dominance, thus reducing shoaling rates in the channels. However, constructed wetlands could also reduce the embayment’s tidal prism and cause accelerated shoaling relative to the pre-engineered rate. Because constructed wetlands are often created in conjunction with navigation channel dredging, the system’s morphologic response to wetland construction is likely to be superimposed upon its response to channel deepening, and the net effect may vary depending on a variety of system- specific parameters. Planning for future wetland placements should include an evaluation of local hydrodynamic behavior considering these factors to predict site-specific response.
  • Ship-Induced Waves at Tybee Island, Georgia

    Abstract: Commercial vessels transiting the Savannah entrance channel intermittently generate large wake events at Tybee Island, Georgia, creating a potential hazard for beachgoers. However, not all commercial vessels generate large wakes, and the relationship between vessel dimensions, operating conditions, wake height, and drawdown magnitude is unclear. This study evaluates bathymetric data, high-frequency wave and vessel wake measurements, and broadcast vessel identification over a 4-month period with the goal of providing a quantitative characterization of vessel wake conditions at Tybee Island. Data from 1,386 cargo vessel passages and 202 tanker passages indicate that vessel dimensions (length and beam) are positively correlated with drawdown magnitude and secondary wake height, although large vessels do not consistently generate large wakes. Container ships, which tended to travel faster than tankers, corresponded to the largest wakes in the dataset. A further hypothesis is that tidally modulated energy dissipation may favor smaller vessel wake uprush at low tide and larger uprush at high tide, but this idea cannot be confirmed without additional measurements to quantify nonlinear wave propagation on the beach face. Based on the collected data, the study concludes with four recommendations for reducing risk to beachgoers.
  • Automation of Gridded HEC-HMS Model Development Using Python: Initial Condition Testing and Calibration Applications

    Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers’s (USACE) Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) rainfall-runoff model is widely used within the research community to develop both event-based and continuous rainfall-runoff models. The soil moisture accounting (SMA) algorithm is commonly used for long-term simulations. Depending on the final model setup, 12 to 18 parameters are needed to characterize the modeled watershed’s canopy, surface, soil, and routing processes, all of which are potential calibration parameters. HEC-HMS includes optimization tools to facilitate model calibration, but only initial conditions (ICs) can be calibrated when using the gridded SMA algorithm. Calibrating a continuous SMA HEC-HMS model is an iterative process that can require hundreds of simulations, a time intensive process requiring automation. HEC-HMS is written in Java and is predominantly run through a graphical user interface (GUI). As such, conducting a long-term gridded SMA calibration is infeasible using the GUI. USACE Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) has written a workflow that utilizes the existing Jython application programming interface (API) to batch run HEC-HMS simulations with Python. The workflow allows for gridded SMA HEC-HMS model sensitivity and calibration analyses to be conducted in a timely manner.
  • Risk-Based Prioritization of Operational Condition Assessments: Methodology and Case Study Results

    Abstract: USACE operates, maintains, and manages more than $232 billion of the Nation’s water resource infrastructure. USACE uses the Operational Condition Assessment (OCA) to allocate limited resources to assess condition of this infrastructure in efforts to minimize risks associated with performance degradation. The analysis of risk associated with flood risk management (FRM) assets includes consideration of how each asset contributes to its associated FRM watershed system, understanding the consequences of the asset’s performance degradation, and a determination of the likelihood that the asset will perform as expected given the current OCA condition ratings of critical components. This research demonstrates a proof-of-concept application of a scalable methodology to model the probability of a dam performing as expected given the state of its gates and their components. The team combines this likelihood of degradation with consequences generated by the application of designed simulation experiments with hydrological models to develop a risk measure. The resulting risk scores serve as an input for a mixed-integer optimization program that outputs the optimal set of components to conduct OCAs on to minimize risk in the watershed. This report documents the results of the application of this methodology to two case studies.