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Category: Technology
  • Sustainable Infrastructure in Conflict Zones: Police Facilities’ Impact on Perception of Safety in Afghan Communities

    Abstract: The notion of sustainable infrastructure for the delivery of social services is to fulfill basic human needs; in war-torn societies, human safety is a critical basic need. The relationship between sustainable infrastructure development and human safety remains under-researched in Afghan neighborhoods. Therefore, this study examined the effectiveness of the police facilities constructed for stability enhancement in Afghan communities. To do so, this study used Afghans’ polling datasets on the police presence and the public safety perceptions, including newly collected survey data related to the influence of the police facilities on human safety and other factors contributing to the neighborhoods’ well-being. The datasets are organized with a multilevel structure in which different individuals are sampled within neighborhoods and analyzed using a multilevel model approach to capture the randomness of the responses. The results showed that police facilities are more important to perceptions of safety in less safe areas and that Afghans in villages perceived themselves as safer than in urban areas, relative to their own immediate region. Those perceiving themselves as being safer were older, more highly educated, and widowed respondents. Overall, Afghans perceived the police facilities as institutional symbol for promoting improvements and opportunities for fulfilling basic human safety need.
  • Hydrologic Analysis of Field Delineated Ordinary High Water Marks for Rivers and Streams

    Abstract: Streamflow influences the distribution and organization of high water marks along rivers and streams in a landscape. The federal definition of ordinary high water mark (OHWM) is defined by physical and vegetative field indicators that are used to identify inundation extents of ordinary high water levels without any reference to the relationship between streamflow and regulatory definition. Streamflow is the amount, or volume, of water that moves through a stream per unit time. This study explores regional characteristics and relationships between field-delineated OHWMs and frequency-magnitude streamflow metrics derived from a flood frequency analysis. The elevation of OHWM is related to representative constant-level discharge return periods with national average return periods of 6.9 years using partial duration series and 2.8 years using annual maximum flood frequency approaches. The range in OHWM return periods is 0.5 to 9.08, and 1.05 to 11.01 years for peaks-over-threshold and annual maximum flood frequency methods, respectively. The range of OHWM return periods is consistent with the range found in national studies of return periods related to bankfull streamflow. Hydraulic models produced a statistically significant relationship between OHWM and bank-full, which reinforces the close relationship between the scientific concept and OHWM in most stream systems.
  • Aligning research and monitoring priorities for benthic cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins : a workshop summary

    Abstract: In 2018, the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center partnered with the US Army Corps of Engineers–Buffalo District, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Bowling Green State University, and the Cawthron Institute to host a workshop focused on benthic and sediment-associated cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins, particularly in the context of harmful algal blooms (HAB). Technical sessions on the ecology of benthic cyanobacteria in lakes and rivers; monitoring of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins; detection of benthic and sediment-bound cyanotoxins; and the fate, transport, and health risks of cyanobacteria and their associated toxins were presented. Research summaries included the buoyancy and dispersal of benthic freshwater cyanobacteria mats, the fate and quantification of cyanotoxins in lake sediments, and spatial and temporal variation of toxins in streams. In addition, summaries of remote sensing methods, omic techniques, and field sampling techniques were presented. Critical research gaps identified from this workshop include (1) ecology of benthic cyanobacteria, (2) identity, fate, transport, and risk of cyanotoxins produced by benthic cyanobacteria, (3) standardized sampling and analysis protocols, and (4) increased technical cooperation between government, academia, industry, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders. Conclusions from this workshop can inform monitoring and management efforts for benthic cyanobacteria and their associated toxins.
  • Spatial Distribution and Thickness of Fine-Grained Sediment along the United States Portion of the Upper Niagara River, New York

    Abstract: Over 220 linear miles of geophysical data, including sidescan sonar and chirp sub-bottom profiles, were collected in 2016 and 2017 by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the upper Niagara River. In addition, 36 sediment grab samples were collected to groundtruth the geophysical data. These data were used to map the spatial distribution of fine-grained sediment, including volume data in certain locations, along the shallow shorelines of the upper Niagara River. Overall, the most extensive deposits were spatially associated with either small tributaries or with man-made structures that modified the natural flow of the system. Extensive beds of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) were also mapped. Although always associated with a fine-grained matrix, the SAV beds were patchy in distribution, which might reflect subtle differences in the grain size of the sediment matrix or could simply be a function of variations in species or growth. The maps generated from this effort can be used to guide sampling plans for future studies of contamination in fine-grained sediment regions.
  • Expert Elicitation Workshop for Planning Wetland and Reef Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF) Futures

    Abstract: This special report discusses the outcomes of a September 2019 workshop intended to identify barriers to the consideration and implementation of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) in US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) civil works projects. A total of 23 participants representing seven USACE districts, the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), and the University of California–Santa Cruz met at USACE’s South Atlantic Division Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss how to facilitate the implementation of NNBF into USACE project planning for wetlands and reefs using six categories: (1) site characterization, (2) engineering and design analysis, (3) life-cycle analysis, (4) economic analysis, (5) construction analysis, (6) and operation and maintenance (and monitoring). The workshop identified seven future directions in wetland and reef NNBF research and development: • Synthesize existing literature and analysis of existing projects to better define failure modes. • Determine trigger points that lead to loss of feature function. • Identify performance factors with respect to coastal storm risk management (CSRM) performance as well as ecological performance. • Focus additional research into cobenefits of NNBF. • Quantify the economic life-cycle costs of a project. • Improve technology transfer with regards to NNBF research and topics.
  • Geographic and Genetic Variation in Susceptibility of Butomus umbellatus to Foliar Fungal Pathogens

    Abstract: Large-scale patterns of plant invasions may reflect regional heterogeneity in biotic and abiotic factors and genetic variation within and between invading populations. Having information on how effects of biotic resistance vary spatially can be especially important when implementing biological control because introduced agents may have different Impacts through interactions with host-plant genotype, local environment, or other novel enemies. We conducted a series of field surveys and laboratory studies to determine whether there was evidence of biotic resistance, as foliar fungal pathogens, in two introduced genotypes (triploid G1, diploid G4) of the Eurasian wetland weed, Butomus umbellatus L. in the USA. We tested whether genotypes differed in disease attack and whether spatial patterns in disease incidence were related to geographic location or climate for either genotype. After accounting for location (latitude, climate), G1 plants had lower disease incidence than G4 plants in the field (38% vs. 70%) but similar pathogen richness. In contrast, bioassays revealed G1 plants consistently received a higher damage score and had larger leaf lesions regardless of pathogen. These results demonstrate that two widespread B. umbellatus genotypes exhibit different susceptibility to pathogens and effectiveness of pathogen biological controls may depend on local conditions.
  • Crevice Corrosion and Environmentally Assisted Cracking of High-Strength Duplex Stainless Steels in Simulated Concrete Pore Solutions

    Abstract: This paper presents a study of crevice corrosion and environmentally assisted cracking (EAC) mechanisms in UNS S32205 and S32304 which were cold drawn to tensile strengths of approximately 1300 MPa. The study utilized a combination of electrochemical methods and slow strain rate testing to evaluate EAC susceptibility. UNS S32205 was not susceptible to crevice corrosion in stranded geometries at Cl- concentrations up to 1.0 M in alkaline and carbonated simulated concrete pore solutions. UNS S32304 did exhibit a reduction in corrosion resistance when tested in a stranded geometry. UNS S32205 and S32304 were not susceptible to stress corrosion cracking at Cl- concentrations up to 0.5 M in alkaline and carbonated solutions but were susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement with cathodic overprotection.
  • Terrain Coefficients for Predicting Energy Costs of Walking over Snow

    Abstract: Predicting the energy costs of human travel over snow can be of significant value to the military and other agencies planning work efforts when snow is present. The ability to quantify, and predict, those costs can help planners determine if snow will be a factor in the execution of dismounted tasks and operations. To adjust predictive models for the effect of terrain, and more specifically for surface conditions, on energy costs, terrain coefficients (ƞ) have been developed. By applying knowledge gained from prior studies of the effects of terrain and snow, and by leveraging those existing dismounted locomotion models, we seek to outline the steps in developing an improved terrain coefficient (ƞ) for snow to be used in predictive modeling. Using published data, methods, and a well-informed understanding of the physical elements of terrain, e.g., characterization of snow sinkage (z), this study made adjustments to ƞ-values specific to snow. This review of published metabolic cost methods suggest that an improved ƞ-value could be developed for use with the Pandolf equation, where z=depth (h)*(1 - (snow density (ρ0)/1.186)) and ƞ=0.0005z3 + 0.0001z2 + 0.1072z + 1.2604. This paper provides data-driven improvements to models that are used to predict the energy costs of dismounted movements over snow.
  • Houston Ship Channel Expansion Channel Improvement Project (ECIP) Numerical Modeling Report: BABUS Cell and Bird Island Analysis

    Abstract: The Houston Ship Channel (HSC) is one of the busiest deep-draft navigation channels in the United States and must be able to accommodate increasing vessel sizes. The US Army Engineer District, Galveston (SWG), requested the Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, perform hydrodynamic and sediment modeling of proposed modifications in Galveston and Trinity Bays and along the HSC. The modeling results are necessary to provide data for hydrodynamic, salinity, and sediment transport analysis. SWG provided three project alternatives that include closing Rollover Pass, Bay Aquatic Beneficial Use System cells, Bird Islands, and HSC modifications. These alternatives and a Base (existing condition) will be simulated for present (2029) and future (2079) conditions. The results of these alternatives/conditions as compared to the Base are presented in this report. The model shows that the mean salinity varies by 2–3 ppt due to the HSC channel modifications and by approximately 5 ppt in the area of East Bay due to the closure of Rollover Pass. The tidal prism increases by 2.5% to 5% in the alternatives. The tidal amplitudes change by less than 0.01 m. The residual velocity vectors vary in and around areas where project modifications are made.
  • The Response of Vegetated Dunes to Wave Attack

    Abstract: Vegetation is believed to increase the stability of dunes during wave attack, but limited data is available. A physical model study was performed to evaluate changes in the dune stability with and without biomass, both above and belowground. The above and belowground biomass was modeled using wooden dowels and coir fibers, respectively. For both the collision and overwash storm impact regimes, the results of this study clearly demonstrate that the inclusion of biomass in the model dune reduces the erosion and overwash. The combination of both above and belowground biomass was the most effective at reducing erosion followed by belowground biomass, with aboveground biomass providing the smallest benefit regardless of the wave condition and water level. Additionally, the overwash of sediment and water was decreased with the inclusion of biomass, following the same trends as the erosion. As the dune eroded, the storm impact regime transitioned from collision to overwash. The inclusion of biomass delays this transition in storm impact regime, providing greater protection to coastal communities. This study highlights the need to consider dune vegetation for dune construction and coastal planning.