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Category: Publications: Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL)
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  • Remote Sensing Tools to Support Ordinary High Water Mark Delineation

    Abstract: This document is a technical note (TN) that describes existing and recently developed tools to support ordinary high water mark (OHWM) identification and delineation. It also presents a case study to demonstrate how utilizing the tools provide supporting lines of evidence in OHWM delineations.
  • Establishing a Series of Dust Event Case Studies for North Africa

    Abstract: Dust aerosols often create hazardous air quality conditions that affect human health, visibility, agriculture, and communication in various parts of the world. While substantial progress has been made in dust-event simulation and hazard mitigation over the last several decades, accurately forecasting the spatial and temporal variability of dust emissions continues to be a challenge. This report documents an analysis of atmospheric conditions for a series of dust events in North Africa. The researchers highlight four analyzed events that occurred between January 2016 to present in the following locations: (1) the western Sahara Desert; (2) East Algeria and the Iberian Peninsula; (3) Chad-Bodélé Depression; (4) Algeria and Morocco. For each event, the researchers developed an overview of the general synoptic, mesoscale, and local environmental forcing conditions that controlled the event evolution and used a combination of available lidar data, surface weather observations, upper-air soundings, aerosol optical depth, and satellite imagery to characterize the dust conditions. These assessments will support downstream forecast model evaluation and sensitivity testing; however, the researchers also encourage broader use of these assessments as reference case studies for dust transport, air quality modeling, remote sensing, soil erosion, and land management research applications.
  • US Port Connectivity and Ramifications for Maintenance of South Atlantic Division Ports

    Abstract: This study utilized automatic identification system (AIS) data to quantify vessel traffic patterns within a predominantly US port network from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2020, with the methods validated using independent data sets collected between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2019. The analysis focused on South Atlantic Division (SAD) ports. AIS-derived data characterized individual ports’ traffic and port-to-port connectivity for the network. With foreign vessel entrances and clearances (E&C) data, the AIS-reported vessel characteristics enabled calculation of ships’ physical volume, which was a reasonable proxy for tonnage at many SAD ports. The PageRank algorithm was then applied to port-to-port traffic, revealing how individual ports participate in cargo movement through the network. PageRank scores also provided insight into the maritime supply chain beyond traditional traffic metrics. For example, many East Coast SAD ports ranked higher by PageRank than by raw tonnage. Because of the supply chain implications of shared vessel traffic, PageRank scores can augment tonnage metrics when prioritizing channel and infrastructure maintenance. Vessel volume, port-to-port connectivity, and PageRank scores reveal maritime supply chain resilience by identifying alternative destinations for cargo bound for disrupted ports, robustness across supply chains, and the effects of seasonality and disruptions.
  • Strength and Toughness Inputs to Fitness for Service Analysis of Existing Hydraulic Steel Structures

    Abstract: The purpose of this effort is to describe a database containing information about the strength and toughness of steel used in existing hydraulic steel structures (HSS). The lack of information about these properties often presents a barrier to conducting fitness for service (FFS) analysis. The statistical dependence between strength and toughness variables and other database fields is evaluated to assess their potential as predictive variables.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Numerical Analysis of Dike Effects on the Mississippi River Using a Two-Dimensional Adaptive Hydraulics Model (AdH)

    Abstract: This report describes the hydraulic effects of dikes on water surface elevation (WSE) and velocities in the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, MS, from Interstate 20 to Highway 80 using a previously calibrated 2D Adaptive Hydraulics numerical model. Dike heights and their associated hydraulic roughness values were varied to quantify the overall effects of adjustments to dike fields. Steady flows characterized as low, medium, and high conditions were simulated. The WSE and velocity difference plots were generated to illustrate the hydraulic effects on the river under all scenarios discussed above. Overall, the dike adjustments had negligible impacts on WSEs and showed minimal effects on velocities on a system wide scale.