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  • Development of a Sand Boil Testing Laboratory and Preliminary Results

    Purpose: To document the purpose, use, and preliminary results of a full-scale sand boil generator developed at the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory.
  • Engineering With Nature: The Role of Mangroves in Coastal Protection

    Purpose: The purpose of this Engineering With Nature technical note (EWN TN) is to review previous studies of mangroves as a nature-based adaptation alternative for coastal protection and flood hazard mitigation.
  • Engineering With Nature®: Supporting Mission Resilience and Infrastructure Value at Department of Defense Installations

    Abstract: This book illustrates some of the current challenges and hazards experienced by military installations, and the content highlights activities at seven military installations to achieve increased resilience through natural infrastructure.
  • Backward Erosion Testing: Magnolia Levee

    Abstract: Using a confined flume device, an experimental study investigated the critical horizontal gradient of soils obtained from a site identified as potentially vulnerable to backward erosion piping (BEP). Tests were conducted on glacial outwash material obtained from a sand and gravel quarry in the vicinity of Magnolia Levee in the community of Magnolia, OH. The two bulk samples collected from the quarry had similar grain-size distributions, grain roundness, and depositional environments as the foundation materials beneath the levee. Samples were prepared at various densities and subjected to gradual increases of flow in a wooden flume with an acrylic top until BEP was observed. The critical average horizontal gradient ranged from 0.21 to 0.30 for a bulk sample with a coefficient of uniformity of 1.6, while tests conducted on a bulk sample with a coefficient of uniformity of 2.5 yielded critical average horizontal gradients of 0.31 to 0.36. The critical average gradients measured during these tests compared favorably to values in the literature after applying adjustments according to Schmertmann’s method.
  • Backward Erosion Progression Rates from Small-Scale Flume Tests

    Abstract: Backward erosion piping (BEP) is an internal erosion mechanism by which erosion channels progress upstream, typically through cohesionless or highly erodible foundation materials of dams and levees. As one of the primary causes of embankment failures, usually during high pool events, the probability of BEP-induced failure is commonly evaluated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for existing dams and levees. In current practice, BEP failure probability is quantitatively assessed assuming steady state conditions with qualitative adjustments for temporal aspects of the process. In cases with short-term hydraulic loads, the progression rate of the erosion pipe may control the failure probability such that more quantitative treatment of the temporal development of erosion is necessary to arrive at meaningful probabilities of failure. This report builds upon the current state of the practice by investigating BEP progression rates through a series of laboratory experiments. BEP progression rates were measured for nine uniform sands in a series of 55 small-scale flume tests. Results indicate that the pipe progression rates are proportional to the seepage velocity and can be predicted using equations recently proposed in the literature.
  • Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay, TX Pre-Construction, Engineering and Design (PED): Coastal Storm Surge and Wave Hazard Assessment: Report 1 – Background and Approach

    Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, is executing the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) project for Brazoria, Jefferson, and Orange Counties regions. The project is currently in the Pre-construction, Engineering, and Design phase. This report documents coastal storm water level and wave hazards for the Port Arthur CSRM structures. Coastal storm water level (SWL) and wave loading and overtopping are quantified using high-fidelity hydrodynamic modeling and stochastic simulations. The CSTORM coupled water level and wave modeling system simulated 195 synthetic tropical storms on three relative sea level change scenarios for with- and without-project meshes. Annual exceedance probability (AEP) mean values were reported for the range of 0.2 to 0.001 for peak SWL and wave height (Hm0) along with associated confidence limits. Wave period and mean wave direction associated with Hm0 were also computed. A response-based stochastic simulation approach is applied to compute AEP runup and overtopping for levees and overtopping, nappe geometry, and combined hydrostatic and hydrodynamic fluid pressures for floodwalls. CSRM structure crest design elevations are defined based on overtopping rates corresponding to incipient damage. Survivability and resilience are evaluated. A system-wide hazard level assessment was conducted to establish final recommended system-wide CSRM structure elevations.
  • 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.
  • Geotechnical Inspection and Technical Review of Santa Margarita River Marine Corps Air Station Levee, U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, CA, 19-20 November 2019

    Abstract: This report describes activities performed, results obtained, and conclusions made from an independent technical review of past levee inspections and the proposed remediation plan for the Santa Margarita Levee that surrounds the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton. In support of the technical review, ERDC personnel performed a supplemental levee inspection on 19 and 20 November 2019 with MCAS personnel. Previous levee inspections had rated the levee system as Unacceptable due to unwanted vegetation encroaching on the levee right-of-way, which prevents full inspection during flooding. Concerns were raised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFW) about environmental impacts of the proposed remediation measures and the necessity of such actions. USFW personnel requested an engineering review from an independent party, and ERDC was tasked with performing the independent technical review. The following special report describes the tasks performed and results obtained from the independent technical review.
  • Rapid Tidal Reconstruction with UTide and the ADCIRC Tidal Database

    Abstract: The quantification of storm surge is vital for flood hazard assessment in communities affected by coastal storms. The astronomical tide is an integral component of the total still water level needed for accurate storm surge estimates. Coastal hazard analysis methods, such as the Coastal Hazards System and the StormSim Coastal Hazards Rapid Prediction System, require thousands of hydrodynamic and wave simulations that are computationally expensive. In some regions, the inclusion of astronomical tides is neglected in the hydrodynamics and tides are instead incorporated within the probabilistic framework. There is a need for a rapid, reliable, and accurate tide prediction methodology to provide spatially dense reconstructed or predicted tidal time series for historical, synthetic, and forecasted hurricane scenarios. A methodology is proposed to combine the tidal harmonic information from the spatially dense Advanced Circulation hydrodynamic model tidal database with a rapid tidal reconstruction and prediction program. In this study, the Unified Tidal Analysis program was paired with results from the tidal database. This methodology will produce reconstructed (i.e., historical) and predicted tidal heights for coastal locations along the United States eastern seaboard and beyond and will contribute to the determination of accurate still water levels in coastal hazard analysis methods.
  • Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study: Coastal Texas Flood Risk Assessment: Hydrodynamic Response and Beach Morphology

    Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, is executing the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study coastal storm risk management (CSRM) project for the region. The project is currently in the feasibility phase. The primary goal is to develop CSRM measures that maximize national net economic development benefits. This report documents the coastal storm water level and wave hazard, including sea level rise, for a variety of flood risk management alternatives. Four beach restoration alternatives for Galveston Island and Bolivar peninsula were evaluated. Suites of synthetic tropical and historical non-tropical storms were developed and modeled. The CSTORM coupled surge-and-wave modeling system was used to accurately characterize storm circulation, water level, and wave hazards using new model meshes developed from high-resolution land and sub-aqueous surveys for with- and without-project scenarios. Beach morphology stochastic response was modeled with a Monte Carlo life-cycle simulation approach using the CSHORE morphological evolution numerical model embedded in the StormSim stochastic modeling system. Morphological and hydrodynamic response were primarily characterized with probability distributions of the number of rehabilitations and overflow.