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Notifications of the Newest Publications and Reports Released by ERDC

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  • Ecological Model Development: Evaluation of System Quality

    PURPOSE: Ecological models are used throughout the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to inform decisions related to ecosystem restoration, water operations, environmental impact assessment, environmental mitigation, and other topics. Ecological models are typically developed in phases of conceptualization, quantification, evaluation, application, and communication. Evaluation is a process for assessing the technical quality, reliability, and ecological basis of a model and includes techniques such as calibration, verification, validation, and review. In this technical note (TN), we describe an approach for evaluating system quality, which generally includes the computational integrity, numerical accuracy, and programming of a model or modeling system. Methods are presented for avoiding computational errors during development, detecting errors through model testing, and updating models based on review and use. A formal structure is proposed for model test plans and subsequently demonstrated for a hypothetical habitat suitability model. Overall, this TN provides ecological modeling practitioners with a rapid guide for evaluating system quality.
  • Boronic Acid Functionalized Ferrocene Derivatives Towards Fluoride Sensing

    Abstract: In this technical report (TR), a robust, readily synthesized molecule with a ferrocene core appended with one or two boronic acid moieties was designed, synthesized, and used toward F- (free fluoride) detection. Through Lewis acid-base interactions, the boronic acid derivatives are capable of binding with F- in an aqueous solution via ligand exchange reaction and is specific to fluoride ion. Fluoride binding to ferrocene causes significant changes in fluorescence or electrochemical responses that can be monitored with field-portable instrumentation at concentrations below the WHO recommended limit. The F- binding interaction was further monitored via proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR). In addition, fluorescent spectroscopy of the boronic acid moiety and electrochemical monitoring of the ferrocene moiety will allow detection and estimation of F- concentration precisely in a solution matrix. The current work shows lower detection limit (LOD) of ~15 µM (285 μg/L) which is below the WHO standards. Preliminary computational calculations showed the boronic acid moieties attached to the ferrocene core interacted with the fluoride ion. Also, the ionization diagrams indicate the amides and the boronic acid groups can be ionized forming strong ionic interactions with fluoride ions in addition to hydrogen bonding interactions.
  • Optimizing the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment, and Transformation System (HABITATS)

    Abstract: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) continue to affect lakes and waterways across the nation, often resulting in environmental and economic damage at regional scales. The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and collaborators have continued research on the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment, and Transformation System (HABITATS) project to develop a rapidly deployable and scalable system for mitigating large HABs. The second year of the project focused on optimization research, including (1) development of a new organic flocculant formulation for neutralization and flotation of algal cells; (2) testing and initial optimization of a new, high-throughput biomass dewatering system with low power requirements; (3) development, design, assembly, and initial testing of the first shipboard HABITATS prototype; (4) execution of two field pilot studies of interception and treatment systems in coordination with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; (5) conversion of algal biomass into biocrude fuel at pilot scale with a 33% increase in yield compared to the previous bench scale continuous-flow reactor studies; and (6) refinement of a scalability analysis and optimization model to guide the future development of full-scale prototypes.
  • Environmental Quality Requirements Model Program Objective Memorandum Fiscal Years 2021–2025

    Abstract: This document describes the methodology used to evaluate the costs incurred by organizations involved in planning, programming, budgeting, and execution of the Army’s environmental programs and estimating those costs for future year planning cycles, this model is referred to as the Environmental Quality Requirements Model (EQRM). The EQRM is used to develop the budget positions as presented to Congress to obtain the Operations and Maintenance appropriations. These appropriations fund the Environmental Quality Program which includes Compliance, Conservation and Pollution Prevention requirements. The model encompasses the commands under the funding structure of the Deputy Chief of Staff – G9 Installations which includes the following: Installation Management Command, the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve Command, and the Army Materiel Command.
  • Long-Term Stability and Efficacy of Historic Activated Carbon (AC) Deployments at Diverse Freshwater and Marine Remediation Sites

    Abstract: A number of sites around the United States have used activated carbon (AC) amendments to remedy contaminated sediments. Variation in site-specific characteristics likely influences the long-term fate and efficacy of AC treatment. The long-term effectiveness of an AC amendment to sediment is largely unknown, as the field performance has not been monitored for more than three years. As a consequence, the focus of this research effort was to evaluate AC’s long-term (6–10 yr) performance. These assessments were performed at two pilot-scale demonstration sites, Grasse River, Massena, New York and Canal Creek, Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Aberdeen, Maryland, representing two distinct physical environments. Sediment core samples were collected after 6 and 10 years of remedy implementation at APG and Grasse River, respectively. Core samples were collected and sectioned to determine the current vertical distribution and persistence of AC in the field. The concentration profile of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in sediment pore water with depth was measured using passive sampling. Sediment samples from the untreated and AC-treated zones were also assessed for bioaccumulation in benthic organisms. The data collected enabled comparison of AC distribution, PCB concentrations, and bioaccumulation measured over the short- and long-term (months to years).
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Water Quality Visualization Tools: A Python Application (1/A)

    Abstract: On May 4, 2016, US District Court Judge Simon ordered the US Army Corps of Engineers and two other Action Agencies to produce a comprehensive Environmental Impacts Statement (EIS) by March 26, 2021. To do this, the Columbia River Systems Operation (CRSO) EIS will evaluate and compare a range of alternatives to offset or minimize any remaining unavoidable impacts. Due to the unique large system model approach, there is a need to quickly develop and analyze water quality model results. Therefore, there was a need for several visualization tools to assist the CRSO EIS team in promptly analyzing the results and creating publication-ready graphics. To create the most accessible desktop application for the CRSO EIS team, the Python programming language was used to quickly create three visualization tools. These three tools are only useful for relatively small data sets. If the team wishes to expand the functionality for larger data sets, it is recommended that model execution and analysis be moved to the supercomputers.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Conspecific Attraction as a Management Tool for Endangered and At-Risk Species on Military Lands

    Abstract: Movements of wildlife species and associated colonization of habitats is often unpredictable, potentially leading to ineffective management and/or interference with military training. Habitat restoration for wildlife management on military lands is a common, yet expensive, response to federal conservation and mitigation mandates, yet viable wildlife populations often fail to become established on restored habitat. Conspecific attraction, using the tendency for individuals of the same species to settle near one another, can be a cost-effective means of attracting animals to newly created or restored habitats. This work demonstrated the use of conspecific attraction as an alternative tool for encouraging colonization of restored habitats by at-risk birds and amphibians. Conspecific attraction was relatively straightforward to employ, but its effectiveness varied among species. We demonstrated clear success in attracting some bird (northern bobwhite; Colinus virginianus) and frog (wood frogs; Lithobates sylvaticus) species into our target areas but other species showed a neutral response. Conspecific attraction presents a cost-effective alternative to current management practices such as translocation or colonization after habitat is created or restored. Only minimal equipment costs (<$300/broad-cast station) and nominal work-hours are required to set up the equipment, and total cost was ~$1,200 per demonstration plot annually.