Publication Notices

Notifications of New Publications Released by ERDC

Contact ERDC Library

601.501.7632 - text
601.634.2355 - voice


ERDC Library Catalog

Not finding what you are looking for? Search the ERDC Library Catalog

Tag: Environmental Management
  • Proceedings from the Basin Sediment Management for Unique Island Topography Workshop, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

    Abstract: This report summarizes the Basin Sediment Management for Unique Island Topography Workshop hosted in-person and virtually at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM) Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico on 11 March 2022. The workshop was attended by approximately 80 federal, state, local, and academic organizations participants. It focused on Engineering With Nature® (EWN®), green infrastructure (GI) and low impact development (LID) opportunities for unique tropical island topography and included seven presentations from subject matter experts, a discussion on limitations and problems with prior projects, and two concurrent breakout sessions. Preworkshop activities included a field trip to multiple sites in the Añasco watershed conducted 09 March 2022, which served as a base case for the workshop. The field trip provided participants a unique perspective of the island’s topography and post 2017 Hurricane María issues and impacts. During the breakout sessions, participants identified new project opportunities for EWN®-GI and LID at two selected sites from the field trip. Each group developed alternatives for their chosen site and identified concepts that could turn into great opportunities for the surrounding communities and significantly benefit the state of practice in Puerto Rico’s unique tropical island topography.
  • A Review of Algal Phytoremediation Potential to Sequester Nutrients from Eutrophic Surface Water

    Abstract: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) and coastal hypoxic zones are evidence of cultural nutrient enrichment affecting public health and water supplies, aquatic ecosystem health, and economic well-being in the United States. Recognition of the far-reaching impacts of Midwest agriculture has led to establishing nutrient reduction objectives for surface waters feeding the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Erie, and many smaller water bodies. Municipal nutrient enrichment impacts have been addressed by increasing levels of sewage treatment and waste management through the Clean Water Act era, but HABs rebounded in the 1990s because of non-point source nutrient enrichment. HAB control and treatment includes watershed and waterbody treatments to reduce loading and address outbreaks. Systems to remove nutrients from impaired waters are expensive to build and operate. This review of algal production systems summarizes emerging algal water treatment technologies and considers their potential to effectively sequester nutrients and atmospheric carbon from hundreds of eutrophic reservoirs and DoD wastewater treatment facilities while producing useful biomass feedstock using solar energy. Algal water treatment systems including open ponds, photobioreactors, and algal turf scrubbers® can be used to grow biomass for biofuel, wastewater treatment, and commercial products. This review recommends continuing research on surface water nutrient reduction potential with algal turf scrubber productivity pilot studies, preliminary site design, and biomass utilization investigations.
  • Spatial Screening for Environmental Pool Management Opportunities

    Abstract: US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reservoir projects significantly alter river ecosystem structure and function. Each project adheres to a defined set of operating rules to achieve primary objectives, which typically include flood risk management, hydropower, or navigation along with ancillary objectives for drinking water/irrigation, recreation, and natural resources management. Environmental flows (E-Flows) planning under the Sustainable Rivers Program has demonstrated new opportunities for environmental pool management (EPM; Theiling et al. 2021a, 2021b) that have no negative impact on other reservoir functions. In some locations, water level drivers can be managed to improve ecological outcomes, like wetlands, waterbirds, reptiles, and water quality, by altering the magnitude, timing, frequency, and duration of pool level changes that affect riparian and shoreline plant communities. Reservoirs with large delta areas may provide particularly important wetland or riparian habitat management along avian migratory pathways or in wildlife conservation regions (Johnson 2002). These large deltas can be identified and characterized using available satellite imagery, which along with water level habitat drivers available in hydrology databases, can be used to identify USACE reservoirs with good potential for EPM. A spatial analysis of USACE reservoirs capable to support EPM can be developed utilizing estimates of water occurrence, transition, and seasonality as well as surface elevation data derived from satellite imagery to assess geomorphology drivers. USACE water management records can be used to assess wetland drivers. Nationwide screening will be broken down into ecoregions to establish the anticipated geographic range of variation for wetland and riparian habitat drivers. Southwestern US reservoirs, for example, will have much different hydrology and fauna than Midwest and Eastern US reservoirs.
  • Review of Riparian Models for Assessing Ecological Impacts and Benefits

    BACKGROUND: Riparian zones are key transitional ecosystems between upland and aquatic zones, and these systems are often degraded due to both land use change and stream processes (e.g., deforestation and water impoundments and/or diversions). These important ecosystems require restoration because of the many benefits they provide ranging from providing habitat for diverse species to promoting water quality. Restoration practitioners, regulators, and researchers require riparian assessment methods and models to efficiently guide mitigation and restoration planning. This technical note (TN) compiles a subset of existing riparian tools and evaluates them relative to model objectives, modeling approach, and input variables. Findings are synthesized into a gap analysis of these models to inform future riparian model development and improve riparian assessment.
  • Defining Levels of Effort for Ecological Models

    BACKGROUND: While models are useful tools for decision-making in environmental management, the question arises about the level of effort required to develop an effective model for a given application. In some cases, it is unclear whether more analysis would lead to choosing a better course of action. This technical note (TN) examines the role of ecological model complexity in ecosystem management. First, model complexity is examined through the lens of risk informed planning. Second, a framework is presented for categorizing five different levels of effort that range from conceptual models to detailed predictive tools. This framework is proposed to enhance communication and provide consistency in ecological modeling applications. Third, the level of effort framework is applied to a set of models in the Middle Rio Grande River system to demonstrate the framework’s utility and application. Ultimately, this TN seeks to guide planners in determining an appropriate level of effort relative to risks associated with uncertainty and resource availability for a given application.
  • Real-Time Forecasting Model Development Work Plan

    Abstract: The objective of the Lowermost Mississippi River Management Program is to move the nation toward more holistic management of the lower reaches of the Mississippi River through the development and use of a science-based decision-making framework. There has been substantial investment in the last decade to develop multidimensional numerical models to evaluate the Lowermost Mississippi River (LMMR) hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and salinity dynamics. The focus of this work plan is to leverage the existing scientific knowledge and models to improve holistic management of the LMMR. Specifically, this work plan proposes the development of a real-time forecasting (RTF) system for water, sediment, and selected nutrients in the LMMR. The RTF system will help inform and guide the decision-making process for operating flood-control and sediment-diversion structures. This work plan describes the primary components of the RTF system and their interactions. The work plan includes descriptions of the existing tools and numerical models that could be leveraged to develop this system together with a brief inventory of existing real-time data that could be used to validate the RTF system. A description of the tasks that would be required to develop and set up the RTF system is included together with an associated timeline.
  • Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration in the Texas Western Gulf Coast Plain / Lower Rio Grande Alluvial Floodplain Ecoregion: Resaca Boulevard Resaca Section 206—Vegetation Community Adaptive Management

    Abstract: As part of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Continuing Authorities Program (CAP), Section 206 projects focus on restoring aquatic habitats for the benefit of fish and other wildlife. From 2017–2021, USACE Engineer Research and Development Center–Environmental Laboratory researchers in the Aquatic Ecology and Invasive Species Branch (ERDC-EL EEA) at the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility (LAERF) collaborated with USACE Galveston District, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and local nonfederal sponsors—Brownsville (Texas) Public Utility Board and the City of Brownsville—to study restoration methods on former, naturally cut-off, channels of the Lower Rio Grande River. These aquatic ecosystems, locally termed “resacas,” are home to endemic plants and animals and are thus an important natural resource of national interest. This technical report documents the planning, design, construction, monitoring, and adaptive management activities throughout the Resaca Boulevard Resaca Section 206 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration project. Methods and results for invasive species management—primarily Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthfolia)—and aquatic and riparian vegetation establishment in endemic Texas ebony resaca forest, subtropical Texas palmetto woodland, and Texas ebony/snake-eyes shrubland habitats are discussed.
  • Advances in Dredged Material Evaluations for Inland and Ocean Aquatic Placement: Modernized Processes and Supportive Tools

    Abstract: As part of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ mission to evaluate and move dredged material (DM) to maintain navigation channels, environmental evaluation of the prospective material is required by the Code of Federal Regulations. While existing guidance manuals provide useful guidance to DM regulators, they are over 30 years old and not reflective of the latest science. However, efforts to update procedures and publish the documents individually or as a combined dredging manual have been thus far unsuccessful. These issues, coupled with a lack of consistent reporting and decision documentation, lead to delays arising from challenges addressing project-specific issues not clearly covered within the existing guidance, revisiting previously resolved issues or negotiating disputes between permitting authorities. This technical report provides a path toward modernization of the environmental compliance aspects of DM evaluation guidance in part through software executables guiding the management and decision process and through a structured, evidence-based approach. The value added is an updated approach to DM testing and evaluation decisions.
  • Technical Guide for the Development, Evaluation, and Modification of Wetland Rapid Assessment Methods for the Corps Regulatory Program

    Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Regulatory Program considers the loss (decrease) and gain (improvement) of wetland functions as part of Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting and compensatory mitigation decisions. To better inform this regulatory decision-making, the Regulatory program needs accurate, transparent, objective, and defensible approaches to assess the function and condition of wetlands. Additionally, wetland assessments must balance the need for objective decision-making with the concurrent need to make Regulatory program decisions in a timely manner. Consequently, it is often necessary to assess wetlands using rapidly attainable proxy measures of ecological function or condition by evaluating a suite of metrics that represent structural and compositional attributes of a wetland. In response, this document describes a set of guidelines to effectively develop, evaluate, and modify wetland assessment methods, specifically for the Corps Regulatory Program.
  • Eelgrass Functions, Services, and Considerations for Compensatory Mitigation

    Abstract: Coastal-marine eelgrass habitat is a critical resource within New England and throughout the world. Eelgrass habitat provides functions and services including providing structure, biogeochemical cycling, erosion reduction, habitation provision, and water quality improvement. Declines in eelgrass distribution are often due to anthropogenic processes impacting temperature and water quality. Declines in distribution and abundance highlight the importance of protecting the existing eelgrass, improving environmental conditions allowing for ecosystem restoration, and identifying viable in-kind and out-of-kind compensatory mitigation measures. Considering the limited availability of New England sites for in-kind compensatory mitigation, additional approaches for out-of-kind compensatory mitigation should be considered. These include (1) creation of alternative plant or kelp habitat, (2) using a multi-pronged, multi-habitat and structure approach, (3) contributing to the development of water quality improvement initiatives to encourage current eelgrass bed expansion over time, (4) reduce physical impacts to eelgrass habitat, (5) and identifying locations for future eelgrass habitat suitability based on climate predictions and investing to create future compensatory mitigation habitat in these locations.