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  • Financing Natural Infrastructure: The Elizabeth River Project, Chesapeake Bay, VA

    Purpose: Knowledge gaps surrounding natural infrastructure (NI) life cycles and performance thwart widespread implementation of NI in civil works projects. In particular, information about funding or financing the scoping, design, construction, monitoring, and adaptive management of NI projects constitutes a key need as there is no standard process for securing funds. This technical note is part of a series documenting successful examples of funding NI projects and sharing lessons learned about a variety of funding and financing methods to increase the implementation of NI projects. The research effort is a collaboration between the Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) and Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering (SAGE) programs of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). This technical note explores how the Elizabeth River Project (ERP), a nonprofit organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, developed a homeowner cost-sharing program to fund NI projects—living shorelines, rain gardens, and riparian buffers—within an urban watershed.
  • Embracing Biodiversity on Engineered Coastal Infrastructure through Structured Decision-Making and Engineering With Nature

    Abstract: Extreme weather variation, natural disasters, and anthropogenic actions negatively impact coastal communities through flooding and erosion. To safeguard coastal settlements, shorelines are frequently reinforced with seawalls and bulkheads. Hardened shorelines, however, result in biodiversity loss and environmental deterioration. The creation of sustainable solutions that engineer with nature is required to lessen natural and anthropogenic pressures. Nature-based solutions (NbS) are a means to enhance biodiversity and improve the environment while meeting engineering goals. To address this urgent need, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering With Nature® (EWN) program balances economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaboration. This report presents how design and engineering practice can be enhanced through organized decision-making and landscape architectural renderings that integrate engineering, science, and NbS to increase biodiversity in coastal marine habitats. When developing new infrastructure or updating or repairing existing infrastructure, such integration can be greatly beneficial. Further, drawings and renderings exhibiting EWN concepts can assist in decision-making by aiding in the communication of NbS designs. Our practical experiences with the application of EWN have shown that involving landscape architects can play a critical role in effective collaboration and result in solutions that safeguard coastal communities while maintaining or enhancing biodiversity.
  • 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.
  • Proceedings from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 2021 Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Virtual Workshop

    Abstract: On 13–15 July 2021, 58 representatives from Headquarters, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), 2 USACE Divisions, 14 USACE districts, and US Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Environmental (EL) and Coastal Hydraulics (CHL) Laboratories came together and participated in a virtual workshop on the beneficial use (BU) of dredged material. The overall goal was to organize the BU community across USACE and develop a path forward to increase BU practices. Talks and discussions focused on the current status of BU across USACE, including success stories on innovative BU projects, challenges related to regulatory issues, state and federal policies, technical logistics, and stakeholder engagement, as well opportunities for expanding current practices to include more regular and innovative applications. The workshop was cohosted by Dr. Amanda Tritinger (CHL) and Dr. Kelsey Fall (CHL) on behalf of the Engineering With Nature®, Coastal Inlets Research Program, Dredging Operations and Environmental Research, and Regional Sediment Management research programs. The workshop concluded by introducing and awarding the first annual Timothy L. Welp Award for Advancing Beneficial Use of Dredged Sediments to recognize teams (with members across and outside of USACE) that have advanced progress on BU through collaboration, partnering, and innovation.
  • Financing Natural Infrastructure: Exploration Green, Texas

    PURPOSE: This technical note is part of a series collaboratively produced by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)–Institute for Water Resources (IWR) and the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). It describes the funding process for Exploration Green, a large- scale community initiative that transformed a former golf course into a multipurpose green space with flood detention, habitat, and recreation benefits. It is one in a series of technical notes that document successful examples of funding natural infrastructure projects. The research effort is a collaboration between the Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) and Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering (SAGE) programs of USACE. A key need for greater application of natural infrastructure approaches is information about obtaining funds to scope, design, construct, monitor, and adaptively manage these projects. As natural infrastructure techniques vary widely by location, purpose, and scale, there is no standard process for securing funds. The goal of this series is to share lessons learned about a variety of funding and financing methods to increase the implementation of natural infrastructure projects.
  • Informing the Community Engagement Framework for Natural and Nature-based Projects: An Annotated Review of Leading Stakeholder and Community Engagement Practices

    Abstract: In its infrastructure development work, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) engages and collaborates with numerous local, state, and national stakeholders. Projects incorporating innovative approaches, such as beneficial use (BU) of dredged materials and other natural and nature-based features (NNBF), are often not well-understood by stakeholders, including those at the community level. This often results in conflicts and project delays. By sponsoring the development of a Community Engagement Framework, the Dredging Operations and Environmental Research (DOER) program hopes to systematically improve how project teams design, conduct, and measure effective community engagement on infrastructure projects. The purpose of this focused Review was to assesses leading stakeholder and community engagement practices that reflect the state of practice of stakeholder engagement within USACE, and by other leading organizations in the US and internationally, to inform development of the Community Engagement Framework. While the resulting Framework will be particularly well-suited for community engagement on projects incorporating BU and other NNBF, it will be applicable to a broad range of USACE Civil Works’ initiatives where effective stakeholder engagement is critical to project success. The assessment showed the practice of stakeholder engagement has evolved significantly over the past 30 years, with much more focus today on ensuring that engagement processes are purposeful, meaningful, collaborative, and inclusive - reflecting stakeholders’ desire to participate in co-creating sustainable solutions that produce environmental, economic, and social benefits. This, and other key findings, are informing development of the Community Engagement Framework which is scalable and adaptable to a broad range of projects across the USACE missions.
  • Engineering With Nature® Principles in Action: Islands

    Abstract: The Engineering With Nature® (EWN) Program supports nature-based solutions that reduce coastal-storm and flood risks while providing environmental and socioeconomic benefits. Combining the beneficial use of dredged sediments with the restoration or creation of islands increases habitat and recreation, keeps sediment in the system, and reduces coastal-storm and flood impacts. Given the potential advantages of islands, EWN seeks to support science-based investigations of island performance, impacts, and benefits through collaborative multidisciplinary efforts. Using a series of case studies led by US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) districts and others, this technical report highlights the role of islands in providing coastal resilience benefits in terms of reducing waves and erosion as well as other environmental and socioeconomic benefits to the communities and the ecosystems they reside in.
  • The Application of Engineering With Nature® Principles in Colorado Flood Recovery

    Purpose: This technical note features river-based restoration projects that incorporate Engineering with Nature® (EWN®), Natural and Nature Based Features (NNBF) approaches in the Front Range of Colorado as part of a comprehensive flood recovery program to protect life and property.
  • Engineering With Nature® in Fluvial Systems

    Purpose: The purpose of this technical note is to underline the growing need for Engineering With Nature® (EWN) guidance for inland fluvial systems. In comparison to the EWN coastal initiatives, guidance, and technical publications, emphasis on inland fluvial systems has been primarily focused on larger river systems, rather than smaller and intermediate-sized tributary systems. As EWN continues to expand its offerings and support inland systems, there is a strong need to fill data gaps and offer case study examples from underrepresented issues across different hydro-physiographic regions and ecosystems. Accordingly, this technical note offers background on the growing need for riverine EWN guidance as well recommendations moving forward to help address those needs.
  • 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.