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Archive: October, 2020
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  • Microbiological Indicators Reflect Patterns of Life

    Abstract:  Resolving patterns of human movement, specifically for actors of interest, in an urban environment is an extremely challenging problem because of the dynamic nature of human movement. This research effort explores a highly unconventional approach, addressing residual or lingering signatures of interest to the Army in an urban operation. Research suggests that unconventional signatures commonly associated with human presence or prior occupation of a space, such as microbes attached to skin cells or in the gut, may linger for an extended amount of time. In this scoping study, our objectives were to detect microbial communities in the built environment, to examine microbial community composition, and to investigate the longevity of a microbial signature. To do so, we conducted a controlled study to obtain a mechanistic understanding of the fidelity of the biological signatures in the built environment, with a particular focus on their longevity and stability.
  • Development of a General Anadromous Fish Habitat Model: Phase 2: Initial Model Quantification

    Abstract: The General Anadromous Fish Habitat Model (now the General Salmonid Habitat Model) was developed to assist in the plan formulation process for ecosystem restoration and mitigation projects. The model generates relative differences in habitat quality between proposed alternative future scenarios. In order to provide model development transparency, this report presents the initial quantification phase of the model development process. The draft model depicted in this report is scalable, meaning various parameters may be measured at different landscape scales (for example, reach vs. watershed). The model can be applied (model domain) in watersheds that currently or previously supported salmonid fish species. Application outside of the model domain would need further evaluation to ensure appropriate sensitivity to the new system of interest. Although the model is being developed to explicitly capture changes in fish habitat in response to restoration actions, this model would be appropriate for use in any planning project focused on the restoration of streams, rivers and, estuaries (for example, dam removals, in-stream habitat enhancement), because the parameters are measures of ecosystem level structure, function, and process.
  • Barriers to Innovation in USACE

    Abstract: The Dredging Operations and Environmental Research Program (DOER) of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) develops new tools and practices to support the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of navigation dredging operations and then implements these new approaches (that is, innovations).We analyzed the innovation process to increase the adoption and implementation of new approaches and techniques. We then created a literature review of innovation diffusion theories and developed a mental model that identifies the actual and perceived barriers to innovation diffusion in USACE through a case study of its Navigation Program. We built the final expert mental model using interviews with 25 subject matter experts familiar with the program’s processes and external stakeholders. Interviewees reported environmental and budgetary constraints, time restrictions, and politics as the most common barriers to dredging innovation, including those based on the perceptions and beliefs of stakeholders rather than hard engineering or policy constraints (herein cognitive barriers). We suggest overcoming these barriers through changes in communication channels and social systems, such as public outreach through social media channels; interpersonal face-to-face meetings with decision makers; internal collaboration between local USACE districts and external collaboration with outside stakeholders, such as contractors and environmental regulators.
  • Method Selection Framework for the Quantitation of Nanocarbon Scientific Operating Procedure Series (SOP-C-3): Selection of Methods for Release Testing and Quantitation of Solids, Suspensions, and Air Samples for Carbon-Based Nanomaterials

    Abstract: There is significant concern regarding the health and safety risk of nanocarbon (for example, nanotubes, graphene, fullerene), and the cur-rent capability gap for accurately determining exposure levels encumbers risk assessment, regulatory decisions, and commercialization. Given the various analytical challenges associated with the detection and quantitation of nanocarbon, it is unlikely that a single method or technique will prove effective for all forms of nanocarbon, all exposure scenarios, or all possible environmental systems. The optimal approach, or series of techniques, will likely depend on the nature of the material being measured, its concentration, and the matrix in which it is contained. In this work, a preliminary decision framework is presented that assists the user in deter-mining which analytical methods are best suited for a given sample.
  • Acid Sulfate Soils in Coastal Environments: A Review of Basic Concepts and Implications for Restoration

    Abstract: Acid sulfate soils naturally occur in many coastal regions. However, the oxidation of acid sulfate soils can decrease soil pH to <4.0, affecting vegetation and aquatic organisms. Acid sulfate soil oxidation typically occurs where anaerobic sediments or soils were exposed to aerobic conditions (for example, extended drought, artificial drainage, or dredged material placement in upland areas). Recently, field observations documented the formation of acid sulfate materials at multiple degraded marsh restoration locations (Rhode Island, New Jersey, California) following intentional dredged sediment placement into wetland environments designed to increase marsh elevation. Unlike previous studies of acid sulfate soils, the in situ dredged material did not contain acid sulfate–bearing materials at the time of placement; instead, the interaction between the marsh substrate and the overlying dredged material appears to have caused the formation of acid sulfate soils. These findings highlight the need for additional studies of acid sulfate soil formation and fate—especially within a marsh restoration context. In response, this report provides a review of literature related to acid sulfate soils, discusses preliminary data collected to evaluate acid sulfate material formation following marsh restoration, and identifies knowledge gaps requiring additional research and technical guidance.
  • Optimization of LC-MS/MS Parameters for Analysis of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

    Purpose: Integrate US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Method 537 on current instrumentation to provide per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) analytical capabilities for the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Department of Defense (DoD).
  • Aligning Research and Management Priorities for Nitellopsis obtusa (Starry Stonewort)

    Abstract: In 2018, the US Army Corps of Engineers and Washington and Waukesha Counties in Wisconsin hosted a workshop on the invasive macroalga starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa). Leading water resource managers (agencies and commercial applicators), researchers, regulators, and other interested parties discussed issues surrounding starry stonewort invasions in the Great Lakes Region (GLR). Technical sessions presented information on current research, invasion monitoring, early detection, rapid-response efforts, and operational management activities. Research summaries included invasion in Lake Ontario, prediction of invasion risk in Minnesota and Wisconsin using water chemistry data, and bulbil efficacy and distribution modeling in New England. In addition, the workshop offered summaries of attempted chemical and mechanical control tactics. Following presentations on previous studies, workshop participants identified research and management priorities. Critical research gaps identified from this workshop include (a) better understanding of the biology, invasion ecology, and management of starry stonewort; a greater understanding of distribution and movement, especially in the Great Lakes basin; enhanced population monitoring, applied research, and management strategies; and increased technical cooperation across government, academia, industry, and nonprofit organizations. Conclusions from this meeting will help prioritize future efforts focused on the adaptive management of starry stonewort in the United States and Canada.
  • Discover ERDC Support Staff User’s Guide

    Abstract: Knowledge management plays a vital role for the successful execution of research projects at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Accumulating and building upon knowledge is the cornerstone of the research and development process. Maintaining knowledge and providing access to it is essential to the successful execution of research programs. An initiative to improve access to knowledge and tools available to researchers was begun by the Office of Research and Technology Transfer (ORRT). The result of that initiative is a knowledge portal called Discover ERDC. This document provides a detailed look into how content on the Discover ERDC site is maintained from a Support Staff viewpoint, and how those assigned to manage user accounts can accomplish their duties.
  • Discover Employees User’s Guide

    Abstract: Historically, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) has lacked a comprehensive and intuitive system to locate and discover facts about employees within the organization. Employees have traditionally relied on the global address list (GAL) in Microsoft Outlook to locate contact information for another employee. Looking for contact information using this system is very limited in the amount of information available and is not user friendly. This team was tasked with creating a more comprehensive system that would include not only the employee’s contact information, but also a picture of the employee, their biography, skill sets, published papers, educational level, and much more. This type of information is necessary when searching for employees for collaborations or when forming project teams. The Discover Employees system allows users to locate and learn about talent within ERDC like never before.
  • Evaluating Soil Phosphorus Storage Capacity in Constructed Wetlands: Sampling and Analysis Protocol for Site Selection

    Abstract: Soil characteristics determine the capacity of wetlands to sequester phosphorus (P). However, researchers have not yet developed a standard protocol for conducting soil sampling to document the soil phosphorus storage capacity (SPSC) for constructed wetland site selection. In response, the following technical note provides step-by-step instructions for selecting soil sample locations, describing site conditions, conducting soil sampling, and preparing samples for laboratory analysis. This note also includes calculations and interpretation of SPSC.