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Archive: 2022
  • Automated Detection of Austere Entry Landing Zones: A “GRAIL Tools” Validation Assessment

    Abstract: The Geospatial Remote Assessment for Ingress Locations (GRAIL) Tools software is a geospatial product developed to locate austere entry landing zones (LZs) for military aircraft. Using spatial datasets like land classification and slope, along with predefined LZ geometry specifications, GRAIL Tools generates binary suitability filters that distinguish between suitable and unsuitable terrain. GRAIL Tools combines input suitability filters, searches for LZs at user‐defined orientations, and plots results. To refine GRAIL Tools, we: (a) verified software output; (b) conducted validation assessments using five unpaved LZ sites; and (c) assessed input dataset resolution on outcomes using 30 and 1‐m datasets. The software was verified and validated in California and the Baltics, and all five LZs were correctly identified in either the 30 or the 1‐m data. The 30‐m data provided numerous LZs for consideration, while the 1‐m data highlighted hazardous conditions undetected in the 30‐m data. Digital elevation model grid size affected results, as 1‐m data produced overestimated slope values. Resampling the data to 5 m resulted in more realistic slopes. Results indicate GRAIL Tools is an asset the military can use to rapidly assess terrain conditions.
  • Screening Dredged Material to Meet Placement Requirements

    Abstract: Certain types of dredging projects require screening of the dredged material (DM) to achieve the project’s DM placement requirement(s). Screening in the context of this report will be defined as the separation of an oversized fraction of the DM from the remaining fraction to meet project-specific placement compliance criteria (or criterion). Examples of DM placement requirements include aspects such as removing Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) to address safety concerns and extracting over-sized material for beneficial use of DM (e.g., gravel and debris from sand to meet beach nourishment placement standards). Welp et al. (2008) provide detailed guidance for personnel involved in dredging projects with sediment containing MEC. The purpose of this document is to not only update the previous MEC-centric guidance with newly developed or identified technology but to also expand upon screening aspects to provide guidance for personnel involved in dredging projects that require removal of an oversized fraction for screening purposes other than just MEC removal.
  • Legacy Datums and Changes in Benchmark Elevation through Time at the Old River Control Structure, Louisiana

    Abstract: Vertical datums used in the study area at the Old River Control Structure in southern Louisiana have involved Memphis Datum, Mean Gulf Level, Mean Sea Level, Mean Sea Level Datum of 1929, National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, and the North American Vertical Datum of 1988. The focus of this study was to examine historic benchmarks in the study area to determine the magnitude of elevation changes associated with the different legacy datums that have been used by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Comparison of elevation values across these legacy datums has involved examining historic hydrographic surveys, compiling a list of known benchmarks from these surveys, and comparing their elevation values against publications involving spirit-leveling surveys from the Lower Mississippi Valley and the National Geodetic Survey database for benchmarks. This study describes the history of legacy datums, floodplain geology at the Old River Control Structure, potential subsidence impacts affecting the benchmarks, methods for identification and tracking benchmarks, and the results obtained from this study.
  • Determination of Residual Low-Order Detonation Particle Characteristics from Composition B Mortar Rounds

    Empirical measurements of the spatial distribution, particle-size distribution, mass, morphology, and energetic composition of particles from low-order (LO) detonations are critical to accurately characterizing environ-mental impacts on military training ranges. This study demonstrated a method of generating and characterizing LO-detonation particles, previously applied to insensitive munitions, to 81 mm mortar rounds containing the conventional explosive formulation Composition B. The three sampled rounds had estimated detonation efficiencies ranging from 64% to 82% as measured by sampled residual energetic material. For all sampled rounds, energetic deposition rates were highest closer to the point of detonation; however, the mass per radial meter varied. The majority of particles (>60%), by mass, were <2 mm in size. However, the spatial distribution of the <2 mm particles from the point of detonation varied between the three sampled rounds. In addition to the particle-size-distribution results, several method performance observations were made, including command-detonation configurations, sampling quality control, particle-shape influence on laser-diffraction particle-size analysis (LD-PSA), and energetic purity trends. Overall, this study demonstrated the successful characterization of Composition B LO-detonation particles from command detonation through combined analysis by LD-PSA and sieving.
  • Live-Fire Validation of Command-Detonation Residues Testing Using a 60 mm IMX-104 Munition

    Abstract: Command detonation (i.e., static firing) provides a method of testing munitions for their postdetonation residues early in the acquisition process. However, necessary modifications to the firing train and cartridge orientation raise uncertainty whether command detonation accurately represents residue deposition as it occurs during live-fire training. This study collected postdetonation residues from live-fired 60 mm IMX-104 mortar cartridges and then compared estimated energetic-compound deposition rates between live fire and prior command detonations of the same munition. Average live-fire deposition rates of IMX-104 compounds deter-mined from 11 detonations were 3800 mg NTO (3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one), 34 mg DNAN (2,4-dinitroanisole), 12 mg RDX (1,3,5-Trinitroperhydro-1,3,5-Triazine), and 1.9 mg HMX (1,3,5,7-Tetranitro-1,3,5,7-Tetrazocane) per cartridge. Total live-fire residue deposition (mean ± standard deviation: 3800 ± 900 mg/cartridge) was not significantly different from command detonation using a representative fuze simulator (3800 ± 900 mg/cartridge, n = 7, p = 0.76) but was significantly different from command detonation using a simplified fuze simulator (2200 ± 500 mg/cartridge, n = 7, p < 0.01). While the dominant residue compound NTO was broadly similar between live fire and command detonation, the minor residue compounds RDX and DNAN were underestimated during command detonation by a factor of approximately three to seven.
  • Remote Sensing Capabilities to Support EWN® Projects: An R&D Approach to Improve Project Efficiencies and Quantify Performance

    PURPOSE: Engineering With Nature (EWN®) is a US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Initiative and Program that promotes more sustainable practices for delivering economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaborative processes. As the number and variety of EWN® projects continue to grow and evolve, there is an increasing opportunity to improve how to quantify their benefits and communicate them to the public. Recent advancements in remote sensing technologies are significant for EWN® because they can provide project-relevant detail across a large areal extent, in which traditional survey methods may be complex due to site access limitations. These technologies encompass a suite of spatial and temporal data collection and processing techniques used to characterize Earth's surface properties and conditions that would otherwise be difficult to assess. This document aims to describe the general underpinnings and utility of remote sensing technologies and applications for use: (1) in specific phases of the EWN® project life cycle; (2) with specific EWN® project types; and (3) in the quantification and assessment of project implementation, performance, and benefits.
  • Financing Natural Infrastructure: South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, California

    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 and financing process for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project in San Francisco Bay, California and, like the other technical notes in this series, documents 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.
  • McMurdo Snow Roads and Transportation: Final Program Summary

    Abstract: The snow roads at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, are the primary transportation corridors for moving personnel and material to and from the airfields servicing intra- and intercontinental air traffic. The majority of the road system is made of snow overlying a snow, firn, and icy subsurface and is particularly susceptible to deterioration during the warmest parts of the austral summer when above-freezing temperatures can occur for several days at a time. Poor snow-road conditions can seriously limit payloads for all types of ground vehicles. The US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) studied the McMurdo snow roads for the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs as part of the Snow Roads and Transportation (SRT) program. The goals of the SRT program was to improve construction, maintenance, and use of the McMurdo’s snow roads, with particular attention on minimizing warm-season deterioration. This is the final report of the SRT program, summarizing the program’s activities and findings and emphasizing those parts of the program not previously documented in CRREL Reports, conference papers, or journal articles.
  • The Old River, Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, and Red River (OMAR) Technical Assessment

    NOTE: The Old River, Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, and Red River (OMAR) Technical Assessment is a 9-volume series of reports that was produced under the direction of the Mississippi River Geomorphology & Potamology Program. An abstract from the main report, Volume 1, is listed below, along with the individual volume titles and links to the relevant reports. ABSTRACT: This is the main report of Old River, Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, and Red River (OMAR) Technical Assessment. The primary objective of the OMAR Technical Assessment was to conduct a comprehensive evaluation that aimed to understand the impacts of former and potential changes to the system in the vicinity of the Old River Control Complex (ORCC) over time, the water and sediment delivery regime at the ORCC, and the effects to the river system surrounding the ORCC. Scenarios evaluated in this technical assessment were designed to investigate potential system responses to a wide range of possible operational alternatives and identify knowledge gaps in current understanding of system behavior. This report summarizes and synthesizes the individual reports detailing the investigations into specific aspects of the ORCC and the surrounding region.
  • Geospatial Suitability Indices (GSI) Toolbox: User’s Guide

    Abstract: Habitat suitability models have been widely adopted in ecosystem management and restoration to assess environmental impacts and benefits according to the quantity and quality of a given habitat. Many spatially distributed ecological processes require application of suitability models within a geographic information system (GIS). This technical report presents a geospatial toolbox for assessing habitat suitability. The geospatial suitability indices (GSI) toolbox was developed in ArcGIS Pro 2.7 using the Python 3.7 programming language and is available for use on the local desktop in the Windows 10 environment. Two main tools comprise the GSI toolbox. First, the suitability index (SIC) calculator tool uses thematic or continuous geospatial raster layers to calculate parameter suitability indices using user-specified habitat relationships. Second, the overall suitability index calculator (OSIC) combines multiple parameter suitability indices into one overarching index using one or more options, including arithmetic mean, weighted arithmetic mean, geometric mean, and minimum limiting factor. The result is a raster layer representing habitat suitability values from 0.0–1.0, where zero (0) is unsuitable habitat and one (1) is ideal suitability. This report documents the model purpose and development and provides a user’s guide for the GSI toolbox.