Dredging Operations and

Environmental Research

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Current Research Fact Sheets

A fact sheet is a one-page presentation of a currently funded DOER research unit. It is used to present the following information: (1) problem; (2) study description; (3) products; and (4) summary.

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Dredged Material Management
Environmental Resource Management
Sediment Dredging Processes
Risk Management
Focus Area: Dredged Material Management
Focus Area Leader: Tim Welp, Research Hydraulic Engineer, Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory

Title: Enhanced Sediment Resuspension Source Models for Dredging Operations

POC: Donald Hayes

Summary: This research project will produce more reliable methods for estimating water quality impacts associated with dredging operations. These methods will be implemented through a new version of the DREDGE model.

Focus Area: Dredged Material Management

Title: Modeling TLP for Project Design Optimization by Minimizing Confinement

POC: Donald Hayes

Summary: This research project will provide guidance to optimize confinement requirements for TLP projects. A range of innovative retention structures will be tested and guidance provided on their application in lieu of traditional dikes.

Focus Area: Dredged Material Management

Title: TES Mitigation and Monitoring Techniques to Increase Dredging Windows and TES Protection

POC: Tim Welp and Dena Dickerson

Summary: The objectives of this research task will be to coordinate with USACE divisions and districts and regulatory agencies to; 1) improve engineering controls (TTC) to reduce turtle takes and 2) develop a more efficient and less expensive turtle survey system to collect spatially and temporally-based occurrence data for making scientifically-defensible risk mitigation decisions. A specific goal of this RT is for TTC to be used during U.S hopper dredging projects in lieu of currently-used turtle deflectors. A turtle survey system capable of more quickly characterizing a larger turtle type and population distribution in specific navigation channels will improve decision making in a wide range of aspects including negotiation of specific terms of Biological Opinions and USACE dredging project management risk mitigation determinations.

Focus Area: Dredged Material Management

Title: Dredging and Dredged Material Management Decision Support Tool

POC: Safra Altman

Summary: Enhancing the CE-DST will improve dredged material management and associated decision making Corps-wide. Developing additional related tools will allow for greater optimization and efficiency of the use of dredged material within the corps and with public and private partners.

Focus Area: Dredged Material Management

Focus Area: Risk Management
Focus Area Leader: David Moore, Research Biologist, Environmental Laboratory

Title: Cost-Effective Stabilization of Dredged Sediment for Capping and Beneficial Use

POC: David Perkey

Summary: The USCAE is seeking ways to reduce the placement of dredged sediments in upland or offshore disposal areas, and instead utilize the sediments beneficially within the local system. The ability to apply clean rapidly stabilized, navigation dredged FGS for beneficial use could save nearly half of the cost of alternative disposals practices. The objectives of this research task are to develop the necessary test methods, analytical tools, and interpretative guidance for identifying dredged FGS most appropriate for beneficial use and how amendments can be applied which rapidly stabilize the created deposit. This guidance will increase beneficial use to support source control, construct caps, and place dredged FGS for wetland construction and enhancement of intertidal zone elevation.

Focus Area: Risk Management

Title: 3D Printed Design for Remediation and Monitoring of Dredged Material

POC: Al Kennedy

Summary: The benefit to USACE operations is greater dredging mission certainty in the face of regulatory requirements on discharges through rapid, targeted treatment and monitoring for CoCs in dredging plumes using materials that can be produced or even fabricated in the field. This allows the capability to rapidly deploy remediation and monitoring measures for unexpected discharge events made possible by 3D printing capability that eliminates the need to order materials and stop operations when waiting for part delivery. The seemingly limitless structural configurations and ability to create novel thermoplastic filaments for printing research tailored additives will provide this research effort with rapid and adaptive flexibility to overcome previous barriers.

Focus Area: Risk Management

Title: Dredging Evaluation Decision Making and Networked Data Documentation (DEMANND) Tool

POC: Al Kennedy

Summary: The benefit to USACE operations is a more streamlined, consistent decision-making process standardized across USACE Divisions through dissemination of a modernized software application platform that is reflective of the latest science and easily updateable for consistently planning and executing dynamic DM evaluations; it will reduce disputes, unnecessary testing, and costly project delays and enable streamlined, cost-efficient reporting of results and faster review by standardized reporting templates summarizing only the essential information for current and future DM management decisions all while being consistent with the Navigation Data Integration Framework objectives.

Focus Area: Risk Management

Title: Risk Informed Management Approach for Evaluating Potential Dredging Related Effects on Sensitive Habitats

POC: Burton Suedel and Safra Altman

Summary: The project will develop and apply in practice a risk-informed management approach for evaluating dredging and placement effects on sensitive habitats. This approach will more completely inform appropriate risk management strategies, thus more efficiently managing and communicating these risks.

Focus Area: Risk Management

Focus Area: Environmental Resource Management
Focus Area Leader: Todd Swannack, Ph.D., Research Biologist, Environmental Laboratory

Title: Integrated modeling to better predict habitat performance from BU and NNBF

POC: Joe Gailani

Summary: This research will develop a coupled physical processes/ water quality/ wetland ecosystem evolution model with fidelity required to evaluate design alternatives for sustainable, resilient ecosystems, including sustainable dredged material management strategies to support wetlands. Guidance for developing similar modeling systems for other habitats will also be developed.

Focus Area: Environmental Resource Management

Title: Threatened and Endangered Species Team (TEST)

POC: Rich Fischer

Summary: The Threatened and Endangered Species Team exists to streamline Section 7 consultations, reduce costs, and minimize TES impacts to USACE missions. The TEST accelerates development of solutions for priority TES issues that will improve budget planning capabilities and operational flexibility to reduce future costs and adverse impacts to USACE mission execution.

Focus Area: Environmental Resource Management

Title: A Framework for Systematic Wetland Beneficial Use of Dredged Sediments

POC: Candice Piercy and Joe Gailani

Summary: This project will demonstrate how to optimize BUDM to support sustainable dredged material management as well as supporting tidal and subtidal restoration and resiliency goals, minimizing dredged material transportation and placement costs and adverse impacts while facilitating collaboration with USACE maintenance dredging operations and coastal wetland managers.

Focus Area: Environmental Resource Management

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes
Focus Area Leader: Joe Gailani, Ph.D., Research Hydraulic Engineer, Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory

Title: Beneficial Use of Dredged Sediment to Support Nearshore Nourishment

POC: Brian McFall and Doug Krafft

Summary: Nearshore nourishment projects provide the Navigation program with placement sites that meet the federal standard, provide sustainable placement capacity, and provide coastal resilience benefits. These practices compliment direct beach nourishment and other more costly DMM alternatives with the added benefit that they can be used during each dredging cycle. These practices are environmentally acceptable/beneficial and support coastal resilience.

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes

Title: Wetland Sediment Transport Processes Supporting System Resilience

POC: Joseph Gailani

Summary: Wetland acreage must be maintained to support coastal resilience. Placement of dredged sediment in open water to nourish and/or protect marshes will support USACE coastal resilience mission. This research project will improve wetland evolution models that operate on multi-decadal time scales to support evaluation of sediment management alternatives which reduce wetland erosion and/or increase sediment deposition. These models can then be applied to modify long-term dredged sediment management strategies such that the placed sediment supports wetland resilience by reducing subsidence and/or edge erosion. Benefits of this change of parctice may be observable only on the scale of decades. Therefore, robust models that demonstrate benefits (and identify risks) are critical to implementing sustainable, beneficial dredged sediment management practices.An internal USACE team will support application of this system throughout USACE. Using this system, Cost-effective dredged sediment LTMS will be implemented and benefits will be provided across multiple USACE business lines.

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes

Title: Comprehensive Modeling Approach to Evaluate Habitat and FRM Benefits from BU

POC: Joseph Gailani

Summary: This research will develop a coupled physical processes/ water quality/ wetland ecosystem evolution model with fidelity required to evaluate design alternatives for sustainable, resilient ecosystems, including sustainable dredged material management strategies to support wetlands. Guidance for developing similar modeling systems for other habitats will also be developed.

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes

Title: Habitat Loss and Performance Degradation from Vessel Wake

POC: Joseph Gailani

Summary: The product of this research task will provide a broadly applicable method to evaluate recession induced by recreational vessel wake and quantify the benefits of channel management, nature-based and hard-structure solutions designed to reduce recession.

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes

Title: Developing a Community Approach to Support Improved Dredged Material Management Strategies

POC: Joseph Gailani

Summary: The product of this research will provide an Expert Modeling System and in-house expert staff to improve community engagement and reduce project costs, reduce delays, and improves stakeholder perceptions of USACE as a partner which can support economic, flood risk management, social, and environmental benefits to a community. Stakeholders will be participate in project development using a flexible approach which identifies and addresses stakeholder priorities. An internal USACE team will support application of this system throughout USACE. Using this system, Cost-effective dredged sediment LTMS will be implemented and benefits will be provided across multiple USACE business lines.

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes

Title: Supporting Bank Stabilization and Riverine Habitat Using Dredged Sediment

POC: Joseph Gailani

Summary: This research will develop a coupled physical processes/ water quality/ wetland ecosystem evolution model with fidelity required to evaluate design alternatives for sustainable, resilient ecosystems, including sustainable dredged material management strategies to support wetlands. Guidance for developing similar modeling systems for other habitats will also be developed.

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes

Title: Sediment Profile Imaging to Evaluate Dredged Sediment Placement

POC: Joe Gailani

Summary: Thin-layer placement of dredged sediment in shallow water can support USACE regional sediment management goals. Sediment can be placed stragically in open water, permitting natural hydrodynamic forces to winnow and transport various sediment grain size classes such that desired sediment classes move toward targeted resources, such as wetlands, mudflats, or beaches. These sediments will then nourish the resources and address sustainability issues related to recession, subsidence, and sea level rise. However, shallow water placement sites often include critical benthic habitat. Therefore, regulatory approval may be difficult to obtain and, once permitted, significant restrictions may be applied to minimize risk to benthic habitat. SPI monitoring systems, placed strategically around a placement site during and after operations can be used to desmonstrate that regulatory criteria are being met. The monitoring systems can also be used to adaptively manage placement operations and assure regulatory compliance. Post-placement, SPI systems will quantify the rate of benthic habitat recovery. Application at multiple sites will permit development of guidance documents to improve thin-lyaer placement approval and management at additional sites.

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes

Title: CORSED Consolidated Sediment Transport Code

POC: Yan Ding and Joseph Gailani

Summary: This project will provide USACE projects requiring sediment transport modeling to utilize one flexible, adaptable sediment transport framework which has been applied at multiple sites where validation data are available. The CORSED library will be linked with operational hydrodynamic frameworks such as ADH, GSMB, and CMS. The CORSED will be incorporated into reimbursable projects as an alternative to the existing, more limited ERDC sediment transport codes. Therefore, technologies will be transferred directly to key districts through this collaboration. In addition, ERDC and USACE will benefit from a new team of sediment transport modelers who understand the complexity of cohesive sediment model parameterization and interpretation.

Focus Area: Sediment Dredging Processes

Last updated on 7/24/2020.