America's Engineers: The People, Programs, and Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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The People, Programs, and Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Partnerships Key to Fargo-


Project Success


Lt.G en .Sc o tt A .Spellm o n Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 10 Interview Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon Commanding General and Chief of Engineers By Christopher J. Augsburger

16 Engineering With Nature By Craig Collins

Headquarters 26 USACE Launches $7.5 Billion Financing Program By Nathan Campbell

Sponsored Advertising Content 28 Purdue University, Lyles School of Civil Engineering: Advancing Interdisciplinary Engineering Solutions for Critical Infrastructure Challenges 56 Structural: Preserving Infrastructure Delivers Sustainability 72 Techflow: Techflow’s Pioneering Innovation Shapes the Future of EV Charging for the U.S. Military 89 Frontier Precision: Drowning in Drone Info? You’re Not Alone 96 GTI Energy: Rising HERO of Resiliency

Mississippi Valley Division 42 Corps of Engineers Builds Underwater Sill in Mississippi River to Slow Saltwater Intrusion During Low Water Conditions By Ryan Labadens 44 Mississippi River Drought Affects Navigation By Janet Meredith 46 USACE Hosts Reciprocal Mekong River Commission Exchange Visit By Nikki Nobles

50 USACE Project Receives National Academy of Construction Award By Nikki Nobles

North Atlantic Division

31 USACE Buffalo District Constructs Emerald Shiner Passage Structure By Shaina Souder 32 National Roofing Program Inspects Army Reserve Facilities Following Hurricane Ian By Abby Korfhage

35 Pittsburgh District Breaks Ground on First Step in Updating Aging Navigation System on Ohio River By Michel Sauret

38 Building Momentum The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law helps accelerate some of the Corps of Engineers most urgent solutions – and create new ones – for communities throughout the states and territories. By Craig Collins

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52 USACE Team Fights Floods in New England By Annmarie R. Harvie 54 New Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Complex Aims to Save Lives By JoAnne Castagna, Ed.D.

Northwestern Division 60 Omaha District Completes First Construction Project Under Tribal Partnership Program By Delanie Stafford

Great Lakes and Ohio River Division

More than Just Water

64 From a Bogey to Birdies, From Fairway to Flyway – Golf Course Gets a Mulligan, Converts to Habitat

All projects are evaluated by our engineers for maximum performance and efficiency

By Nicole L. Celestine

66 Military and International Operations USACE’s Founding Mission By Craig Collins

Pacific Ocean Division 74 Hawai’i Wildfires: Interview With the Outgoing ESF#3 Team Leaders By Joshua Voda

78 Army Engineers Finalizing the U.S. Military’s $10.7 Billion Relocation Effort in South Korea By SeukHwan Son and Rachel Napolitan

80 Army Engineers Construct Half a Billion Dollars in Family Housing Towers on Camp Humphreys By Rachel Napolitan

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TABLE OF CONTENTS South Atlantic Division 84 Charleston District Teams up With Other Agencies for Non-structural Flood Risk Management Project By Francisco G. Hamm

86 New Barricade to Provide Vital Security at Savannah River Site By Dylan Burnell

Transatlantic Division 115 Being All We Can Be By Catherine Carroll

119 Strong Partnerships a Catalyst for Innovation By Catherine Carroll

121 USACE Offers Planning Support to Mission Partners Around the Globe By Joe Macri

90 Environmental Remediation USACE Expertise in High Demand

Institute for Water Resources

By Craig Collins

122 Engineering in the Cloud

South Pacific Division

124 Software Wins Innovation Award for Predictive Flooding Capabilities Following Fires By Ana Allen 126 CRIDA Gets French and Arabic Translations By Ana Allen

By Justin Pummell

98 USACE Lowers Isabella Dam Risk Rating, Lifts Operating Restrictions After Unveiling Dam Improvements By Jeremy Croft

100 LA District Preps for Hurricane Hilary, Keeps Public Safe, Captures Water from Storm By Dena O’Dell 102 Multiple Agencies Collaborate to Provide Homeless Individuals Shelter Before Tropical Storm By Dena O’Dell

104 Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations As weather extremes become the norm, USACE and partners pioneer a new way to manage water resources. By Craig Collins

Southwestern Division 110 USACE Supports the Fort Cavazos Safety Day Event By Randy Cephus

112 USACE Relies on Strong Relationships With Its Customers, and Large and Small Businesses, to Deliver Quality Engineering Solutions By Randy Cephus 114 SWF Hosts Emergency Management Public Law 84-99 Outreach Session By Brittany Scruggs

USACE Logistics Activity 127 Logistics Activity Supports Typhoon Mawar Response By Amanda Rae Moreno

129 Logistics Support Team Members Participate in Emergency Response Training By Amanda Rae Moreno

Engineer Research and Development Center 131 USACE Researchers Looking for Solutions to Great Lakes Water Quality Issues By Jason Scott

133 ERDC Assists the New England District in the Management of Hydrilla By Mary Miller Morgan

249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) 135 249th Engineer Battalion Powers Through Multiple Recovery Efforts By 249th Engineer Battalion

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Cover photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul District civil engineer Aaron Buesing looks at the construction of the Fargo, North Dakota; Moorhead, Minnesota; Metro Area Flood Risk Management project during a site visit at the Diversion Inlet Structure, south of Fargo, Oct. 27, 2023. The St. Paul District is working with the cities of Moorhead and Fargo and the Metro Flood Diversion Authority to reduce flood risk to the communities by constructing a flood diversion project. Once complete, the project will protect nearly 260,000 residents and 70 square miles of infrastructure. USACE PHOTO BY PATRICK MOES

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INTERVIEW Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon

Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon

Commanding General and Chief of Engineers

p U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General and 55th Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon (center) joined U.S. and allied troops June 6, 2023 in Romania, where they were participating in Saber Guardian 2023. Troops conducted wet gap crossings to facilitate the movement of troops across the Danube River at the Bordusani Training Area in Romania as part of the larger exercise, designed to improve the integration of multinational combat forces. USACE PHOTO BY MAJ. LAMAR CANTELOU


t. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon assumed duties as the 55th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on Sept. 10, 2020, after most recently serving as the USACE deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations. BY CHRISTOPHER J. AUGSBURGER


Spellmon, a native of Bloomingdale, New Jersey, is a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He holds a Master of Science in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana and a Master of Science in national security strategy from the U.S. Army War College. Spellmon’s command assignments include commanding general of USACE’s Northwestern Division, where he oversaw an annual program of more than $3 billion in civil works, environmental restoration, and military construction in 14 states, primarily within the Columbia and Missouri River basins; commanding general of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, Fort Hood, Texas; commander, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fort Polk, Louisiana; commander, 317th Engineer Battalion and 3-3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, both as part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia. Spellmon’s key staff assignments include executive director, Office of the Chief of Engineers, Headquarters, Department of the Army; chief of staff, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; engineer intelligence officer, Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps, Rheindahlen, Germany; and observer-controller, Combat Maneuver Training Center, Hohenfels, Germany. Spellmon’s operational deployments include Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm; Operation Iraqi Freedom; and Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Action Badge. What will be your No. 1 priority going into your final year in command? Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon: As I look toward my final year in command of this incredible organization, my No. 1 priority remains safely delivering quality projects on time and within budget. I see this happening through an approach that focuses on the idea of “thinking differently” across everything we do so that our solutions represent a multitude of cultures, disciplines, scientific approaches, and skills. This diversity of thoughts and skills will better advance our efforts on innovation, how we do business, and

“We can only strengthen our abilities and become more agile when we welcome, encourage, and develop fresh ideas and new perspectives from across the enterprise. ” - Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon

how we continue taking care of our most important resource – our people. But thinking differently goes far beyond the mere demographics of an organization. We can only strengthen our abilities and become more agile when we welcome, encourage, and develop fresh ideas and new perspectives from across the enterprise. From exploring new ways to monitor projects to uncovering yet-to-be-developed technologies, “thinking differently” will enable us to successfully deliver the more than $91 billion in work that lays ahead for USACE. One key part of thinking differently is deepening our relationships with our partners. In this next year, I’d like to build upon the successful partnership initiatives of the last three years – such as the publication of a construction partnering playbook; the Partnership Philosophy to guide our relationships across the enterprise; and the partnership charter with the Association of General Contractors of America – and put more ideas into action. Our efforts are beginning to show real results. In fact, in October [2022] we were honored to receive the National Academy of Construction’s Recognition of Special Achievement award for our Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project. This project is a massive effort to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 260,000 people. The project consists of multiple components that are being designed and constructed simultaneously across two states by our partner entities using a process called “split delivery.” When complete, it will provide permanent flood risk reduction measures to more than 260,000 people. Thanks to this unique shared delivery method, we’re on track to complete this project 10 years sooner than if the project was delivered using traditional approaches. In addition, the project is also using a Public-Private-Partnership, or P3, to deliver the project’s 30-mile-long diversion channel and associated infrastructure. The P3 is a

p Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, commanding general, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, views the El Paso Flood Risk Management (Central Cebada) Project from a scenic overlook with USACE-South Pacific Division and Albuquerque District leadership in El Paso, Texas, Jan. 25, 2023. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY USACE-ALBUQUERQUE DISTRICT PUBLIC AFFAIRS

first in the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In these innovative ways, the Fargo-Moorhead region is establishing a new paradigm that can potentially be used elsewhere to construct large projects faster and at a lower cost to taxpayers. We recognize that the traditional way of delivering through in-house design and design-bid-build contracts may not meet the expectations of our stakeholders. We anticipate contracting out more design work and increasing our use of design-build and other alternative delivery methods [ADM] contract vehicles, but we will not do this in a vacuum and need industry’s feedback during acquisition planning stages to help shape favorable outcomes. These new activities exemplify the positive changes that can occur when we listen to our partners and open our aperture for thinking differently. This approach leverages the talents and skills that industry can bring to our proj-

ects early, often, and throughout the life of a project. But partnering is more than a series of discreet events that take place during the construction phase of a project. It is a mindset which embodies a set of behaviors that shape how we interact with each other and our stakeholders. From a technology perspective, I want to build on an extremely productive past year. This year, we released our first-ever research and development strategy, with 10 priorities focused across the globe supporting our warfighters, our citizens, and the environment. And in March, the president requested $86 million for research and development [R&D] in his fiscal 2024 budget request, plus an additional $16 million of associated R&D activities across our business lines. This further demonstrates a commitment to invest in science and innovation that will I 11

INTERVIEW Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon

p U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Melanie Burnham provides an update to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General and 55th Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon in Lahaina, Hawai’i, Sept. 26, 2023. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY KATIE NEWTON

deliver enduring solutions for water resources and other infrastructure and environmental challenges. This level of investment comes at a critical time. Extreme weather events in recent months – including the summer wildfires in Hawai’i and recent hurricanes in California and Florida – demonstrate the urgent need for advancements in R&D. In California, for example, we are moving forward with Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations [FIRO]. This technology allows us to accurately predict and plan for the amount of water an atmospheric river will drop on a particular area. Working closely with NOAA and the U.S. Air Force, we are now poised to complete the first water control manuals that incorporate FIRO into reservoir operations. This is a significant leap forward in the operation of important infrastructure projects in the West, and another example of putting innovation into action.


What remains the biggest challenge facing USACE? Our workload remains our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity. This time last year, we had just embarked on one of the most historic missions in our 248-year history in terms of funding levels. Between our normal civil works appropriations, emergency supplemental appropriations, the 2021 passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and our normal yet massive Military, Interagency, and International efforts around the globe, we were facing a program that had grown to more than $92 billion. Since then, we’ve seen even more growth as we responded to the devastation in Guam from Typhoon Mawar in May, wildfires in Hawai’i in August, and the effects from Hurricane Idalia in Florida. We continue to provide support to communities impacted from a variety of extreme weather events around the country. With tough challenges come innovative solutions, and our team has worked to address these challenges to bring on more

talent. It all starts with people! We have 38,500 professionals — our largest workforce in more than two decades — stationed in 39 countries working on projects in 110 countries. The men and women of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Engineer Regiment have served our nation extremely well, and we owe them the best training, the best education, and the best technology, so they can stand up and deliver on their full potential. I remain laser-focused on continuing to find new ways to hire and keep our country’s best and brightest. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done to continue to engage underrepresented communities across the nation. Just last year, we signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, which provides Native American students with formal access to Army science, technology, engineering, and math jobs and educational opportunities. These are important efforts that we are very proud of, but it’s just the beginning. We know we can and must do more. Our human capital professionals are closely linked with every business line of our organization, hosting more job fairs – both in-person and virtual – and empowered to provide on-the-spot job offers. We’re reaching out to more colleges and universities than ever before, and we continue to improve how we recruit from within so that we develop and retain the right talent. We are already seeing the results of these efforts. Our current strength is higher than our end of fiscal year strength for every year since 1996! In the past year alone, we’ve increased our onboard personnel by 1,300 (3.5%). Bringing people onto the team is only half the battle; we must ensure they have the tools needed to succeed. So, we are continuing to transform our organization and decision-making processes to safely deliver this historic program while finishing quality projects on time, within budget, and doing it safely.


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INTERVIEW Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon

between the Army Geospatial Center and the geospatial intelligence community to modernize the delivery of content-managed, authoritative Army geospatial data and geospatial intelligence software.

p Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project, April 4, 2023. USACE PHOTO

As we draw closer to the Army of 2030, what is one innovation within the Engineer Regiment that you’d like to highlight? We are approaching the most significant Army transformation since the end of the Cold War. To maintain a military advantage over adversaries, we must leverage and exploit new technologies across all domains. A key focus for Army 2030 is preparing for multidomain operations to provide decisive effects for the Joint Force. We know that forward-positioned ground forces — able to converge effects from land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace — complicate our adversaries’ decision-making, disrupt their actions, and assure our allies and partners. This is one main reason why I say that our geospatial capabilities are foundational and at the leading edge of this overall multidomain transformation effort. Our Army geospatial engineers possess unique tools, skills, and expertise to help commanders understand, visualize, analyze, and describe the terrain and its impacts on multidomain operations. That’s why I’m incredibly excited to de-


liver the “Army Geo Data Fabric” [AGDF] architecture. The AGDF is a collaborative partnership across the Army and the intelligence community that provides the first enterprise geospatial infrastructure for the Army. Currently operational, the AGDF will continue to expand capability and functionality to provide the authoritative geospatial foundation across all domains and provide the geospatial underpinning for joint all-domain command & control, and multi-domain operations. Our team is focused on delivering these capabilities for the warfighter as elements of the AGDF. We will also continue to leverage the expertise of our talented USACE teammates in the Army Geospatial Center, the Geospatial Research Laboratory, and the Engineer Research and Development Center to maintain geospatial modernity with an eye on 2030 and beyond. Each of these organizations possesses essential tools, data, and expertise to support our forward-deployed units as they modernize to address future needs. As we move forward, we constantly look outward to expand the collaboration

While a huge portion of the USACE mission is executed right here in the United States, there are amazing things being accomplished overseas that support our nation and our national defense objectives. What are some of these more unique aspects and capabilities within the USACE mission and why are they important? We have USACE teammates overseas supporting each of our nation’s combatant commands, and each project is immensely important. Let me highlight just a few recent examples that show the value and breadth of our overseas efforts. Since 2010, many of our projects directly support military families through the Department of Defense Education Activity, or DODEA. We’ve partnered with them on projects at home and around the world to help deliver on their 21st Century Schools initiative. Through this program, we’ve delivered 40 brand-new schools – 18 in the Americas, 12 in the Pacific, and 10 in Europe, with still more schools on the way. We’re also delivering playgrounds, laboratories, furniture, and any other elements our teachers and administrators require to provide worldclass learning facilities for our warfighter families today and into the future. In the Atlantic, we’re working with allies and partners on an array of projects that contribute to the European Deterrence Initiative, the NATO Security Investment Program, and Foreign Military Sales cases. Projects in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltics, delivered during the past several years, are playing a key role in strengthening NATO, reassuring our allies, contributing to readiness, developing capacity, improving interoperability, and deterring aggression.

“Transatlantic Expeditionary District completed the construction of an $11 million Iraq and Kuwait Bunker Retrofit program, providing higher levels of explosive blast protection for U.S. personnel operating on their military installations in these two nations.” - Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon

Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, the 55th chief of engineers, presents Maj. Gen. Essa bin Ali Al Kubaisi, his counterpart in the Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers (QECE), with a USACE castle at the QECE headquarters. The visit was to discuss the strong partnership between USACE and the QECE. The Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers, USACE’s sister organization, leads planning, design, and construction for the Qatar armed forces. This was a follow-on to a recent visit by Al Kubaisi to USACE’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C. USACE is currently working with our Qatari partners, QECE, on the design/construction of missile defense and fighter aircraft infrastructure. PHOTO BY RICHARD RZEPKA

These projects range from helping field integrated weapons systems and improving runways to upgrading base infrastructure, training ranges, and facilities that benefit not only U.S. forces but our partners and allies. USACE is also managing a more than $400 million investment in the modernization of Army Prepositioned Stock sites throughout western Europe. To support potential deployments, we’re helping deliver the Operational Readiness Training Complex [ORTC] construction program in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Over the course of decades, the long-term concept is for three ORTCs to be delivered, with each ORTC including all the necessary facilities and infrastructure for a full brigade set of Soldiers and equipment. Our Europe District team recently broke ground on the first of several projects in support of this effort, marking the beginning of construction on the first phase of the $1.7 billion ORTC being built there. In the U.S. Central Command’s [USCENTCOM] area of responsibility, we provide oversight of more than $5 billion in projects by combining dedicated and expeditionary district capabilities to deliver innovative, resilient, and sustainable solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense, USCENTCOM component commands, and the U.S. Special Operations Command. With a legacy of more than 70 years in the region, we deliver our program

through two districts; the Transatlantic Middle East District, headquartered in Virginia, and the Transatlantic Expeditionary District – USACE’s only forward-deployed district, a tailored command that merges the Transatlantic Division’s contingency and design and construction capabilities – poised to effectively fulfill both the immediate operational demands and the long-term infrastructural needs of the region. Our mission in the region encompasses more than simply building infrastructure; it’s about creating strategic capabilities and enhancing force protection measures that underpin military readiness and operational flexibility. From missile defense infrastructure, airfields, and hangars, to clinics and housing critical to our U.S. service members’ quality of life, we continue to provide engineering and construction solutions in one of the most dynamic construction environments in the world. Our work is foundational to the success of USCENTCOM’s initiatives. Through the Middle East and Expeditionary Districts, we offer a comprehensive suite of engineering, design and construction services that reflect our core principles of trust, resilience, innovation, and readiness. Our multifaceted efforts ensure that we are not just responsive to current needs but are also proactively shaping the operational landscape for the future. This dedicated approach cements our role as a key partner within the US-

CENTCOM AOR, where our contributions significantly impact the collective security and strategic capabilities of the region’s forces. The Transatlantic Division’s enduring commitment to excellence and partnership underscores our pivotal position in supporting the overarching mission of USCENTCOM In the Indo-Pacific, we design and construct facilities for the Army and Air Force in Alaska and Hawaii and for all Department of Defense agencies in Korea, Japan, and Kwajalein. Our largest workload in the region is our host-nation program where we design and help construct facilities for all U.S. forces in Korea and Japan, including over $22 billion in host-nation construction to date, with $6 billion in host-nation planning, design, and construction underway. In Korea, our team helped complete a timely $22 million runway repair at Kunsan Air Base, allowing full aircraft mission capability to resume at this critical base. We are also nearing completion of a $135 million Housing Tower Complex at Camp Humphreys, providing 216 homes to active-duty families, and a $15 million chapel at Osan Air Base. In Japan, our team helped complete over $30 million in infrastructure repairs across Japan bases, and we are nearing completion of an $8 million postal distribution center on Camp Foster, providing much-needed mailing capacity to distribute mail to bases island-wide. Additionally, USACE deploys Forward Engineer Support Teams [FESTs] throughout the region in support of the INDOPACOM commander’s “To Be” vision for posture to deter regional adversaries. The 34th FEST is currently in the Philippines, conducting project surveys with the Philippine army and navy for airfields, training areas, explosive storage facilities, and road improvements. We continue to go to great lengths to ensure that we apply the diverse array of talents – and thoughts – throughout USACE and the Engineer Regiment, at home and abroad. AE I 15

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Engineering With Nature

Dr. Kelly A. Burks-Copes, chief, Program Support Branch for the Mega Projects Division (MPD) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, right, and Maj. Ian O’Sullivan, deputy commander for MPD, left, speak with National Public Radio Climate Desk Correspondent Rebecca Hersher near the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve during the district’s “Ring Tour.” Galveston District’s Ring Tour takes a route around Galveston Island to show the upcoming and prospective areas where coastal storm surge defenses will be put in place as part of the Coastal Texas Program. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY TREVOR WELSH

Engineering With Nature


he Texas Gulf Coast is one of the nation’s liveliest and most productive economic regions: Every year, about 600 million tons of cargo move through ports from Orange to Port Isabel, generating about $250 billion in trade. A quarter of all Texans – about 7.3 million people – live along the state’s 367-mile coast. BY CRAIG COLLINS


The region is also, for several reasons – subsidence, sea level rise, and storm surges driven by powerful hurricanes and tropical storms – suffering one of the highest rates of land loss of any coastal area in the United States. According to the Texas General Land Office (GLO), “Sixty-four percent of the Texas coast is eroding at an average rate of about 6 feet per year, with some locations losing more than 30 feet per year.”

The GLO is one of the many partners the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District has been working with to study and design an ambitious and cost-effective solution to the many problems associated with these losses: Risks to public health and economies; ecosystem damage; and weakened coastal defenses against storms and erosion. The six-year effort involved experts from other countries and cities

“Sixty-four percent of the Texas coast is eroding at an average rate of about 6 feet per year, with some locations losing more than 30 feet per year.” - Texas General Land Office (GLO)

experiencing similar erosion and flooding issues – and in the Texas Gulf, a new era in flood risk reduction is about to begin, with projects from Galveston Bay to South Padre Island deploying multiple lines of defense, including structures such as seawalls, breakwaters, gates, pumping stations, and reefs. But these lines of defense will also include an unprecedented number of projects aimed at restoring and replenishing the natural elements that have long served to soften the impacts brought by tides, waves, and storms: barrier islands, wetlands, dunes, and beaches. The material used in these restoration projects will be drawn from the roughly 30 to 40 million cubic yards of sediments USACE’s Galveston District periodically dredges from more than 1,000 miles of navigable channels and 29 ports. Once the project is funded, at a cost of just over $34 billion, the Corps of Engineers and its partners will dramatically reduce erosion and flood damage to critical infrastructure while restoring more than 6,600 acres of habitat. Building on a Legacy This hybrid approach to project design, combining elements of natural and engineered systems, isn’t new to USACE. For decades, they’ve been combining their beneficial dredging operations with efforts to restore or create islands that provide wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities, while reducing coastal storm and flood risks. Since 1978, the New Orleans District has used dredged material from the Mississippi River to create and maintain more than 1,000 acres of coastal habitat – wetlands and islands – in the Baptiste Collette Bayou navigation channel. In USACE’s Savannah District, where Dr. Jeffrey King began his USACE career as an environmental engineer and project manager in 2004, he saw up close the important role played by

p Ship Island, one of the four Mississippi Gulf Coast barrier islands built by the USACE Mobile District Mississippi Coastal Improvement Program team, stood up to the test when it was hit by Hurricane Ida. The barrier islands did their job, as they protected mainland Mississippi coastline from getting hit hard by the storm. COURTESY PHOTO

natural wetlands and barrier islands in protecting the Georgia coast from floods and erosion. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana coast and the city of New Orleans in August 2005, it signaled a new era of bigger, more powerful coastal storms, in which the role of these natural features would be critical in protecting coastal communities and infrastructure. Deployed to the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010 as part of the “tiger teams” sent to respond to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, King met Dr. Todd Bridges, an environmental researcher at the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC). “It was a real opportunity to understand the issues and concerns he was talking about,” said King, “and what the Corps could do across all business lines.”

As it happened, King’s career took a short detour from there: He went to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), leading its Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, a facility dedicated to sustaining, protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems. When the slow-moving, 1,000-mile-wide Hurricane Sandy chewed up coastline and caused $70 billion in damage from Florida to New England in October 2012, it highlighted the importance of these natural features. “What was happening within NOAA was exactly what was happening within the Corps of Engineers, and probably across all federal agencies,” King said. “We began to take another look at natural resources and these natural systems, things like wetlands and reefs and coastal islands. We knew from the literature I 17

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U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Engineering With Nature

that they had intrinsic value, that they offered ecosystem services. But we also knew that they could absorb a lot of the impacts associated with natural hazards and these coastal storms. The idea was becoming more and more prominent at NOAA, and likewise, Todd and his team at the Corps were seeing the value of prioritizing them.” For at least three USACE lines of business – navigation, flood risk management, and ecosystem restoration – natural and nature-based features seemed valuable. By late 2010, Bridges and his colleagues at ERDC had codified the incorporation of natural and nature-based features in USACE projects, establishing the Engineering With Nature (EWN) initiative. “These are concepts that certainly were around prior to 2010,” King said. “But we started to see and experience more of those effects of climate change. And then also, looking across the Corps’ business lines, more and more data and information was coming to the forefront in terms of the value of these natural systems. That’s when all these pieces started to come together.” King and Bridges began to talk about how NOAA, USACE, and other partners could collaborate to advance Engineering With Nature concepts and nature-based solutions. The initiative has since expanded into a multimission, multiagency, multisector effort with engineering and research and development components. King, who rejoined USACE as EWN’s deputy national lead in 2016, stepped into the leadership role on Bridge’s retirement in 2023. A key feature of EWN is that it collects ideas from engineers and projects on the ground, many of them at designated “proving grounds” at USACE divisions and districts, who are testing innovative ideas both in labs and out in the field. Principles in Practice The Galveston District was an obvious choice to be one of the first EWN


p Dredging and placement of beneficial dredged materials process underway on the waters of Ashtabula Harbor. USACE Buffalo District, along with partners from the Ohio EPA and the city of Ashtabula, toured the site of the Ashtabula 204 dredging and beneficial use project site in Ashtabula Harbor in Ashtabula, Ohio, Aug. 9, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY ANDRE’ M. HAMPTON

proving grounds. Another is USACE’s San Francisco District, which spans 40,000 square miles of watershed from the Klamath River headwaters, in the Oregon Cascades, to the Salinas River headwaters of San Luis Obispo County. In San Francisco Bay, where salt ponds and farms have taken a bite out of the vast marshlands that once lined its shores, the Corps of Engineers has undertaken several restoration projects: Dredged material is directly deposited in low-lying areas, revegetated with native plants that provide cover and forage for shorebirds, and restored to wetland habitat. “We’re continuing to advance the practice,” said Julie Beagle, chief of the district’s environmental planning section. “We’re filling in big subsided areas that used to be tidal marsh, and trying to make them function as tidal marsh again.” Engineers in the district know that as they continue to restore habitat with these direct deposits of dredged material, the sea level continues to rise, and many

of the wetlands and marshes around the bay, already fragmented by development, are at risk of drowning. It’s a problem that calls for a different strategy. “The question, for these existing marshes that are at risk of drowning and eroding,” said Beagle, “is how do you mimic the process that would have fed them in a pre-climate change world? And how do you do that in a way that can keep pace with sea level rise as the century progresses?” One proposed solution constitutes an experimental pilot project underway at Whale’s Tail Marsh, where waves and tides have chewed a long stretch of shoreline known as Eden Landing. Here, at low tide on the bay’s eastern shore, miniature cliffs appear where the marsh once gently sloped into the bay. Instead of depositing dredged sediments directly, USACE and its partners are experimenting with strategically placing it in the shallow waters just offshore, where hydrodynamic models indicate the tides and wind waves are most likely to do

what they’ve always done: gently sweep these sediments inshore to rebuild and replenish the mudflats and marsh. The plan for the district’s shallow-water strategic placement pilot is set: The state and federal regulatory requirements have been met; the permits are in place; and dredging is scheduled for late 2023. Once the sediments are deposited, Beagle and her colleagues will be able to track where they go, through the ingenious application of magnetic tracking technology: Sand and clay particles will be fabricated to mimic those at Eden Landing, cloaked in a magnetic coating, and painted green. Teams from ERDC, the U.S. Geological Survey, and from England will track these particles as they pass through an array of magnets and get stuck at points along the way. The teams won’t be able to tell how much of the 100,000 cubic yards has been distributed to certain areas, Beagle said, but it will provide evidence of the area of distribution. “It will give us some answers: Did it work? Did the sediment go where we thought it was going to go?” It sounds like an exciting, low-cost, high-benefit solution to marsh restoration – and it may well be, but Beagle cautions that the pilot is just a beginning. “It’s sort of our best bet, when we’re placing not that much material in an already really muddy bay, to try to figure out: Does this type of intervention work, or work a little bit the way we think it should? And how can we adjust the modeling effort or any other type of study? As with any experiment, you can’t do it once and make a judgment. You have to do it lots of times, and adjust and reiterate.” According to King, one of the criteria for naming a district – or increasingly, an entire division – an Engineering With Nature proving ground is that they typically have stakeholders and interested parties who would like to see nature-based solutions be prioritized. “When they collaborate with the Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center,” he said,

“they’re able to accelerate practice and test methods by which more Engineering With Nature technologies and features can be realized.” But it would be a mistake, King said, to think EWN principles are only implemented within proving grounds. In Chesapeake Bay, ERDC, USACE’s Baltimore District, and partners – including NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources – completed a flood risk reduction project in 2019 at Swan Island, aimed at achieving multiple objectives: flood risk reduction, wildlife habitat development, and wetland restoration. “We’ve invested considerable time and effort to better understanding these island systems,” King said. The island, part of the Martin National Wildlife Refuge in Tangier Sound, has historically served as a wind, wave, and storm surge barrier for the nearby town of Ewell, Maryland – a community reachable only by boat, and dependent on two federally maintained navigation channels. Because Swan Island had been heavily eroded over the years, it was an ideal candidate for the beneficial use of this dredged material: In 2018, the Baltimore District deposited about 60,000 cubic yards of sediment to restore the island’s footprint, anchored it with coconut fiber logs, and graded it to elevation. The island was transformed from a fragmented habitat into a 12-acre intertidal marsh and dunes area. “The Baltimore District came back and planted vegetation on it to help accelerate its maturity,” said King. “We’ve been monitoring the island’s performance for four years now, to better understand: How is it maturing? What kind of ecosystem service benefits are being derived? And also how is this island reducing wave energy for the nearby community – creating more resilience for that community and reducing erosion? These are the kinds of studies that we’re constantly doing.” I 21


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U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Engineering With Nature

Poplar Island, a USACE “beneficial use” project off the Maryland coast of the Chesapeake Bay, shown Aug. 31, 2023. Once on the verge of disappearing, Poplar Island is now an international model for habitat restoration and the beneficial use of dredged material. The upcoming Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island ecosystem restoration project, located adjacent to James and Barren Islands off the coast of Dorchester County, follows in the footsteps of Poplar’s success and will eventually provide hundreds of acres of wetland and terrestrial habitat for fish, shellfish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals through beneficial use over the next several decades. USACE PHOTO BY THOMAS DEATON

It would also be a mistake, King cautioned, to think of EWN projects as exclusively coastal projects. For decades, USACE’s inland districts have been working to expand river floodplains throughout the Missouri and Mississippi basins, and many “gray-green” projects are reintroducing natural and nature-based features to areas where levees and other structures were built to channel floodwaters rapidly out of vulnerable areas. This strategy doesn’t work as well in today’s drought-and-flood cycles – particularly in the West, where atmospheric rivers account for much of the precipitation and flooding. Along California’s Pajaro River, which empties into Monterey Bay, flood risk management has been a concern for more than a century, and the levee system built decades ago was constructed in the old way: Right next to the river banks, where it would absorb the full force of floodwaters. The Corps of Engineers asked Congress to authorize a rebuild in the 1960s, but that funding never arrived. After a devastating flood in 1995, the county and state agencies responsible for maintaining the levees were sued by farmers and homeowners. The Pajaro Valley flooded in January 2023, in the middle of an intense rainy season, and several weeks later, at midnight on March 10, the 74-year-old levee protecting the town of Pajaro failed, forcing the evacuation of the entire town and surrounding communities – 8,500 people


in total, many of them farmworkers who had been underserved for decades. “Not only did people lose their homes,” Beagle said, “but crop fields were flooded for months. It was devastating.” The Corps of Engineers has the authority to begin immediate repairs to levees damaged by storms, and fixing those breaches is the San Francisco District’s highest priority, Beagle said, before the next rainy season begins. At the same time, the district continues its design of a project that will provide better long-term solutions – including nature-based solutions – for the people of the valley. The plan is to build new levees, set back farther from the

banks, that will allow the river to do what rivers are supposed to do: meander a bit; deposit silt on an agricultural floodplain; recharge groundwater in a valley whose aquifers are overdrawn; provide habitat for endangered species; and, when it floods, spread out and dissipate in force before it encounters its first levee. The design in place now, for a stretch of the river upstream from Pajaro and the adjacent town of Watsonville, will build levees out of material partially excavated during the construction of side channels and terraces. “That has wound up saving the project a lot of money,” Beagle said. Models produced by the California

“But as we started to see and experience more of those effects of climate change. And then also, looking across the Corps’ business lines, more and more data and information was coming to the forefront in terms of the value of these natural systems. That’s when all these pieces started to come together.” - Jeff King, Ph.D., USACE

Department of Water Resources also predict a substantial amount of groundwater recharge, in a region where fresh water is in perennially short supply. “It’s amazing, the opportunities we can have,” Beagle said, “when we can think creatively.” A reconfigured Pajaro River project is among those funded by the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Levee setback projects are typically much more difficult to pull together than coastal projects, because they inevitably require public purchase of some parcels, and the granting of easements. The San Francisco District is lucky enough to have had those problems already solved as it plans a project along the Upper Guadalupe River that runs through the heart of San Jose before emptying into San Francisco Bay.


p The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District, along with contributing partners, plant plugs and bulbs that will reintroduce native species of plants that will provide an area for native wildlife to thrive in the wetlands of Port Clinton, Ohio, Aug. 31, 2022. USACE PHOTO BY ANDRE’ M. HAMPTON


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U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Engineering With Nature

The San Francisco Waterfront Study Project Delivery Team met June 5-8, 2023, in San Francisco to review proposed alternative plans for storm damage reduction along the city’s waterfront. The team is comprised of employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Port of San Francisco, and their consultants. The primary issue the study is investigating is flooding from large coastal storms, extreme high tide events, liquefaction failure of the San Francisco waterfront seawall from a major earthquake, and sea level rise. USACE PHOTO BY SARA GOODEYON

Flood risk on the Upper Guadalupe has been a concern for USACE and its partners since the 1980s – long before San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, became the nation’s 10th-largest city. Much of the adjacent land had already been purchased under a previous plan, parts of which were constructed beginning in 2007, but elements of the plan – including a long, straight secondary channel that would have increased the velocity of floodwaters in an area already notorious for flash flooding, and where endangered steelhead trout face significant challenges in making it upstream – were ultimately rejected by USACE. “So we started it again,” said Beagle, “under this umbrella of Engineering With Nature.” The new proposal establishes several f loodplain benches along the river, excavating through spaces that were parking lots and other little-used areas. “Those areas have the potential to provide a tremendous amount of riparian habitat, and to lower f lood stage and velocities,” Beagle said. “In most urban river corridors, one line of trees is kind of hanging off the edge of the bank, because they’ve built right up to the edge.” The Upper Guadalupe project provides San Jose and USACE a rare opportunity to both reduce flood risk and expand an urban riparian corridor along a 9-mile stretch of the river. Because it doesn’t rely on traditional flood-risk reduction features, such as riprap-protected banks, it is also $350 million less expensive than


the previous plan. “That’s made everybody really happy,” said Beagle. To King, this is the most salient feature of Engineering With Nature: USACE and its partners, in a single project, can achieve not only better flood protection, but also a host of other benefits – social, economic, and ecological – often for less than it would cost to design and build a traditional solution. The Corps of Engineers dredges about 200 million cubic yards of sediment from navigable waterways every year, he said. “That sediment is a resource,” he said. “We can leverage use of the sediment we generate through our navigation mission to restore or build wetlands, or even island systems. We’re integrating these additional features to reduce risks and create more value.” Many Engineering With Nature principles were developed in cooperation with international partners – including colleagues from Rijkswaterstaat, the agency that, since 1798, has protected the Netherlands’ low-lying landforms

along the North Sea coast. In September 2021, ERDC published the “International Guidelines on the Use of Natural and Nature-Based Features for Flood Risk Management,” representing the combined wisdom of more than 130 contributors and authors from more than 75 organizations around the world. ERDC is also in the process of composing the third volume of its EWN Atlas series, which showcases EWN principles and practices in action – mostly in USACE districts, but also featuring projects from all over the globe. “The success of the Engineering With Nature program,” said King, “involves more than just the Corps of Engineers. We owe success to a great many agencies and organizations and people. We all see the opportunity to do something that will make a difference: To achieve the engineering outcomes we all need – particularly when we consider future infrastructure needs – in a way that allows us to achieve other benefits that are equally important, and desperately needed.” AE

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Michael Connor, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, signs the notice of funding availability (NOFA) for CWIFP surrounded by USACE employees and stakeholders at Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill, California, June 21, 2023. PHOTO COURTESY OF VALLEY WATER

USACE Launches $7.5 Billion Financing Program The Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program has $7.5 billion in financing available to support non-federal dam infrastructure investments across the United States.


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has established a new federal credit program – referred to as the Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program (CWIFP) – that will provide credit assistance to non-federal dam safety projects. CWIFP, opened to the public in September, is providing lowcost, long-term, flexible financing options to support investments in the nation’s non-federal dams. This program will accelerate non-federal investment and enable



significant improvements to the nation’s dam infrastructure. “Aging infrastructure causes significant challenges to all levels of government, in particular dam infrastructure. This program will have a huge impact on the nation’s dam infrastructure, and will help save local ratepayers and taxpayers by providing long-term, low-cost financing,” said Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general. There are more than 88,000 non-federal dams in the United States, and most of these dams are on average more than 50

years old. According to a recent Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) report titled, “The Cost of Rehabilitating Dams in the U.S.: A Methodology and Estimate,” the number of high hazard-potential dams, where loss of life is probable should the dam fail, has increased almost 20% over the past 10 years, to more than 16,000. From January 2005 to June 2013, states reported 173 dam failures and 587 “incidents” representing episodes that, without intervention, would likely have resulted in a failure. To help tackle this challenge, USACE published the final implementation rule in the Federal Register (www.federalregister. gov/documents/2023/05/22/2023-10520/ credit-assistance-and-related-fees-for-water-resources-infrastructure-projects) in May 2023 and now, through the publication of the first CWIFP Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) (www.federalregister. gov/documents/2023/09/20/2023-20286/ notice-of-funding-availability-for-applications-for-credit-assistance-under-the-corps-water), USACE is ready to accept applications at CWIFP for credit assistance. “The Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program provides a new and significant tool that can be used to keep the nation’s infrastructure resilient and dependable for multiple generations. As we deal with unprecedented climate challenges that require robust and effective infrastructure, this new financing program will enable continued investment by our local communities in their infrastructure,” said Michael Connor, the assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works. As detailed in the NOFA, this competitive solicitation will be open for 90 days, and is a no-cost opportunity for non-federal entities to request financing from USACE to support safety projects

p Above: The CWIFP application processing time line. GRAPHIC BY EMILY CHAVOLLA, CWIFP, USACE

Left: Michael Connor, ASA for Civil Works, signs the final rule to implement the new credit assistance program, May 16, 2023. PHOTO BY JAY SHANNON, OFFICE OF ASA, CW

to maintain, upgrade, repair, or remove non-federal dams. CWIFP will facilitate local investments in projects that enhance community resilience to floods, promote economic prosperity, and improve environmental quality. BENEFITS TO BORROWERS CWIFP offers significant benefits to its borrowers by offering low-cost flexible financing options that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the community. The low interest rates, disbursement flexibilities, and customizable repayment schedules can provide tremendous savings to taxpayers. CWIFP ELIGIBILITY Broadly, projects to maintain, upgrade, repair, and remove dams owned by non-federal entities are eligible for CWIFP. This can include state-of-good-repair work, dam removals, and upgrades that improve the overall condition of dam or reduce safety risks on downstream dams. Projects must also be deemed creditworthy, technically sound, economically justified, environmentally acceptable, cost $20 million or more (applicants may bundle smaller projects together to reach a $20 million minimum),

and comply with relevant federal laws and regulations. CWIFP can provide loans up to 80% of a project’s costs for borrowers serving economically disadvantaged communities. Projects that do not serve economically disadvantaged communities are limited to 49% of project costs. APPLICATION PROCESS The application process includes a preliminary application, a full application, and concludes with a loan agreement. There is no cost to submit a preliminary application. The loan-processing time line is expected to take one to two years from the preliminary application to loan close, so prospective borrowers are encouraged to apply early in their project development to ensure that they have the funds on hand when they are needed. USACE will review all preliminary applications and invite those that are eligible, subject to availability of funds, to submit a full application. Those invited to submit a full application will have 60 days to accept or decline the invitation and to pay the $25,000 full application fee, unless their project serves an economically disadvantaged community, in which case the application fee is waived. Those who accept the invitation to apply will have 365 days to complete their full

application. Once a full application is submitted, the CWIFP team will review it and work to negotiate the term sheet and loan agreement within 30 to 90 days. After an agreement is reached on the terms of the CWIFP credit assistance, it will take approximately 30 days to close the loan and execute the loan agreement. APPLICATION PORTAL USACE will be collecting applications through a new, easy to use, online portal which can be accessed at CWIFPapp.usace. It is a convenient one-stop shop containing a secure online form, where borrowers can also upload documents required as part of the loan application. To be able to fill out the forms on the application portal, prospective borrowers will need to register for the portal and subsequently be granted access from the CWIFP team. WANT TO KNOW MORE? Federal financing programs are extremely efficient and have a low cost to federal taxpayers, while providing significant savings to local taxpayers and ratepayers who directly rely on this critical nonfederal infrastructure. This program represents a significant investment by the federal government in improving our nation’s non-federal dam infrastructure. The CWIFP team is available to discuss specific projects, questions on eligibility, and the application process. The team is happy to meet one on one with prospective borrowers, and can be reached via email at CWIFP@usace. to set up a meeting or click the “Contract Us” button provided on both the application portal and the CWIFP website ( AE I 27

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The demand for civil engineers with interdisciplinary education and current skillsets is on the rise as the United States invests in critical infrastructure projects funded by a $260 billion federal infrastructure bill. To meet this demand, working professional engineers are seeking out education opportunities that offer interdisciplinary engineering skills, so they can provide greater value to projects, potential employers, and stakeholders. In-demand interdisciplinary engineering skills include the entire spectrum of building and maintaining public resources, water quality and scarcity, and transportation systems, while developing strategies using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to achieve sustainable solutions.

Developing Sustainable Solutions to the Water Crisis Water crises continue to be pressing global issues that jeopardize human health, food security, and environmental sustainability. Engineers worldwide are actively working towards sustainable solutions to address this urgent challenge. Through collaborative research, educational initiatives, and partnerships, engineers are making significant progress in water treatment, conservation, and management. Engineers from various disciplines are joining forces to tackle water crises holistically. Researchers are developing innovative technologies to combat water scarcity and improve water quality advancements such as nanomaterial-based water purification methods, which show promise in efficiently removing contaminants and toxins, offering cost-effective and scalable solutions. Education plays a vital role in addressing water crises. Universities and educational institutions are equipping students with the knowledge and skills to address complex water-related challenges. Hands-on experiences, collaborative projects, and practical problem-solving activities enable students to develop a deep understanding of water management practices and foster a culture of innovation and sustainability. Collaboration between engineers, industry partners, government agencies, and

The appearance of or reference to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government does not imply or indicate endorsement by any of these entities.



Top-ranked universities, such as Purdue University, offer online interdisciplinary engineering programs designed to help engineers excel in dynamic careers. Specifically, Purdue’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering provides three in-demand tracks that are designed to give civil engineers interdisciplinary education in relevant, high-impact disciplines. By choosing from sustainable water; infrastructure, resiliency, and sustainability; and smart mobility tracks, civil engineers can focus their education on critical issues that will define the future of the field.

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non-profit organizations is key to creating a meaningful impact. These partnerships facilitate the translation of research findings into practical solutions and promote the adoption of sustainable water management practices. By working closely with stakeholders, engineers ensure that their innovations address real-world needs and contribute to long-term sustainability.

Addressing Transportation Shortages with Smart Mobility Smart mobility is experiencing three significant trends that are shaping the future of transportation. These trends include the rise of autonomous vehicles, the integration of AI and data analytics, and the development of connected infrastructure. 1. Autonomous vehicles are revolutionizing transportation by using a combination of sensors, cameras, and advanced algorithms to navigate roads and make decisions. The benefits of autonomous vehicles are vast, including increased safety, reduced traffic congestion, and improved fuel efficiency. 2. The integration of AI and data analytics is another key trend in smart mobility. AI algorithms can process vast amounts of data collected from various sources, such as vehicles, infrastructure, and weather sensors, to optimize traffic flow, predict demand, and improve transportation efficiency. This integration enables intelligent decision-making, leading to better route planning, real-time traffic management, and enhanced user experiences. 3. Connected infrastructure is a critical aspect of smart mobility, enabling seamless communication between vehicles, infrastructure, and users. This infrastructure includes dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) and 5G networks, as well as intelligent transportation systems (ITS) that gather and share data in realtime. By connecting vehicles to the surrounding environment, infrastructure can provide valuable information to drivers, such as traffic conditions, parking availability, and road hazards.

These three trends are interconnected and work together to create a comprehensive smart mobility ecosystem. Autonomous vehicles rely on AI and data analytics to make informed decisions, while connected infrastructure provides the necessary communication channels and real-time data exchange. By embracing these trends, smart mobility has the potential to transform transportation systems, making them safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly. Engineering Resilient Infrastructure Much of America’s critical transportation infrastructure, including bridges, roads,

and ports, needs to be updated and modernized. The new federal infrastructure bill promises to invest billions into creating and maintaining sustainable infrastructure that will last for generations, but the engineers who are spearheading these infrastructure improvements face unique challenges that require a broad range of skills. By utilizing interdisciplinary knowledge, emerging technologies, and smart engineering, civil engineers have the power to transform the country’s infrastructure and build a stronger future. One of the key challenges to infrastructure improvement is population growth and urbanization. It is estimated that the world’s population will reach 9.8 billion by 2050. Additionally, the world’s urban population will grow 35% by 2050. This population growth is predicted to add significant strain to urban infrastructure, much of which already needs to be updated. As engineers work to design roads and bridges that fit the needs of burgeoning city populations, they are also tasked with creating infrastructure that is resilient to future growth, as well as environmental factors like climate change. Since many cities are located on coasts around the world, urban populations are particularly vulnerable to climate disasters like flooding and hurricanes. To mitigate the effects of climate change, many cities are focusing on developing more sustainable infrastructure that works with, rather than against, the existing ecosystem. Emerging technologies and interdisciplinary partnerships can help engineers

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The Intersection of Tracks and the Growing Need for Civil Engineers The intersection of the three tracks— Sustainable Water, Smart Mobility, and Infrastructure, Resiliency, and Sustainability—reflects the multidimensional challenges faced by civil engineers in the modern era. As infrastructure projects increasingly demand interdisciplinary approaches, civil engineers must possess diverse skillsets and be able to work collaboratively across domains. The online master’s in civil engineering program at Purdue University recognizes this need and offers a curriculum that combines technical knowledge with a holistic understanding of sustainable and resilient solutions. In a world marked by change and uncertainty, civil engineers can use their interdisciplinary knowledge to advance solutions to some of the planet’s most pressing problems. Water scarcity, urbanization, and climate change are global issues that require innovative engineering solutions. By specializing in one of the three tracks, civil engineers can address specific challenges and become leaders in their respective fields. The online nature of the program allows professionals to enhance their skillsets while maintaining their careers, making it accessible to a wider range of aspiring engineers seeking to make a meaningful impact. Purdue University’s online master’s in civil engineering offers a comprehensive


An Online Master’s Alumnus Story John Wardlaw has embarked on a career shift by pursuing an online master’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue University. After graduating in 2020 from the University of Curaçao, Wardlaw worked for a brewery and bottling company in Aruba, where he facilitated the transition from an on-site to a cloud-based management system. Currently, he serves as the compliance coordinator, responsible for ensuring the company meets international quality, safety, environmental, and sustainability standards. Wardlaw’s aspiration remained in civil engineering, prompting him to consider pursuing a master’s degree. With a full-time job and the ongoing impact of COVID-19, an online program seemed ideal. Purdue University’s Online Master’s in Civil Engineering stood out due to its reputation and rigorous curriculum, including a customizable track focused on Infrastructure, Resiliency, and Sustainability. The program provided Wardlaw with an in-depth understanding of theory and practical applications, emphasizing the latest advancements in civil infrastructure. Throughout the program, Wardlaw gained technical expertise while also exploring project management tools and methodologies. He successfully completed

and flexible educational experience, enabling civil engineers to tackle critical infrastructure challenges effectively. Purdue equips engineers with the knowledge and tools to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to complex infrastructure problems. As the nation and the world continue to invest in critical infrastructure projects, the demand for civil engineers with interdisciplinary expertise in these areas will only continue to grow. Purdue University’s online program positions

the master’s degree in four semesters through dedicated time management and sacrifice. The structured nature of Purdue’s program, divided into weekly segments with clear deadlines and regular reminders, contributed to his success. Despite being an online student, Wardlaw felt connected to the faculty and his peers, engaging in meaningful discussions and benefitting from diverse perspectives from students worldwide. The sense of connectedness and accomplishment led Wardlaw and his family to attend the in-person graduation ceremony at Purdue, providing a fulfilling conclusion to his educational journey. Overall, Wardlaw’s experience with Purdue’s online master’s program in civil engineering enhanced his self-awareness, confidence, and competence in the field.

John Wardlaw, Purdue University Master’s in Civil Engineering 2023 Graduate.

graduates at the forefront of the engineering field, ready to shape the future of sustainable infrastructure and make a lasting impact on society.

Learn more about Purdue’s online Master’s here.


develop infrastructure that can accommodate population growth and maintains climate health. Engineering teams can work together to design infrastructure projects in tandem with smart mobility solutions and water management practices to improve cities holistically. Additionally, technologies like AI and data analytics have important applications across all areas of civil engineering. The quest for more sustainable infrastructure is inextricably connected to developing greener transportation solutions and confronting the water crises.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District constructed a novel fish passage structure along the seawall at Broderick Park in Buffalo, New York in February 2022, to help the small but critically important emerald shiners overcome obstacles and complete their journey as they swim upstream. USACE PHOTO BY SHAINA SOUDER

USACE Buffalo District Constructs Emerald Shiner Passage Structure The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has completed construction of a novel fish passage structure along the Niagara River at Broderick Park in Buffalo, New York, and early monitoring results indicate preliminary project success in helping emerald shiner move upstream.


he project, known as the Emerald Shiner Demonstration project, was built between November 2021 and February 2022 to overcome an obstacle to the passage of emerald shiner, a very small but critically important preyfish.


Pre- and post-construction monitoring was conducted to document the change in emerald shiner passage and will extend through the early winter of 2022, but the preliminary results are very positive. In May 2022, the USACE monitoring team noted significant numbers of emerald shiner, where few-to-none were noted in the

pre-construction monitoring, and underwater video footage readily shows schools of emerald shiner moving throughout the constructed fish passage structures. As monitoring continues, the potential groundwork has been established to look at extending the project along the remaining ~700 feet of seawall at Broderick Park. The emerald shiner is a keystone species in the Niagara River and Lake Erie food web, serving as an important food source for larger fish and birds that make up this complex, local ecosystem. Through a century of industrialization, the Niagara River channel has narrowed, and the current vertical sheet pile seawalls create water velocities that differ from historic natural conditions and exceed the swim capacity of emerald shiners. In addition, the Niagara River is designated as one of 26 Areas of Concern across the Great Lakes, with an identified fish population Beneficial Use Impairment. The identification of this fish passage barrier follows an early phase of study in partnership between the USACE-Buffalo District, the City of Buffalo, SUNY at Buffalo, Great Lakes Center of SUNY Buffalo State, the Niagara Greenway Commission, and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. Engineers and biologists from USACE Buffalo District worked with our partners at the University at Buffalo to design the novel fish passage structure for the purpose of allowing emerald shiner passage upstream. It was built at a cost of $1.6M under the authority of the Economy Act, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Utilizing innovative partnerships and novel designs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to restore areas of concern and improve waterways and ecosystems of binational importance. AE I 31


Tim McClellan, Louisville District National Roofing Program technical manager, inspects the roof at the Cape Coral Reserve Center in Cape Coral, Florida, Jan. 17, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY ABBY KORFHAGE

National Roofing Program Inspects Army Reserve Facilities Following Hurricane Ian When Hurricane Ian hit south Florida last fall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked in partnership with local, state and federal agencies to respond to the natural disaster. Every year, USACE, as part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies, deploys hundreds of people to provide technical engineering expertise and to promote capacity development at home and abroad. However, even after the FEMA mission assignments were closed out after Hurricane Ian, USACE’s support did not stop there. 32 I AMERICA’S ENGINEERS


n January, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District and their Army Reserve partners conducted 20 site visits across 14 cities throughout central Florida to inspect facilities that were hit by Hurricane Ian in late-September. The team, which included Louisville District National Roofing Program Manager Tim McClellan, Army Reserve contractor Justin Reeder, and Resource Efficiency Manager Bud Lewis, visited St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Cape Coral, Tampa, Clearwater, Lakeland, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Palatka, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Gainesville, Ocala and Sanford to perform roof assessments of damages to all Army Reserve facilities that were impacted by hurricane or tropical storm force winds from Hurricane Ian. The Louisville District manages the National Roofing Program as part of the district’s


nationwide Army Reserve mission. The NRP is a roof inspection and replacement program with the goal of minimizing cost through high quality design and construction. The program has installed more than 12 million square feet of roofs for Soldiers over the last two decades. These NRP roofs have never had a roof failure, even during previous hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, Sandy and Rita. During the two weeks the NRP Team was in Florida, they inspected 13 facilities which had roofs replaced under the NRP, and there were no failures with any of the NRP roofs, according to McClellan. “We were also able to inspect 10 Army Reserve facilities that had roofs that were not installed under the NRP,” McClellan said. “Three of those facilities had wind and water failures from the hurricanes that were not complete roof failures but that will need repairs.” Although those roofs were not a part of the NRP, the team will be providing guidance

to the Army Reserve on how to repair those facilities to restore watertight conditions. Additionally, two facilities had roofs that were in poor shape and will be added to the NRP list for future replacement as they have reached the end of the design service life, according to the team. Although it’s not necessarily “common practice” for the team to conduct site visits after a natural disaster, the Louisville District has been in the business of providing the long-term maintenance and repair of roofs for the Army Reserve for decades. The team starts the inspection process with a visual inspection of the interior of the building and interviewing the building occupants to have a better understanding of where and when leaks may occur. “A visual inspection of the underside of the roof helps to pinpoint any potential locations for problems,” McClellan said. “Then is followed by a visual inspection of the



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building from the ground, and then an inspection of the roof from the top.” The Louisville District’s National Roofing Program has executed approximately $250 million in reroofing contracts for approximately 1,000 buildings at nearly 359 Army Reserve facilities across 46 states, American Samoa and Puerto Rico. The NRP grew out of the National Roofing Initiative, whose mission was to improve roofing facilities, minimize operational expenses, and maximize the quality of work life for our warfighters. The initiative began in


p Louisville District’s National Roofing Program manager Tim McClellan uses a thermal camera to detect

anomalies that might indicate a failure in the building envelope. The device shows temperature differences, which can then be used to look for other indications of water or air intrusion. USACE PHOTO BY ABBY KORFHAGE 1997 and was later recognized by the Army Reserve through the Louisville District’s Memorandum of Understanding in 2004 for nationwide execution. The NRI experienced early success, and was subsequently rebranded as the NRP. The NRP reduces energy use, is ecofriendly, eliminates maintenance, and most importantly, provides Soldiers great facilities for battle-focused training.

McClellan has worked on the NRP since 2012. “I take pride in the National Roofing Program and the effect we have on the training environment for our Army Reservists,” McClellan said. “The NPR has provided over 900 new roofs for our Soldiers that allows them to focus on their job and training for 20 years instead of water dripping on their desk.” AE


p Construction helmets and shovels are staged on a

Pittsburgh District Breaks Ground on First Step in Updating Aging T Navigation System on Upper Ohio River

display table for a groundbreaking ceremony hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District at Montgomery Locks and Dam in Monaca, Pennsylvania, Aug. 11, 2023.


A groundbreaking ceremony in the Pittsburgh region set the stage for updating the Ohio River’s oldest navigation system.

he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District welcomed industry, community, and political leaders for the groundbreaking ceremony at the Montgomery Locks and Dam facility Aug. 11, 2023. Although construction has started, the event officially marked Phase One, the batch concrete plant construction of the Upper Ohio project. “It’s only fitting that we lift our shovels and take this step together, continuing the tradition of great partnership,” said Col.



Nicholas Melin, Commander of the Pittsburgh District. Melin shoveled the dirt alongside U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Austin Davis, the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania; Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to the president and White House for infrastructure; Jaime A. Pinkham, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for civil works; Mark Gentile, the president of Trumbull Corps; and Mary Ann Bucci, the executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission. “The Southwestern Pennsylvania economy couldn’t function without the Montgomery Locks and Dam,” Casey said. “This is a celebration of a commitment of investment to a critically important project, not only for Beaver County, in southwestern Pennsylvania, and not only for our commonwealth, but for a significant region of the United States.”


p Col. Nicholas Melin (right), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District commander, talks to guests

during a group tour of Montgomery Locks and Dam prior to a groundbreaking ceremony in Monaca, Pennsylvania, Aug. 11, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY MICHEL SAURET

Montgomery is part of the Upper Ohio navigation system, which sees 15 to 20 million tons of materials pass through its river chambers annually. The USACE team expects the Upper Ohio Navigation Project to support 28,800 jobs over its construction life and 5,400 jobs annually after completion. “The investment we make today will pay dividends, not for years or decades but for generations,” Casey said. Overall, the Pittsburgh District operates 23 locks and dams on the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny rivers, saving shippers and consumers approximately $4 billion in transportation costs compared to using other means such as trucks or rail.

“Our inland waterways are a critical artery sustaining the nation’s economy and families by delivering goods to our homes, connecting us to global markets, and bolstering employment. The investments we are making today will reinvigorate navigation and make it resilient, providing significant benefits for years to come,” Pinkham said. The Corps of Engineers finished construction of Montgomery Locks and Dam in 1936. The auxiliary lock is experiencing structural issues associated with aging. Montgomery is the first facility to receive a larger 600-footlong by 110-foot-wide lock chamber on the Upper Ohio system. District engineers plan

p Austin Davis, the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania; Col. Nicholas Melin, the commander of the U.S. Army

Corp of Engineers Pittsburgh; U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Jaime A. Pinkham, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works; Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to the president and White House for infrastructure; Mary Ann Bucci, the executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission; and Mark Gentile, the president of Trumbull Corps participate in a groundbreaking ceremony at Montgomery Locks and Dam in Monaca, Pennsylvania, Aug. 11, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY MICHEL SAURET

to replace the smaller auxiliary chamber at all three facilities. Plans for a new chamber will bring new life to the facility thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has provided more than $900 million in funds for construction on the Upper Ohio River. “What makes this project critical is the potential for structural failure of the lock walls, which would cause major interruption to river transportation,” said Chris Dening, the project manager for the construction of the Upper Ohio project.

Transporting commodities on the waterways is four times less expensive than trucks and 33 percent cheaper than rail. Towboats on Pittsburgh’s rivers can push up to 15 barges at once, each carrying the same amount of material as 70 large semitrucks or 16 rail cars. “[What] brings us here today is moving commerce from ships to shelves. This is just an incredible waterway that’s critically important to the economy of the entire United States of America,” Landrieu said.

The economic impact of a one-year closure at Montgomery Locks and Dam would cost the U.S. economy nearly $180 million. The roughly 12 million tons of cargo would require more than 100,000 railcars or 400,000 trucks to compensate for the closure. This phase will bring a batch plant on site, allowing engineers to mix and pour concrete in place much faster than cement trucks. The new lock at Montgomery will require about 400,000 cubic yards of concrete, equivalent to a football field covered nearly 200 feet high, or 1.6 billion pounds. The plant will produce nine different concrete mixes used in various types of construction, such as underwater, structural, and mass concrete, among others. An onsite laboratory will sample and test the concrete to ensure quality. AE I 37

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Building Momentum The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law helps accelerate some of the Corps of Engineers’ most urgent solutions – and create new ones – for communities throughout the states and territories.


ver the past two years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has had nearly 50 agreements and more than 100 construction activities underway thanks to more than $17 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). These projects are making a difference for communities across the nation, from protecting against floods, to boosting commerce, to preserving and enhancing aquatic habitats. BY CRAIG COLLINS


The BIL has brought a transformative wave of investment in America’s water resources infrastructure. This unprecedented commitment entrusts USACE and its partners with the responsibility of shaping a resilient future for American water infrastructure. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a historic investment in our nation’s water resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proud to be at the forefront of putting this funding to work,” said Edward E. Belk, USACE director of Civil Works. “Our portfolio of Bipartisan

p A downstream view of Montgomery Locks and

Dam near Monaca, Pennsylvania, one of six navigation structures on the Ohio River that provide navigation from downtown Pittsburgh to New Martinsville, West Virginia. The facility will undergo major reconstruction to enlarge the auxiliary lock into a 600-foot chamber as part of the Upper Ohio Navigation Project. USACE PHOTO BY MICHEL SAURET

Infrastructure Law projects is adapting to tomorrow’s challenges while providing safety and security today to our citizens and the nation’s economy.” The BIL is a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s infrastructure – which is the vital foundation for a strong and resilient economy. This investment empowers USACE to accelerate critical projects, ensuring the safety and security of our communities, businesses, and ecosystems. The impact of the BIL extends far beyond the tangible improvements to our infrastructure. It represents a profound investment in the future of our nation; a future where our water resources are not only protected but also harnessed as catalysts for

By investing in these critical waterways, USACE is not just improving efficiency; it is safeguarding the very foundations of the nation’s economy.

economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity. • Improving the nation’s infrastructure. USACE teams are spearheading solutions that safeguard lives, property, and the environment. One example is the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management project, which will provide protection for nearly 260,000 people and 70 square miles of infrastructure from the impacts of flooding along the Red River and its tributaries. The BIL has provided a $437 million investment into this project, ensuring the full funding of the federal portion of this public-private partnership endeavor. Across the nation, USACE is not just building dams and levees to protect against floods. It is also restoring vital ecosystems, as in the Caño Martín Peña project in Puerto Rico. This endeavor will breathe new life into the aquatic habitats that support a diverse array of marine life while protecting communities from environmental hazards. By reconnecting the San José Lagoon to the San Juan Bay, USACE will restore natural water flows, improve dissolved oxygen levels, and enhance the biodiversity of the San Juan Bay Estuary. This ecological revitalization will have a profound impact on the lives of the communities that call this area home, fostering economic growth and improving the overall well-being of all residents. These examples illustrate the transformative power of the BIL and how USACE is not just repairing the past; it is building a brighter future for local communities. • Facilitating safe, reliable, and sustainable commercial navigation to boost the resilience of the nation’s manufacturing supply chain. The BIL is playing a pivotal role in fortifying the nation’s manufacturing supply chain, ensuring the seamless flow of goods that underpin our economy. By enhancing the

navigation systems that crisscross the country, USACE is not only bolstering efficiency but also safeguarding economic resilience. The inland waterways system saves an estimated $7 billion to $12 billion annually compared to alternative modes of transportation. For instance, the 12 million tons of cargo that travel through Montgomery Locks and Dam would require a staggering 100,000 rail cars or 400,000 trucks to transport. By investing in these critical waterways, USACE is not just improving efficiency; it is safeguarding the very foundations of the nation’s economy. In Alaska, USACE is embarking on a groundbreaking project to establish the first deep-water port in the U.S. Arctic region: the Port of Nome Modification Project. This transformation will not only boost economic activity in the region but also enhance its resilience to the impacts of climate change. By enabling larger vessels to reach Nome, the project will facilitate the delivery of essential goods and services to the 60 Alaska Native communities that depend on the port. USACE’s commitment to supply chain resilience goes beyond construction and repair projects. In June 2023, the agency commenced dredging operations to deepen the navigation channel of the Arkansas River, a vital shipping route known as Marine Highway 40. This long-awaited project, stalled for decades due to inadequate funding, has finally moved forward thanks to the BIL. Once completed, the deepened channel will connect states as distant as Montana to the Gulf of Mexico, fostering economic growth and enhancing supply chain efficiency. These examples underscore the BIL’s transformative power in bolstering America’s supply chain infrastructure. By investing in our inland waterways, coastal ports, and critical shipping

routes, USACE is not only ensuring the smooth flow of goods, but also safeguarding the economic vitality and resilience of the nation. • Advancing ecosystem and aquatic habitat restoration. USACE often partners with communities, states, or regional consortiums to perform ecosystem restoration that serves several purposes: increasing biodiversity and water resource availability, improving resilience to flooding, and enabling greater public enjoyment of nature. One of the largest investments of BIL funds – more than $1.1 billion – has been devoted to the most ambitious ecosystem restoration project ever undertaken: the ongoing suite of multi-benefit projects to revitalize the Florida Everglades. This unique and delicate ecosystem is home to hundreds of endangered plant and animal species, two Native American tribes, and provides drinking water to 9 million Floridians. The BIL provides funds to construct the Central Everglades Planning Project South S-356E Pump Station, the Indian River Lagoon South C-23/C-24 North Reservoir, and the Broward County Water Preserve Areas C-11 Impoundment. These projects will benefit widespread areas of this vast ecosystem, from estuaries in the north to inland wetlands to bays in the south. While large-scale projects like the Florida Everglades capture the spotlight, smaller-scale restoration efforts are no less vital to the communities they serve. In the Seattle suburbs, a partnership between USACE’s Seattle District and the city of Mountlake Terrace is transforming a former golf course at Ballinger Park into a thriving ecosystem. With BIL funding, the USACE team is restoring wetlands and riparian corridors, creating habitat for a diverse array of wildlife, and enhancing the creek’s health. I 39

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

This project exemplifies USACE’s commitment to engineering with nature, a philosophy that integrates engineering solutions with natural processes to achieve sustainable water resources infrastructure. By incorporating native plants, restoring natural channels, and providing public access while minimizing environmental impact, the Ballinger Park project demonstrates the power of collaboration and innovation in ecosystem restoration. Through these initiatives, the BIL is not just repairing the past; it is investing in a greener, more resilient future. By restoring our ecosystems and aquatic habitats, USACE is safeguarding natural capital, ensuring the health and well-being of communities for generations to come. • Increasing resilience to climate change. Many of these efforts to improve navigation and supply-chain resilience, reduce flood and storm damage, and restore aquatic ecosystems include features aimed at increasing resilience to the effects of climate change. The effort to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities has been boosted by the Biden administration’s Climate-Ready Coasts Initiative, which distributes $1.467 billion to support projects throughout the federal government. On the West Coast, the BIL has so far allotted $30 million to support a recent partnership between the USACE Los Angeles District and the cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas, two of the most threatened segments of the California shoreline, where much of the beach has simply disappeared and waves are encroaching on seawalls. The effort to nourish these beaches will begin in Encinitas with the addition of a 50-foot-wide berm extending along 7,800 feet of shoreline, using 340,000 cubic yards of sediment. Eight miles south of Encinitas, along 7,200 feet of the Solana Beach shoreline, USACE will build a 150-foot-wide berm, using 700,000 cubic yards of sand. Each of these shoreline segments will be


p The Coast Guard Cutter Maple (WLB 207) moors up at the Port of Nome during a brief logistics stop in Nome, Alaska, during the cutter and crew’s voyage up through the Northwest Passage, July 18, 2017. Through the BIL, USACE will deepen the port’s channel and harbor area depths to accommodate larger, deep-draft shipping, enhancing its status as an economic and strategic hub. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO

periodically renourished over a 50-year period of federal participation. Turning to the Eastern Seaboard, the BIL has made $399 million available to accelerate the Resilient Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Project, a transformative collaboration between USACE and the city of Norfolk, Virginia. This ambitious initiative aims to safeguard the Hampton Roads region, home to more than 1.8 million people, numerous historical sites, and a critical military presence. By employing a combination of structural and nature-based solutions, the project will erect floodwalls, levees, and tidal surge barriers, elevate vulnerable properties,

and restore wetlands and oyster reefs. These multifaceted defenses will create a resilient coastline, shielding the region from the devastating impacts of coastal flooding and storm surges, and ensuring its long-term prosperity. Throughout the nation, USACE is working tirelessly to enhance the resilience of the nation’s navigation infrastructure, supply chains, and aquatic ecosystems, integrating climate change considerations into every aspect of its work. This forward-thinking approach is not just about protecting infrastructure from the immediate impacts of climate change; it is about building a future where communities

In Alaska, USACE is embarking on a groundbreaking project to establish the first deep-water port in the U.S. Arctic region: the Port of Nome Modification Project.

and ecosystems can thrive in a rapidly changing world. • Investing in underserved communities to advance the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative. The BIL is not just about restoring America’s infrastructure; it is also about bridging the gap between underserved communities and the opportunities they deserve. In line with the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative, the BIL is ensuring that 40% of the overall benefits from certain projects reach communities that have historically been marginalized and overburdened by pollution, flood damage, and underinvestment. Across the country, other underserved communities are reaping the benefits of the BIL. In California’s Watsonville and Pajaro valleys, 92%

of the residents in Pajaro are Latino, and 14% live below the poverty line. These communities have endured a series of devastating floods in recent years, resulting in loss of life and over $700 million in damages. Thanks to BIL funds, the San Francisco District is now rebuilding the dilapidated levees that were constructed in 1963 to protect these vulnerable communities. Similarly, in Winslow, Arizona, where Latino and indigenous people make up the majority, and nearly a quarter of residents live in poverty, the Los Angeles District has allocated $65 million in BIL funds to overhaul the city’s aging levees. These investments are not just about infrastructure upgrades; they are about building a more equitable future for underserved

Does not imply USACE or DOD endorsement

communities across the nation. By bridging the gap in infrastructure access and providing these communities with the resources they need to thrive, the BIL is fostering a more resilient and prosperous America for all. The USACE portfolio of BIL projects is making a real difference for communities across the nation. These projects are protecting people and property from floods, boosting the economy, preserving the environment, and promoting equity. USACE teams continue to look forward to working alongside their partners to deliver these projects for the nation. AE To view a USACE video commemorating the second anniversary of the BIL, go to com/watch?v=da6ant7d_2Q


Corps of Engineers Builds Underwater Sill in Mississippi River to Slow Saltwater Intrusion During Low Water Conditions Throughout 2023, the Mississippi River Valley has been feeling the effects of the extreme heat and low precipitation, both of which have played a role in the lowwater conditions observed throughout the year. In South Louisiana, the low river conditions have allowed saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico to move upriver as far as Plaquemines Parish. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District constructed an underwater sill across the bed of the Mississippi River channel to slow upriver progression of saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico during low-water conditions this year. The greatest risk associated with the intrusion of this saltwater wedge is the appearance of unsafe salinity levels at the municipal drinking water intakes for the parish. USACE PHOTO BY RYAN LABADENS



nder normal conditions, the downstream flow of the river prevents significant upriver progression of the salt water. However, in times of extreme low volume water flow, unimpeded salt water can travel upriver and threaten municipal drinking water and industrial water supplies. As such, the greatest risk that could occur with the saltwater intrusion is unsafe salinity levels at the intakes of municipal drinking water intakes in Plaquemines Parish. To help combat this saltwater intrusion, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New Orleans District, began construction of an underwater sill across the bed of the Mississippi River channel July 11, 2023, to slow further upriver progression of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico. They completed construction of the sill nearly two weeks later on July 23. “Once the river volume begins to fall in low-water season, we regularly monitor the progression of the saltwater wedge on the Mississippi River,” said David Ramirez, chief of the New Orleans District’s Lower Mississippi River Management Branch. “The projected location of wedge’s toe in combination with current National Weather Service forecasts help us determine when we reach our triggers for constructing the barrier sill.” The intrusion of salt water into the river is a naturally occurring periodic condition, because the bottom of the riverbed between Natchez, Mississippi, and the Gulf of Mexico is below sea level. Denser salt water moves upriver along the bottom of the river beneath the less dense fresh water flowing downstream. However, this is the first time in the history of the New Orleans District Corps of Engineers that they have had to construct an underwater sill two years in a row to prevent salt water from creeping farther up the Mississippi River during low-water conditions. USACE constructed a similar underwater sill in October 2022 at river mile 64, near Myrtle Grove, Louisiana, in Plaquemines Parish to arrest the progression of saltwater


p Weeks Marine’s hydraulic cutter suction dredge J.S. Chatry at work on the Mississippi River constructing an

underwater barrier to saltwater intrusion. The Corps awarded a contract to Weeks Marine, which used a dredge, tow boats and a series of pipes to construct the underwater barrier near river mile 64, which is near Myrtle Grove, Louisiana, in Plaquemines Parish. USACE PHOTO BY RYAN LABADENS

intrusion during that year’s low-water season. That particular sill eroded away when the Mississippi River returned to levels above 300,000 cubic feet per second, pushing the saltwater wedge back down the river to the Gulf of Mexico. This year’s sill was constructed at approximately the same location as last year, near river mile 64 near Myrtle Grove. The initial phase of construction brought the sill to an elevation of -55 feet, meaning that the top of the sill was 55 feet below the surface of the river water. Even after the sill reached that height, USACE has continued to monitor progression of the saltwater wedge to determine if the sill would need to be built higher to keep salt water from intruding farther upriver. Because of the continued low-water, low-flow conditions, the existing underwater sill was raised from a depth of -55 feet to a depth of -30 feet. A 620-foot-wide navigation lane was left at a depth of -55 feet to ensure deep-draft shipping continues along the nation’s busiest inland waterway. USACE initially constructed the underwater barrier sill to create an artificial basin to delay the ingress of salt water beyond river mile 64 above Head of Passes, but as

a result of the river’s prolonged extreme low-flow rate, the underwater sill was overtopped Sept. 20, 2023. “As a result of continued falling conditions, this existing sill was overtopped and the toe of the saltwater wedge has reached River Mile 69, near the community of Jesuit Bend,” said Col. Cullen Jones, USACE New Orleans District commander. “Our modeling indicates that by augmenting the existing sill, we can support state and local preparedness and response efforts by delaying further upriver progression of the salt water by approximately 10 to 15 days. As new information becomes available, we will reevaluate the projected movement of the salt water and share this information with our partners and the public for their preparedness, readiness, and response.” USACE constructed similar underwater sills in 1988, 1999, and 2012 to arrest the progression of saltwater intrusion during low-water conditions for those years. Each of those sills naturally eroded when the Mississippi River low-water conditions abated and the water flow returned to the levels required to push the saltwater wedge back into the Gulf of Mexico. AE I 43


Mississippi River Drought Affects Navigation For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District takes on the challenge of keeping commerce moving on the navigable waterways in the central part of the United States. 44 I AMERICA’S ENGINEERS

St. Louis District’s 91-year-old dredge Potter and its attendant plant, to include the Prairie Du Rocher, Montgomery Point crew boat, barges, and floating pipeline, dredging the Mississippi River on Aug. 17, 2023. This U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s dustpan dredge is used primarily to maintain the 9-foot shipping channel on the Mississippi River by removing sand and silt from the shipping channel and placing it in a side channel. When operating, the Potter can remove enough material from the river bottom to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every hour. USACE PHOTO BY GEORGE STRINGHAM


ollaborating with the River Industry Action Committee and the U.S. Coast Guard, the district uses a balanced approach to mitigate the effects of the low water and to determine the best path forward using dredging methods to maintain the 9-foot navigation channel. With no significant rain in the forecast going into the month of September,


the Mississippi River continues to show declining river levels impacting navigation and barge shipping at a very crucial time as farmers in the Midwest begin their harvest season. In anticipation of the low-water conditions, dredges from other districts have been mobilized for channel maintenance to best maintain navigation on the Mississippi River. When compared to yearly data going back to 1967, the Mississippi River levels are approximately 8 feet below average for this time of year. The district’s dredge Potter, built in 1932, began its dredging season on July 16 at various locations on the Upper Mississippi River. When dredging, the 91 year-old Potter with its crew of 50 personnel fills an Olympic-sized swimming pool every hour. “The crew on the dredge Potter is working full time to maintain this critical waterway that supports the global supply chain,” explained Lou Dell’Orco, chief of operations. “Working with our partners and industry is critical in enabling waterborne transit during the harvest season and throughout the year to support our nation’s economy. Since we didn’t have high water this spring, the channel didn’t shift as much …” The dredge Goetz, built in 2005 and with a crew of 50 members, will soon be assisting the Potter in areas located within Pools 24 and 25 on the Mississippi River. Both dredges work 24/7 to keep commerce moving unrestricted in the district’s area of operation by maintaining the authorized navigation channel. Depending on need, other dredges may be called in this year to assist.

Additionally, the St. Louis District’s water management office closely monitors the current conditions and forecasts precipitation by keeping a close watch on water levels. Water managers share this information through notices to mariners for cautious navigation and prepare for seasonal variabilities in water levels. The water management office looks closely at the impacts of runoff and plans for the effects resulting from lower Missouri River flows leading to a longer dredging season. Approved water control plan deviations are implemented at locks and dam structures and lake projects when they will be the most useful. Not all challenges are easy to mitigate and overcome. The impacts from reduced loading capacity, shallow drafts, and tow size, along with stalled agriculture products at ports, have a cascade effect on industrial shipping and the tourism industry, since many jobs depend on both. The importance of the 12,000 miles of navigable inland waterways, ports, and harbors and their ability to ship 500 million tons of freight each year is an incredible mission and has a significant impact on our country and worldwide markets. When barges are forced to carry one-third less product to meet the 9-foot draft and narrow channel, the economic impacts are significant. Fleeting space around the St. Louis harbor is reduced by low water conditions, thus requiring private dredging. The entrance into the Kaskaskia Regional Port and Southeast Missouri Regional Port is impacted at low water levels, limiting the amount of cargo that gets loaded at each facility. In 2022, the St. Louis District dredged 9 million cubic yards of material from the bottom of the river in 70 different locations. The lessons learned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers service base team, partners, and industry professionals will be utilized this year to maintain common operating procedures through weekly navigation channel operating meetings, and working to find solutions that best serve the needs of all to keep commerce moving on the river. AE I 45


USACE Hosts Reciprocal Mekong River Commission Exchange Visit The Mekong River Commission visited the United States, conducting the exchange with the U.S.-based Mississippi River Commission, continuing the momentum on reciprocal exchanges to share best practices and lessons learned on river and water management.


ater challenges, best practices, and five troubling trends were topics of discussion by leaders of commissions representing two river basins located a world apart from each other during the weeklong 13th session

of the Mekong-Mississippi Sister Rivers Partnership Exchange hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Los Angeles District, which began Aug. 13. Mississippi River Commission president Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples said the

main goals of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership are: • to improve transparency, good governance, connectivity, and sustainable governance through implementing regional capacity-building activities, fostering

p Mississippi River Commission President Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples, along with MRC members and Mississippi Valley Division staff, virtually attended the 2023 Sister Rivers

Partnership Exchange held at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, while three members participated in person. The exchange consisted of sharing best practices and cutting-edge technology the United States is using to help monitor water, assess climate impacts, and forecast flooding. USACE PHOTO BY SAM HEILIG


regional policy dialogues, and exchanging expertise and best practices; • to strengthen regional connectivity by building connections among institutions, the public and private sectors, and people within the Mekong Region and the United States; and • to work with countries of the Mekong Region and international partners to identify and implement solutions for key challenges. “Just as the Mississippi River Commission believes it has much to offer from our experiences in addressing troubling trends, we recognize the Mekong River Commission has much to offer. We welcome the opportunity to learn how you are addressing these challenges.” During reciprocal discussions, each commission presented their perspective on the five troubling trends facing their basin: low regime; sediment transport; flood and drought worsened by climate change; saltwater intrusion; and plastics pollution. The Mississippi Valley Division’s Andy Ashley, the division’s science and technology officer, represented the Mississippi River Commission in the discussion. For the first time in the Sister Rivers Partnership Exchange history, a guest commission participated in the event. The International Boundary and Water Commission for the U.S. and Mexico provided insight into transboundary challenges between the two countries’ dispute management, which creates opportunities for development. The delegation toured several sites within the footprint of the Los Angeles District, beginning with the Castaic Pumped Storage Plant, where knowledge was gained on the use of the plant and its challenges and benefits in support of Mekong River Commission’s future planning considerations. A visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab helped provide an understanding of the use of NASA satellites for remote sensing and climate change studies, all while showcasing innovative technologies. A Prado Dam visit demonstrated ground-


water recharge, water conservation, and flood management. At the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, the delegates received an introduction and demonstration of a reservoir operations strategy using data from watershed monitoring and improved weather forecasting, and learned how atmospheric river reconnaissance can be used to predict flood forecasting. An international wastewater treatment park was an opportunity to showcase the U.S. - Mexico river area and observe those transboundary water challenges previously discussed. The Sister Rivers Partnership between the Mekong River Commission and the Mississippi River Commission is one of many programs carried out under the umbrella of the larger Mekong-U.S. partnership. This exchange meeting is of importance as it will help sustain and build on the momentum and the renewal of the Mekong River Commission-Mississippi River Commission Memorandum of Understanding for an additional five years. The Mekong River Commission possesses a long history of data collection and analysis about the condition and health of the Mekong River and provides scientific analysis and advice for the Lower Mekong countries. From its origins as the Mekong Committee in 1957, the Mekong River Commission has grown into an internationally recognized organization that includes the following partners: Southeast Asian nations, Friends of the Mekong, Asian Development Bank, Lancang Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center, Korea’s K-Water, Korean Development Institute, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Asia Water Council, and Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center. The Mississippi River Commission has a history that dates to 1879, which rests on a public engagement strategy where its members listen to the concerns of those who live, work, and recreate along the river; get boots on the ground and inspect the challenges confronting them; and then partner with them to develop solutions to those challenges. AE I 47 Does not imply USACE or DOD endorsement.

REDUCE THE RISK OF 100-YEAR FLOODS Middle Logan Creek, Nebraska

Middle Logan Creek runs through Randolph, Nebraska from west to east, placing much of the town in a federally designated floodplain. Due to the flooding, residents in Randolph are required to carry expensive flood insurance. Permits for the construction of new buildings and renovations of existing ones have been placed on hold because of the location. The area has been flooded 14 times in the past 100 years, with the last major flood occurring in 2019. The unpredictable nature of the flooding has caused a severe impact on the town.

CHALLENGE In order to move most of the town from the floodplain, a 1.5 mile (24 km) segment of Middle Logan Creek was widened. After the channel was extended, PROPEX® Armormax® was installed on the side slopes in order to stabilize vegetation. The system utilizes earth engineered anchors that are designed and tested for performance with high-performance turf reinforcement mat (HPTRM) to improve the factor of safety and significantly reduce the probability of failure in slope applications. Colorado State University tested Armormax® on a wave overtopping simulator. Upon completion of testing, Armormax® was selected to armor more than 100 miles of shorelines and river/stream banks throughout the United States.

Multiple flood events caused bank erosion along Middle Logan Creek, causing the channel to become increasingly narrow over time and more susceptible to flooding. Without the implementation of flood risk management, the City of Randolph was vulnerable to significant damages from flooding.


Middle Logan Creek Stabilization


Channel Stabilization


Randolph, Nebraska


PROPEX® Armormax®

USACE Division:

Omaha District

SOLUTION The end goal of the project is to carry water from future 100-year floods through the city in the channel and eliminate flooding in Randolph. The project was tested by recent storms and performed as intended and designed. Vegetation for the widened channel is protected and stabilized with PROPEX® Armormax®, therefore increasing resiliency.

Armormax® has been a trademarked brand for PROPEX® for nearly two decades. Solmax acquired PROPEX in December 2021, creating the largest geosynthetics provider in the world. Armormax is now part of the Solmax family of brands. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) visual information does not imply or constitute DOD endorsement. Solmax is not a design or engineering professional and has not performed any such design services to determine if Solmax’s goods comply with any project plans or specifications, or with the application or use of Solmax’s goods to any particular system, project, purpose, installation, or specification. Products mentioned are registered trademarks of Solmax in many countries of the world.



The almost completed diversion inlet structure, one of the three components of the Fargo, North Dakota/ Moorhead, Minnesota Flood Risk Management Project’s southern embankment system, shown on Aug. 29, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY SHANNON BAUER

USACE Project Receives National Academy of Construction Award The Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project has been selected as the recipient of the National Academy of Construction (NAC) Recognition of Special Achievement Award.


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Paul District, and its partners, the cities of Fargo, North Dakota; Moorhead, Minnesota; and the Metro Flood Diversion Authority, are working cooperatively to implement this critical project. According to NAC, the award highlights creativity, innovation, vision, and accomplishments of practitioners in the engineering, design and construction industries. From concept to construction, USACE and its partners consistently solved challenges on this complex project, to include splitting work between the entities to allow



simultaneous design and construction, which expedites project completion by approximately 10 years when compared to traditional delivery methods. Additionally, as the first USACE project in the nation to leverage a public-private partnership delivery model, the St. Paul District, the Cities of Fargo and Moorhead, and the Metro Flood Diversion Authority are setting the example of how to deliver projects to the nation more efficiently in a resource-constrained environment. Dozens of consultants and construction firms have participated in the effort, showing the strength of the private commitment to the project. “NAC is thrilled to select this project for our second annual Recognition of Special

Achievement Award,” said Edd Gibson, NAC president and CEO. “What stood out to us when evaluating the project was the impact that it will have on both North Dakota and Minnesota, as it is truly a generational project that will help citizens of both states for decades to come. And it provides a good road map on how to innovatively address resilience and sustainability in a large civil infrastructure project. All involved are to be applauded for their dedication to improving the lives of those in this region.” “Congratulations to our USACE teammates and our partners, the cities of Fargo, Moorhead, and the Metro Flood Diversion Authority for this well-deserved recognition,” said Lt. Gen. Scott A Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanding general. “In spearheading the Fargo-Moorhead Metro Area flood risk management project, the St. Paul District exemplified the kind of innovation and partnership that we strive for, as we work to protect communities and engineer solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges.” The award will be presented to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the NAC annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, Oct. 12. The $3 billion federal project includes a 30-mile diversion channel with upstream staging and floodwater storage, as well as 21 bridges (18 highway, 3 railroad); 2 aqueduct structures; nearly 40 miles of levees and floodwalls; 3 large, gated control structures; 22 miles of dam embankment; 4 miles of Interstate-29 raise; and environmental and cultural mitigation and monitoring. This project will provide flood risk management for nearly 260,000 people and 70 square miles of infrastructure in the communities of Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, North Dakota; Horace, North Dakota; and Harwood, North Dakota, and will save the nation millions of dollars annually in flood fighting and potential flood damages. AE


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USACE Team Fights Floods in New England

p New England before and after: Ball Mountain Dam before the flooding in this May 2023 photo. Ball Mountain

Lake has a permanent pool with a depth of 25 feet that covers 20 acres. From mid-May to mid-October, this pool is kept at a depth of 65 feet, enlarging the pool area to 75 acres, to increase the seasonal recreational opportunities. The lake can store up to 17.8 billion gallons of water for flood control purposes. Holding that much water would have the reservoir pool cover 810 acres and extend 6.5 miles upstream through Londonderry. During this storm, at their peaks, the seven USACE dams along the Connecticut River Basin in Vermont and New Hampshire were collectively storing and holding back 60 billion gallons of storm water, equivalent to 91,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. USACE PHOTOS BY JOHN ASSENG


Torrential downpours in mid-July inundated New England with massive amounts of rainfall. Vermont and New Hampshire received the largest impacts and the water levels rose behind all of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) dams in the Upper Connecticut River Basin. During this storm, at their peaks, the seven USACE dams in the Upper Connecticut River Basin in Vermont and New Hampshire collectively stored 60 billion gallons of storm water, which is equivalent to 91,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, to mitigate downstream flooding. All affected dams operated as designed.


s a result of rising reservoir levels, all recreation areas in the Upper Connecticut River Basin were closed to the public, with Ball Mountain evacuating campers from its popular Winhall Brook Campground. “Our No.1 priority continues to be the life, health, and safety of all potentially affected by the flooding,” said Col. John A. Atilano II, New England District commander. The district’s Emergency Operations Center worked closely with operations staff, the Dam Safety Program personnel, and the Reservoir Control Center to monitor the dams. Team members also coordinated with state and federal agencies, to include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 1, National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices, and the NWS Northeast River Forecast Center. On July 11, the Reservoir Control Center in Concord, Massachusetts, assessed the status of the floodwaters and determined the Connecticut River was able to accept additional water. To provide space for the reservoirs to hold additional expected rain, at around 10 p.m. the Ball Mountain Dam team began slowly increasing the water being released from its reservoirs. The team at Townshend Dam released slow flows just before 1 a.m. on July 12. During the flooding, team members at Ball Mountain, Townshend, North Springfield, Union Village, and North Hartland worked around the clock monitoring pool levels and downstream conditions. Team members at the other Upper Connecticut River Basin dams did not have to staff around the clock, but kept a close eye on the water levels. New England District technical experts on the ground in Vermont and at the Reservoir Control Center in Concord, Massachusetts, assessed the status of the floodwaters and determined the Connecticut River was able to accept additional water. Inspections took place at all the basin dams to ensure they remained in good working order. The inspections are routine


p Col. John A. Atilano visits personnel and assesses

damage at Ball Mountain Dam, Townshend Dam, and Winhall Campground on July 14, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY JOHN ASSENG

during a flood event. Atilano praised the efforts of all the team members working the flood event. “We have the brightest and most capable minds doing extraordinary work; this mission, as with all our projects and programs, would not be possible without our people,” said Atilano. In addition to the flood-fighting efforts done by our teams at the USACE dams, FEMA mission-assigned USACE debris and infrastructure subject-matter experts during the flooding. Members of the team were tasked to assess 10 water treatment plants. At the state level, Vermont requested technical assistance, and district experts assisted with modeling support to predict future pool levels at

dams identified by the state. The New England District team posted dam updates through all its social media outlets, as well as press releases. While pools are above normal water levels at many of our dams, we continue to release water and lower the pools as allowed by the forecast. The New England District team will continue to monitor the situation closely and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of the public. “I want to give a shout out to our dedicated park rangers, engineers, hydrologists, the Reservoir Control Center in Concord, Emergency Operations Center, geotechnical team, and all of the hard-working USACE New England team for their dedication and expertise during this event,” said Atilano. “Outstanding work, and I know the people of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut appreciate it!” AE I 53


New Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Complex Aims to Save Lives Master Sgt. (Retired) Alan Richwald was a veteran who fought for the United States and also for his fellow Soldiers by becoming an expert in how to render safe unexploded or live foreign ordnance on the battlefield. He researched, wrote books, and shared his knowledge with many agencies and military services.


ecently, a new complex at Picatinny Arsenal was named after him, and aims to operate in the spirit of his motto: “So others may live.” The Master Sergeant Alan Richwald Explosive Ordnance Disposal Disassembly



and Robotics Complex was designed and constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. The complex is the first of its kind in the Army. The goal of the complex’s personnel is to research and develop ways, including using robotic technology, to render safe live foreign ordnance on the battlefield

p Dedication ceremony for the Master Sergeant Alan

Richwald Explosive Ordnance Disposal Disassembly and Robotics Complex. Pictured from left are David Castellano, executive director of the Munitions Engineering and Technology Center; Chris J. Grassano, director of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center; Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11); Wendy Pavlat (Richwald’s daughter); Sister MaryAnn Miranda Richwald; Arthur David Richwald; Maj. Gen. Heidi J. Hoyle, director of operations G-43/5/7, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4; and Brig. Gen. John T. Reim, commanding general Picatinny Arsenal and Joint Program Executive Officer Armaments and Ammunition. USACE PHOTO BY PICATINNY ARSENAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS

to protect Soldiers, including those responsible for recovering them and those performing missions down range. Former District Commander Col. Matthew Luzzatto commented, “The complex really highlights the diversity of missions that we, as a district, provide in support of the military. It’s not just barracks and airfields: It’s that unique capability we have to help protect Soldiers’ lives.” Picatinny Arsenal is a U.S. Army installation that sits on more than 6,000 acres in Morris County, New Jersey. It’s there that 6,000 scientists, engineers, and support personnel have the unique responsibility of developing virtually all of the Army’s weaponry.

A close-up of the dedication ceremony plaque for the new complex. USACE PHOTO BY PICATINNY ARSENAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS

To support this mission, the Army Corps of Engineers was asked to create the new complex. This was done in collaboration with the Baltimore District, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Picatinny Enhancement Coalition, contractor Mason and Hanger Group, Inc., of Lexington, Kentucky, and contractor Benard Associates of Wayne, New Jersey. The new state-of-the-art complex has three functions that include a 10,234-square-foot concrete facility using specialized equipment to safely disassemble and analyze conventional foreign ordnance such as grenades and land mines; a 10,040-square-foot robotics building that is testing, researching, and developing robotic devices to retrieve explosives from battlefields; and five earth-covered concrete ordnance-storage magazines, covering 6,000 square feet of land, that are designed to contain an explosion within a designated area. Not only will this complex work to save Soldiers’ lives, it was constructed with robust features to make it a safe work environment for the personnel performing the research and development. Brent Donahue, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Armaments Center, Picatinny Arsenal, said, “The goal of my team is to make as many operations related to the explosive ordnance disposal mission remote, often with the use of robots that can be sent downrange instead of a person. Our priority is reducing or eliminating the amount of time an actual person has to be within range of the explosive hazard.” He added, “The work from this complex will help to save the lives of Soldiers in two ways. First, the complex will be used to engineer and test robotic systems, which will lessen the number of times trained explosive ordnance disposal Soldiers will have to physically approach explosive hazards. Second, the more ex-

plosive hazards we can detect and render safe remotely on the battlefield, the more Soldiers we will save from unexpected explosions.” The work this complex is performing is extremely important to the Army. According to the Wounded Warrior Project’s Annual Warrior Survey – pdf – 84.2% of Wounded Warrior Project Warriors reported being injured during military service as a result of a number of events including blast or explosions. The survey found that 73.2% of these individuals experienced head-related trauma immediately following these events. The Army Corps got a taste of what Soldiers deal with on the battlefield. While excavating during the project, workers discovered unexploded ordnance. The project was halted and explosive ordnance disposal professionals from USACE’s Baltimore

District were called in to safely remove them. This didn’t come as a complete surprise to the project team, because years ago the arsenal was a major producer of weapons for World War I and World War II. “It was sort of a reminder of the importance of why we were building this facility,” said Andrew Andreeko, project manager, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Richwald, who has passed, devoted most of his life – almost 60 years – to developing ways to defeat and neutralize the hazards presented by live ordnance. This included traveling to dangerous war zones such as Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and personally recovering some of these explosives. The engineers at Picatinny believe he would be proud of this new complex that is using the latest robotic technology to make explosive recovery even safer for the men and women in uniform who are protecting the United States. AE I 55

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Aerial photo of McNary Dam, a 1.4-mile long concrete gravity run-of-the-river dam which spans the Columbia River connecting Oregon and Washington.

Water management, transportation networks, structures that protect us from natural disasters, ports, and buildings – these are critical to society and are at the heart of USACE Civil Works activity throughout the United States. As the structures that make up these vital assets age and decay, what is the best path to maintaining continuity of service with sustainability in mind? In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” As concrete infrastructure ages, it is often demolished, and new infrastructure is built in its place. How does this cycle

balance with meeting the needs of future generations? Building new concrete infrastructure consumes massive amounts of natural resources and has a significant overall impact on the environment. As society continues to grapple with the challenges posed by climate change,

resource depletion, and rapid urbanization, extending the life of existing concrete infrastructure comes into focus. A recent paper published by International Concrete Repair Institute1 states, “The thoughtful extension of the life of existing structures through careful repair and a commitment to longterm maintenance is a responsible answer to the reality of reducing our impact on the environment.” Increasing the service life of existing infrastructure is the essence of delivering a sustainable future, and the pathway

The appearance of or reference to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government does not imply or indicate endorsement by any of these entities.




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Left:Leveraging Investigate-Design-BuildTM successfully renews water infrastructure.

Reactive owners spend more in the long term. A lot more.

Figure 1 – Concrete service life cost of ownership modeling


extending the service life of reinforced concrete structures is proactive asset management.

The Power of Asset Management Asset management has been defined as “a systematic process of developing, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets in the most cost-effective manner possible.” It is in the words systematic process that we begin to understand what is required to properly manage assets. Developing a systematic process for managing concrete structures begins

with discovering and analyzing their current state – the existing condition – and continuing to monitor and analyze, while simultaneously addressing repair needs at early onset, and employing protective measures when advantageous. As demonstrated in Figure 1, the cost of repair increases exponentially as concrete ages and can be kept lower by managing the assets proactively. The total cost of ownership of concrete structures is greatly impacted by the owner’s willingness to invest proactively in life-extending repairs and protection.

First Steps Once the decision to put an asset management plan in place for concrete structures, what is the next step? As with other assets and systems being managed, best practice for concrete structures leads down a path of seeking assistance from subject-matter experts (SMEs). This assistance from SMEs can be internal or external. Concrete structures – the building envelope, dams, equipment foundations in a hydroelectric plant, or beams and piles on a port structure – are most often treated as secondary systems. And for secondary systems, partnering with external SME resources adds value because it brings the expertise to USACE and creates more time for internal resources to spend on primary systems. Depending on the specific situation, the development of the asset management program will include elements such as inspections, analysis of inspection results, consultation on repair and protection options and contracting of elected repairs and/or protection systems. The team assembled should have an understanding and experience managing concrete assets. Whether in-house, a hybrid model using internal and external resources, or turnkey outsourcing, the most important part of the word proactive is the active part. Whatever path is chosen, beginning the process of learning about the concrete structures being managed is better than the unknown of addressing concrete repair needs reactively. Old-School Asset Management A typical approach used for many years is to divide the asset management into steps and manage them separately as part of an overall program. This creates a compartmentalized program with I 57

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DESIGN-BUILD NUMBERS In 2021, Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) commissioned a study by FMI Consulting that analyzed $4.1 trillion of construction spending taking place between 2022 and 2026 in a cross section of vertical markets. In a 2023 update, the study reports that within the assessed segments, it is anticipated that design-build will be the delivery method representing 47% of the construction spend.

Above:Ongoing major repairs to extend the service life of reinforced concrete structure.

Another challenge is how late the repair contractor is brought into the process. The awarded contractor gets a set of plans, potentially a copy of the inspection report, and typically walks the site one time prior to establishing a price to the designed repairs. Because of this, it is not uncommon for the price of the repairs to exceed budget. Any gap between what is designed and how the solution is constructed is resolved through change orders. The change order process leads to delays, and the costs escalate in two dimensions. This is especially relevant in managing concrete because if repairs are delayed for years after an inspection, the deterioration can worsen, leading to scope growth. In addition,

the preparation of the concrete can lead to larger repair areas as sound concrete must be exposed to ensure the repair bonds properly. In long-term programs, these steps are repeated over and over with potentially different contractors each time a repair takes place. While concrete assets can be managed using this old-school approach, it is not the most efficient or cost effective.

21st Century Asset Management: Investigate-Design-BuildTM Collaborative delivery of projects through design-build is a growth area in construction. Its growth can be attributed to overall efficiency and effectiveness in speeding up construction and slowing down cost overruns and change orders. Design-build is a preferred project delivery method for addressing existing structures for similar reasons but amplified by the variables that are part of every repair project. It is most powerful when an extra step is added up front – investigation – creating a turnkey solution for managing concrete assets – Investigate-Design-Build TM (IDB TM ). Programmatic management of concrete assets using an IDBTM approach creates a process similar to the following


a process that may look like the following cycle: 1. Owner procures and awards program management to an engineering firm. 2. Engineering firm executes inspection using subconsultants and subcontractors. 3. Inspection results are prepared and provided to Owner. 4. Engineering firm analyzes inspection results. 5. Owner and engineering firm review results and analysis. 6. Results and analysis create tiers of priorities ranging from continue to monitor to long-term to short-term repair needs. 7. Engineering firm prepares options analysis for Owner, and options are considered for short- and long-term repairs. 8. Owner determines repair scopes. 9. Engineering firm designs the repairs. 10. Engineering firm provides the repair designs to Owner. 11. Owner provides the design to bidding contractors and procures the repairs. 12. Owner awards to a repair contractor based upon bid results. 13. Repair contractor mobilizes to complete repairs. 14. Repairs are implemented by repair contractor. Whether exactly like this, or similar, the above process takes place within effective asset management programs in many industries for concrete structures on an incremental timed basis. The frequency of inspections is typically determined by the criticality of the structures in the program. The challenges in this old-school approach to managing concrete assets are significant – and lead to a lack of continuity and overspending. Each firm that is engaged has to be oriented to the site, the structures, proper procedures, and the Owner’s team. Consider also that each time a repair scope is completed it can be a different contractor with a different approach to repair implementation in the field.

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STRUCTURAL aligns with USACE Small Business Program STRUCTURAL is committed to partwith strong partners and is dedicated nering with small businesses to help to meeting USACE Small Business Prothem grow. This enhances our offer- gram goals. This is driven by our coming to USACE by simplifying acquisi- mitment to mentor small businesses. tion and procurement options – which can be helpful in addressing emergent The combination of industry leading repair needs. concrete asset management and repair experience with small business STRUCTURAL has developed teamparticipation results is a winning ing and Mentor/Protege agreements formula for USACE.

(subject to adjustment to meet specific USACE needs): 1. Owner procures and awards a multiyear program to a qualified IDBTM firm, such as Structural. 2. IDBTM Team established as Engineer Partner and Repair Contractor. In the case of IDBTM , the program is managed by the design-build partnership (i.e., Structural and its Engineer Partner). The IDBTM Team consists of technical, safety, and construction team members and focuses on root cause analysis, solution building based on budgetary requirements and the highest quality field implementation. 3. IDBTM Team, in collaboration with the Owner, develops asset management plan including investigation cycles and contingency plans. 4. IDBTM team executes inspection and implements any immediate repairs necessary during the allotted schedule. 5. Inspection results are prepared, analyzed, and provided to Owner, along with repair options, preliminary design(s), schedule and firm pricing information. 6. Owner evaluates, in consultation with IDBTM Team, and selects shortand long-term repair plans. 7. IDBTM Team implements repairs as scheduled using firm pricing established.

8. Continued monitoring of structures through program takes place by IDBTM Team and subsequent repairs are implemented as needed. IDBTM brings all stakeholders together as a team from the outset, which creates a more effective program. The efficiency gained by having the engineer and repair contractor working together throughout the program is exponential. The repair contractor is on-site providing safe access during the inspections for the engineer, and over the course of the program hundreds of owner hours are saved without the need to ramp up different contractors as outlined in the old-school example process. As inspections are taking place, the repair needs are being evaluated and preliminary designs are taking place. These designs are informed in real time with constructability reviews completed by the same project management that will be overseeing repairs in the field. This is often where unique solutions are found to address the owner’s needs. In addition, minor immediate-need repairs can potentially be completed during the inspection time window, streamlining the entire program. Major repairs, when needed, can be intricately planned to save time and money, because through IDBTM delivery, all stakeholders participate in building the plan around the owner’s budget and schedule requirements.

Accommodating Changes The same sustainability concepts apply to the upgrade of infrastructure to accommodate operational modifications, other changes-of-use, or code compliance. Increasing the loads on existing concrete infrastructure, for instance, does not necessarily mean having to build new concrete infrastructure to accommodate. A recent example is a gantry crane upgrade at McNary Dam, which required structural enhancements to 48 concrete beams. Using an IDBTM approach, USACE and Structural safely and successfully implemented an innovative 1-sided enlargement of the beams, which streamlined the project schedule and implementation of the gantry crane upgrade. To learn more about the McNary Dam project, click here or visit www. Looking Forward Bringing engineering, technology options, repair contracting alternative procurement methods together is what Structural delivers to long-term concrete asset owners, like USACE, through IDBTM. Over time IDBTM drives the lowest total-cost-of-ownership and effective, efficient sustainability of concrete structures. As we look ahead, fewer resources may one day necessitate placing a higher priority on preserving existing concrete infrastructure over building new. While building new structures may continue to thrive in our generation, we can also look forward by investing time and energy into maintaining and extending the life of the concrete structures all around us. Sustainability for Repairing and Maintaining Concrete & Masonry Buildings – by ICRI Committee 160, Sustainability: Donald (Leo) Whiteley (Chair), Kurt Goethert, Fred Goodwin, H. Peter Golter, John Kennedy, Tanya Wattanberg Komas, Jessi Meyer, Matthew Petree, Bryan Smith, Stephan Trepanier, David Whitmore, and Pat Winkler 1 I 59


Birds at a backwater wetland area that was recently constructed as part of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe natural resources preservation and ecosystem restoration project. The Tribal Partnership Program construction project was recently completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and is the first to be completed in the nation. USACE PHOTO BY DELANIE STAFFORD

Omaha District Completes First Construction Project Under Tribal Partnership Program The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District recently completed an $11.6 million project in partnership with the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (LBST) to address erosion of shoreline banks in Lower Brule, South Dakota.


ce and wave action from Lake Sharpe has steadily eroded LBST land since the Fort Randall and Big Bend dams became operational in 1956



and 1966. Prior studies have shown that the shoreline along the project area was eroding at a pace of approximately 13 feet per year, resulting in more than 500 acres of lost land. As a result, environmental habitats were degraded and wastewater

sewage lagoons that service the LBST were threatened. “The whole part of this project to really remember and think about is protecting the shoreline – to protect the land here now,” said LBST Chairman Clyde Estes during a

Right: Newly planted trees and shrubs line a trail along a wetland area that was recently constructed as part of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe natural resources preservation and ecosystem restoration project. The Tribal Partnership Program construction project was recently completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. USACE PHOTO BY DELANIE STAFFORD

Below right: Visitors utilize a boat ramp at the Wata Onazin Recreation Area July 21, 2023, in Lower Brule, South Dakota. The recreation area is part of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe natural resources preservation and ecosystem restoration project. USACE PHOTO BY DELANIE STAFFORD

ceremony July 21 to mark the completion of the project and opening of the Wata Onazin Recreation Area. “This is a very, very important project, and is just one of many that we’re trying to keep pushing forward to stabilize our shoreline to protect the erosion of our tribal homelands.” To address the erosion, a 5,000-foot-long breakwater structure was built with a backwater wetland area. Following that, approximately 2,000 native trees and shrubs were then planted to restore riparian habitats, and a recreation area was built with a basketball court, outdoor game area, picnic shelters, swimming area, and boat ramp. All of these design features will help protect tribal lands and restore natural habitats while providing safe access to the Missouri River, which is critical to the LBST’s cultural, spiritual, medicinal, and food production needs. USACE Omaha District Commander Col. Mark Himes (recently retired) acknowledged the importance of the partnership and significance of the project during his remarks at the ceremony. “Today, we celebrate a significant milestone,” Himes said. “Lower Brule Sioux Tribe continues to pave the way and be actively involved in environmental and social justice to serve the tribal lands, the people and this community. “Through your partnership, this project marks the first project in the nation to be constructed under the Tribal Partnership Program.” U.S. Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota also praised the collaboration between the I 61


Left: Col. Mark Himes, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District commander, provides remarks during a ceremony July 21, 2023, in Lower Brule, South Dakota. The ceremony was held to mark the completion of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe natural resources preservation and ecosystem restoration Tribal Partnership Program project. USACE PHOTO BY DELANIE STAFFORD

Middle left: Jaime Pinkham, Secretary of the Army for Civil Works principal deputy assistant, provides remarks during a ceremony July 21, 2023, in Lower Brule, South Dakota. USACE PHOTO BY DELANIE STAFFORD

Bottom left: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Chairman Clyde Estes provides opening remarks during the ceremony to mark the completion of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe natural resources preservation and ecosystem restoration Tribal Partnership Program project. USACE PHOTO BY DELANIE STAFFORD

LBST and federal government in getting the project done. “The folks that worked to make this happen decided that they would work together and that they would listen to one another about what would be the best approach for this community long-term,” Rounds said. “But it would not have happened if your local tribal leaders would not have stepped up and had the patience to make this happen. So, I give credit to your tribal community leaders, for the chairman and for the entire council, for taking the time and the patience to see this through to completion.” The LBST first proposed a Tribal Partnership Program project in 2004, prompting an erosion study and planning by multiple agencies. The project was eventually initiated in 2017 following amendments to the Waters Resources Development Act of 2016 that authorized construction and cost-sharing for tribal projects to improve America’s water infrastructure needs. Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Principal Deputy Assistant Jaime Pinkham emphasized the project’s importance to the Tribal Partnership Program in helping to address the many challenges facing tribal nations.


“Lower Brule has been determined in restoring their homelands, including protecting every acre, which this project symbolizes, as well as promoting an active lifestyle,” Pinkham said. “My boss, Assistant Secretary Connor, has set us out on a course to modernize civil works so that we can harmonize our mission with the visions of native communities and the visions of communities that are too often overlooked or disadvantaged.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District is currently working with the LBST on a second project that will improve the shoreline to the north of the first project. This project would create a 2,400-foot-long breakwater and sheltered wetland, about 3.5 miles of shoreline riparian restoration plantings, a 6.9-acre island that would function as a natural and nature-based feature, and a 2.9-acre peninsula that will restore culturally significant native plants that are easily accessi-

This project would create a 2,400-foot-long breakwater and sheltered wetland, about 3.5 miles of shoreline riparian restoration plantings, a 6.9acre island that would function as a natural and nature-based feature, and a 2.9-acre peninsula that will restore culturally significant native plants that are easily accessible by tribal elders for knowledge-sharing with younger generations. ble by tribal elders for knowledge-sharing with younger generations. Himes announced the signing of the feasibility study for the second project during the ceremony to the applause of those in attendance. “That’s an important step that allows us to continue to move forward on what is going to be about an additional 4 miles of

ecosystem restoration and natural resource preservation in this very area,” Himes said. “So, although we stand here and celebrate today, as we should on an extremely successful project, there’s a ton of work ahead of us, and we’re going to continue to move forward with the partnership and collaboration we’ve established to finish what we’ve started.” AE

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Aerial photo of the Mountlake Terrace Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project, taken July 17, 2023, showing the overall project area. Construction on the $5.5. million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)-funded project began June 2023 to restore wetlands, riparian corridors, and create more places for birds, fish, turtles, salamanders, and native mammals to live. PHOTO BY DAVID CARLOS, MOUNTLAKE TERRACE

From a Bogey to Birdies, From Fairway to Flyway - Golf Course Gets a Mulligan, Converts to Habitat What does it take to convert a former golf course into fish and wildlife habitat?


hat was the question plaguing Mountlake Terrace, Washington, a city just 14 miles north of downtown Seattle, after taking ownership of



a 16-acre golf course on Lake Ballinger’s shores and allowing it to return to its natural condition starting in 2012. Today, the area is unrestored open space and parklands, with a degraded Hall Creek flowing through it. Invasive plant

species and degraded channels jeopardize what could be valuable fish and wildlife habitat in the urban sprawl. City officials developed a master plan for restoring the wetlands, riparian corridors, and fish and wildlife habitat, creating and preserving critical habitat for amphibians, and providing significant habitat for migrating birds and many waterfowl species using the Pacific Flyway. Bringing the plan to life required engineering expertise in water resource stewardship and ecosystem restoration. City officials knew the nation’s engineers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), has this expertise and experience in delivering world-class solutions to environmental challenges. They called upon USACE’s Seattle District for assistance exploring an aquatic ecosystem restoration project under Section 206 of its Continuing Authorities Program (CAP). “Ecosystem restoration projects like this allow the Corps the opportunity to partner with local communities, to create and preserve critical habitats in rapidly developing urban areas,” said district Civil Works Programs Section Chief Jeff Dillon. “The local community is actively engaged and motivated to move forward with this restoration opportunity.” The city received USACE’s technical assistance under Section 206 to restore and protect aquatic ecosystems and wetland habitats to improve the quality of the environment. Section 206 projects include channel modifications and wetland restoration. “Collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers makes habitat restoration possible for over 16 acres of a previous golf course,” said the city’s Stormwater Manager Laura Reed. “When this project is completed, park visitors can enjoy an

p Above: A fish removed from Ballinger Creek,

Mountlake Terrace, Washington, as part of the preparatory activities for the creek’s dewatering and re-channeling of Lake Ballinger as part of the $5.5 million BIL-funded project to return a golf course to a natural state, and restore habitat in which animals can live. USACE PHOTO BY NICOLE CELESTINE

Left: Specialists with The Watershed Company, a Seattle-area environmental services and landscape architecture firm, sift through seine nets for fish and transfer them to fish buckets in preparation for dewatering Ballinger Creek, in Ballinger Park, Mountlake Terrace, Washington. USACE PHOTO BY NICOLE CELESTINE

environment full of bird song, plants that originally thrived in this area, and little wild spaces close to home.” USACE awarded the contract in January 2023. The $5.5 million construction contract, of which $3.4 million came from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding President Joseph R. Biden signed into law in November 2021, was also funded through a grant from Washington state taxpayers. Dillon and Reed agree this project’s importance to the Mountlake Terrace community, the region, and more importantly wildlife, is no exaggeration.

“The urbanized area of Puget Sound, especially in heavy residential areas, has eliminated much of the native habitat for fish and wildlife,” said Dillon. “What remains is often heavily degraded and overcome by invasive plant species. This project is important because the location is wetlands, it’s close to a large lake, and it can re-establish a notable corridor of native plant habitat.” Construction began in early summer 2023 and will run through spring 2024. Additional project components include creating a wetted creek channel, installing diverse plants, replacing a vehicle crossing,

and adding a pedestrian boardwalk to limit plant and wetland soil damage. Minor enhancements to pond habitat are also in the plan. “The number of places animals can call home is shrinking,” Reed warned. “This project switches up that dynamic and provides more homes for these creatures. Five years from now, this park will be full of birdsong, the creek will have otters and maybe even salmon. It will be a place to experience nature right here in the neighborhood, a place where the sounds of the city will fade away.” AE I 65

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Military and International Operations

The front exterior of the new VA Stockton Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Stockton, California, on Aug. 7, 2023. Construction crews with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District have nearly finished the exterior of both the clinic and an on-site central utilities plant, and are planning to turn both facilities over to the VA Northern California Health Care System in early 2024. The clinic will provide a wide array of services to Central Valley veterans, including primary care, mental health care, and prosthetics. USACE PHOTO BY JEREMY CROFT

Military and International Operations

USACE’s Founding Mission


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is an agency built to serve the U.S. military. Its original mandate – to protect and enable Soldiers of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War – has evolved and expanded considerably since Col. Richard Gridley, the Army’s first chief engineer, BY CRAIG COLLINS


ordered the construction of fortifications at Breed’s Hill, near Boston, in 1775. The range of expertise contained within USACE today – some of it literally found nowhere else in the world – remains focused on supporting the armed forces. USACE helps the U.S. military and its allies maintain readiness, ensure national and regional security, and respond to contingencies with either lethal or life-saving efficiency, as circumstances dictate.

Today’s Corps of Engineers supports the Army’s Engineer Regiment, headquartered at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The Army engineers in this regiment compose units that perform combat engineering, rescue, construction, and other specialties, and all fall under the command of the Army chief of staff. The only uniformed unit that falls directly under the command of USACE is the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), which provides commercial-level power to military units and federal relief organizations in time of need. Most of the Corps of Engineers’ support to the military is conducted outside of the command structure. USACE performs this work as directed by Congress, and often as a service provider to interagency or international customers. Maj. Gen. Kimberly M. Colloton, USACE’s deputy commanding general for Military and International Operations, oversees this extensive portfolio, which is delivered by more than 11,000 men and women around the world. “We build clinics and hospitals, barracks, operations facilities, and schools, to only name a few,” said Colloton, “which provide quality services for our active-duty military, veterans, civilians, and their families at hundreds of installations, camps, posts, and stations worldwide.” The knowledge and skills developed over decades of performing and refining this work have made the Corps of Engineers a uniquely capable service provider for the Army, the Department of Defense (DOD), and a growing number of non-DOD customers at home and abroad.

“We build clinics and hospitals, barracks, operations facilities, and schools, to only name a few, which provide quality services for our active-duty military, veterans, civilians, and their families at hundreds of installations, camps, posts, and stations worldwide.” - Maj. Gen. Kimberly M. Colloton, USACE

Military Programs The program of Military Construction (MILCON) and installation readiness remains one of USACE’s chief responsibilities, encompassing the design, construction, management, and upgrading of facilities and infrastructure for the Army, Air Force, the Army and Air Force Reserves, and other Department of Defense and federal agencies. These projects vary widely in size, scope, and purpose. Recent examples include: • A new Root Hall at the campus of the Army War College’s Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The 201,000-square-foot academic building opened July 30, 2023, a four-story building containing instructional, study, and conference areas; library stacks; an auditorium; a food court; TV and podcast rooms; and a laboratory. • A runway extension project at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. In October 2022, the USACE Alaska District began excavating 12 million cubic yards of soil to lengthen and widen a runway, and add taxiways and new shoulders. The largest Pacific Air Forces project to date, it will result in two 10,000-foot runways at the base, allowing safer ascents and descents through Anchorage’s busy airspace, and increase the military’s ability to project power into the Pacific Theater. • A Joint Training Center for the Puerto Rico National Guard at Camp Santiago, Salinas, Puerto Rico. The new facility will have a total of 17 buildings, including 10 barracks buildings, administrative offices, equipment storage rooms, arms vaults, training areas, meeting rooms, maintenance areas, and a dining facility, totaling 80,890 square feet. USACE Jacksonville District held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project in February 2023. • The construction and management of every Army and Air Force Reserve

p The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District is extending the 16/34 runway that runs north to south

at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The $309 million project will add an additional 2,500 feet and allow the installation to have two functional runways of about 10,000 feet. The runway will significantly increase the Air Force’s capability as a force projection platform to further advance the national defense strategy, while providing continued support to U.S. military members serving in the Arctic. Constructing the expansion will require 170,000 tons of asphalt paving, 57,000 linear feet of utility piping, and 280,000 cubic yards of topsoil. It is the largest construction contract the district has awarded to date, and is the largest construction project in the U.S. Pacific Air Forces’ area of operation. USACE PHOTO BY CAPT. CHARLES BIERWIRTH

center in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Louisville District is national program manager for the Army Reserve and Airforce Reserve MILCON Program, which consists of 109 active projects for the Air Force Reserve, and 86 active projects for the Army Reserve – all of them in various stages of study, design, or construction. USACE’s broad construction expertise qualifies it to administer highly technical and specialized projects, such as the replacement hospital project at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Overseen by the Kansas City District, the new hospital, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2024, will serve 5,700 active-duty personnel, 20,400 trainees, and 3,500 military retirees. Some of the agency’s most ambitious projects are built overseas, and partially funded by international partners. The

Yongsan Relocation Program in South Korea is a historic joint effort between the United States and South Korea to move DOD facilities to a new state-of-the-art base of operations, Camp Humphreys, near the city of Pyeongtaek – a sprawling complex that will encompass command headquarters, family housing, office buildings, barracks, a shopping center, and a golf course. In September 2023, USACE’s Far East District broke ground on a new elementary school for children of service members – a program overseen by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) – at the new installation. The building and recapitalization of DODEA school facilities in Germany and Belgium is a major undertaking of USACE’s Europe District, whose wide-ranging mission involves not only designing, building, and upgrading facilities for U.S. forces – I 67

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Military and International Operations

U.S. Army Gen. Darryl A. Williams, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command, listens to Jeremy Pianalto, the chief of facilities and construction for U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command, during a visit to the forward operating site in Powidz, Poland, Aug. 10, 2023. The key purpose of Williams’ visit was to tour Powidz and discuss the forward operating site’s future. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY SGT. DEMETRYSEAN LEWIS

design support and limited infrastructure assessment. Several other FFE components provide expertise in real estate, contracting, environmental support, logistics support, and base camp development.

such as the renovation of Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) sites that support readiness for NATO forces at several Western European sites – but also projects that have increased the value and capacity of Allied bases. Several recently completed air base improvement projects in the Baltic States, for example, have benefited the air policing capabilities of rotational NATO wings. Recent project deliveries have likewise improved the capacities of Campia Turzii Air Base in Romania and Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria, and similar air base improvements are scheduled for projects in Hungary, Slovakia, Norway, Luxembourg, and Denmark. While MILCON and installation support comprise two of the largest pieces covered under USACE’s Military Programs umbrella, the Corps of Engineers performs several other services in support of the nation’s military readiness: • Real estate: USACE’s real estate experts buy, sell, and manage about 25 million acres of land for the Department of the Army, and execute about 46,000 real estate transactions every year. • Environmental work: Every year, USACE performs about $2 billion in environmental remediation work in the


military operations realm, and provides technical expertise in cleanup and environmental restoration. • Contingency and forward support: USACE’s program of overseas support to combatant commands and allies is coordinated largely through its Field Force Engineering (FFE) program, which deploys expeditionary teams of military and civilian specialists. “We deploy Forward Engineer Support Teams in support of our combatant commands and Army service component commands to enable our warfighters, secure access and bring engineering expertise to remote and contingency locations,” Colloton said. “We support our partners and allies with security assistance, technical expertise, protection and deterrence capabilities, which also strengthens our own national security.” The largest of the six FFE teams is the Forward Engineer Support Team-Main (FEST-M), which averages about 36-38 Soldiers and civilians with expertise in electrical, mechanical, civil, and environmental engineering, as well as in logistics, contracting, and resource management. Forward Engineer Support Teams-Advance (FEST-A) provide engineering planning/

Interagency and International Support Another major USACE military mission is known broadly as Interagency and International Support (IIS), through which the Corps of Engineers provides approximately $4 billion in technical assistance annually to about 70 non-DOD federal agencies, state and local governments, tribal nations, foreign governments, NGOs, and private U.S. companies. This includes USACE competencies in disaster response and humanitarian assistance – expenditures that vary from year to year, depending on need. The Corps of Engineers also provides design, construction, engineering, and training to these non-DOD customers – including the design and construction of 22 projects for the Department of Veterans Affairs, for whom USACE’s medical-facility expertise often makes it the provider of choice. In the USACE Sacramento District, construction of the Stockton VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in French Camp, California, is scheduled for completion in early 2024, and will provide Central Valley veterans with primary care, mental health care, prosthetics, and other vital services in the Stockton area. Follow-on projects at the same site will include a 120-bed Community Living Center and an engineering logistics building to support both medical facilities. The Louisville District recently began executing the construction of a new

p Grafenwoehr Elementary students join distinguished guests and leaders from across the military community

and Department of Defense Education Activity to cut the ribbon for the new Grafenwoehr Elementary School in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Sept. 12, 2023. Officials from the Department of Defense Education Activity, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, 7th Army Training Command, and more participated in the ceremony for the new school. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY RICHARD PUCKETT

910,115-square-foot VA Medical Center in Louisville, Kentucky, a mega-project that will include a 42,205-square-foot central utility plant, a regional laundry facility, and two parking garages, as well as roadways, sidewalks, and other site improvements. The new 104-bed, full-service hospital will provide world-class health care for more than 45,000 veterans in Kentucky and southern Indiana. USACE administers a portfolio of projects in dozens of other countries. Europe District, for example, manages robust humanitarian assistance construction programs in support of both the United States European and African commands (EUCOM and AFRICOM) – working with local U.S. embassies to deliver potent and efficient solutions across both continents. Projects include school construction and renovation, medical campuses, and specialized facilities, such as a new National Malaria Reference Laboratory in Lakka, Sierra Leone, that

will support broader efforts to combat that deadly disease there. These low-cost, high-impact projects introduce USACE expertise to a wide range of countries – and not just in Europe and Africa. The Kansas City District recently partnered with U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and the Mexican government to design and build a three-story disaster response training facility, the National School for Civil Protection, in Mexico City. The project marks the first collaboration between USACE and the Mexican government. It’s not just USACE’s construction expertise that’s exported internationally, however. The agency’s mature and sophisticated emergency management program, which played a leadership role in both response and recovery efforts after wildfires ravaged communities on the Hawaiian island of Maui in August 2023, is in demand among allies. In March, USACE partnered with

Mission Ready at Every Level Our team has proudly served the Department of Defense for more than 80 years. We stand with you, ready to listen, collaborate and provide the innovative solutions you need.

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Does not imply USACE or DOD endorsement.

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Military and International Operations

Right: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District Commander Col. Pat Dagon presents a ceremonial key to Nigerian Air Force Chief of Policy and Plans Air Vice Marshal IG Lubo at Kainji Air Force Base in Nigeria during a ceremony celebrating recently completed base infrastructure improvements there April 27, 2023. They participated in ribbon-cutting ceremonies highlighting the completion of several construction projects supporting recently delivered A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. The construction was part of the historic $500 million U.S. foreign military sale to Nigeria, which also includes the delivery of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, munitions, and training. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY CHRIS GARDNER Below right: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District Transylvania Project Office Team Lead Andrew Stanford and Europe District Chief of Engineering and Construction Roger Vogler discuss progress on facilities under construction at Air Base 71 near Campia Turzii, Romania, Sept. 18, 2023. The project is part of a more than $100 million construction program at the base managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in close partnership with the Romanian air force, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. embassy. The projects are funded through the United States’ European Deterrence Initiative, and will contribute to the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, reinforce the collective defense and security of NATO allies, and support shared goals of regional security. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY CHRIS GARDNER

the Maryland National Guard to lead a crisis communication workshop in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which more than two dozen participants from eight organizations developed an all-hazards communication plan and learned how to combat misinformation and enhance the functionality of social media in a crisis. With the help of subject-matter experts from USACE and other agencies, Bosnia and Herzegovina government personnel were able to improve public information capabilities that will be used when responding to disasters. According to Colloton, USACE expertise has proved useful in every corner of the globe: “Working in partnership with the


combatant commands, Army service component commands, and the Department of State,” she said, “we’re training our partners on military and civil operations and crisis communications. And we’re executing dozens of projects across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central Asian states to enable security and increase access to education, health care, food, shelter, water, and help fight deadly diseases. Overall, our efforts promote stability, which reduces conflict while advancing global prosperity.” Adapting to an Uncertain Future An emphasis on sustainability in building facilities, and on adapting existing

infrastructure to the risks presented by climate change, empowers USACE to ensure readiness now and into the future. At sites from the Pacific Ocean to the Middle East, increased flooding and storms, sea level rise, and prolonged periods of intense heat have increased the vulnerability of service members and allies to a changing climate – and prompted the Army and the Department of Defense to identify climate change as a critical national security threat. Several initiatives and policy directives – including the “Army Climate Strategy” and USACE’s own Sustainability and Climate Action Plans – have had a tangible effect on the approximately $25 billion in

“Working in partnership with the combatant commands, Army cervice component commands, and the Department of State, we’re training our partners on military and civil operations and crisis communications. And we’re executing dozens of projects across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central Asian states to enable security and increase access to education, health care, food, shelter, water, and help fight deadly diseases.” - Maj. Gen. Kimberly M. Colloton, USACE construction-related services the agency executes annually. “We help secure our future through investments and collaboration on innovative research, development, and engineering that protects our environment from the harmful effects of climate change,” said Colloton. As directed by Congress in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, USACE has undertaken a pilot program focused on the use of sustainable building materials that will lower military infrastructure’s lifetime carbon emissions by at least 30%. USACE is also focusing on reducing energy consumption and waste at these facilities. Examples of projects being built in the Sustainable Building Materials Pilot Program include Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where USACE is managing

the construction of a new barracks, and a three-story consolidated communications facility at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida. Each project is designed to reduce both its upstream and downstream effects, lowering energy consumption, water intensity, and carbon emissions. USACE is armed with institutional mechanisms that will help to guide its military and international programs into the future. Its Environmental Operating Principles reinforce its roles and responsibilities in the sustainable use, stewardship, and restoration of natural resources – and all decisions, across all programs, are viewed with these principles in mind. USACE work considers not only the environmental impacts of a project, but ensures that those actions are sustainable into the future, using instruments such as

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the USACE-developed Climate Assessment Tool. Under the umbrella of the USACE Climate Preparedness and Resilience Community of Practice, experts are focused on planning for several futures, within a range of possibilities projected by the agency’s sophisticated models. “I’m excited that a lot of the work USACE does bolsters the development not only of this generation,” said Colloton, “but also of future generations. With each state-of-theart classroom designed and built, Reserve or training center renovated to meet energy-efficient and resilient standards, or recruiting facility leased, we are equipping generations of engineers, architects, scientists, and Soldiers to ‘be all they can be’ and provide quality environments where they can thrive and continue to solve our nation’s toughest challenges.” AE

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Left: TechFlow COO, Mark Carter, and VP of Energy and Mobility Solutions, Michael Genseal, join leadership and personnel at a U.S. Army Reserve installation to cut a ribbon to commemorate the installation of seven EV dual-port charging stations.

When President Biden signed a 2022 Executive Order committing the U.S. government to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the Department of Defense (DoD) followed suit by announcing the agency’s plans to transition its entire non-tactical fleet to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has a massive fleet of over 170,000 vehicles classified as non-tactical, ranging in size from sedans to buses, and only a tiny fraction are EVs today. To meet its 2035 deadline and secure the long-term success of EV adoption in the U.S. military, the DoD must quickly develop state-of-the-art charging infrastructure specifically tailored to the distinctive requirements and massive scale of its upcoming EV fleet.

DIU Chooses TechFlow to Drive Innovation in DoD EV Charging Solutions The DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) took on the task of selecting private industry partners to develop and deploy modern EV charging technologies and infrastructure at eight military bases. Technical and cybersecurity experts from multiple branches of the DoD conducted thorough reviews of the 44 proposals received.

Data-Driven Insights: Pilot Study Paving the Way for Enhanced DoD Charging Solutions The TechFlow/DIU pilot projects initially being deployed at Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Army Reserve sites allow key personnel to closely monitor and assess critical data, including usage, uptime, vehicle types, wait times, and mean time to repair equipment. TechFlow’s longstanding history of partnering with the DoD, coupled with its expertise in renewable energy and mobility solutions, will enable engineers to measure the most critical aspects of the solution to optimize performance. These insights will help TechFlow and the U.S. military gain deeper insights into how to improve EV charging infrastructure in preparation for the mass deployment of solutions to support the DoD’s EV fleet of the future. The pilot study highlights the importance of measuring individual fleet requirements, geographical energy challenges, projected utilization, and mission-specific factors. The data gathered will help engineers

The appearance of or reference to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government does not imply or indicate endorsement by any of these entities.




To revolutionize its private-public pilot project, the DIU sought a partner with expertise in navigating complexities with Federal agencies, addressing unique DoD use cases, meeting the U.S. military’s largescale infrastructure needs, and delivering rapid development. In October 2022, the DIU selected TechFlow, a San Diego-based 100% employee-owned company with nearly 30 years of DoD partnership, deep and broad expertise in renewable energy and mobility solutions, a history of successful innovative collaboration with the Federal government, and a customer-focused reputation.

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TechFlow VP of Energy and Mobility Solutions, Michael Genseal, delivers remarks at a ceremony to commemorate the installation of seven EV dual-port charging stations at a U.S. Army Reserve installation.


swiftly and confidently design tailored EV charging solutions for each DoD site. Additionally, the study tests and improves policies and procedures to support the upcoming widespread adoption of EV charging.

Lessons Learned: TechFlow Experts Share Key Considerations for the DoD’s Future EV Charging Needs Site Selection: Deliberate consideration of EV charging infrastructure placement at DoD installations is essential. Engineers should thoroughly evaluate factors such as traffic flow, vehicle sizes, turn radiuses, future expansion space, vehicle staging areas, maneuverability, traffic safety, ADA compliance, and power proximity to ensure safe and efficient charging without impacting operations. Personal Vehicle Charging: As EV adoption grows among consumers, workplace charging is becoming essential, particularly for the U.S. government with its large civilian workforce of over 2 million employees. However, charging personally-owned vehicles (POVs) using government assets presents challenges. The government cannot provide charging as a gift or generate profits from charging fees.

Instead, all payments for POV charging sessions must be sent to the U.S. Treasury, leaving little hope for facility maintenance and energy cost coverage. TechFlow’s first pilot study EV charger installation offers a solution to this issue. It can charge both government-owned vehicles and POVs in compliance with regulations, addressing a major challenge in EV charging solutions at DoD installations. Cybersecurity: A secure network architecture is essential to protecting EV charging stations at DoD installations. Separating the charging station network from critical enterprise networks mitigates attack risks. Implementing firewalls, intrusion detection, prevention systems, and network segmentation strengthens network security. TechFlow’s secure solution ensures reliable communication and control of the EV charging network without connecting to the DoD’s enterprise network, enabling real-time monitoring and communication while exceeding cybersecurity requirements for operational and transactional data. Policies and Procedures: Enhancing mission readiness and operational support is crucial for DoD facilities. Strategic prioritization policies for charging access during limited electricity or high-demand periods can optimize energy allocation. TechFlow’s solutions undergo rigorous mission impact assessments for readiness optimization. Additionally, integrating EV charging with fleet management systems aligns energy needs with mission requirements, optimizing schedules and energy usage. A charging scheduling protocol ensures grid stability, preventing vehicle blockage at stations, controlling demand spikes, and enhancing operational flexibility for efficient energy management. Uptime and Energy Availability: Ensuring uninterrupted EV charger uptime on military installations is vital for the DoD’s operational readiness. Downtime hinders charging and mission readiness, impacting mission-critical vehicles. Robust electrical infrastructure and distributed power generation are necessary to meet the growing EV fleet’s demands. TechFlow’s

solutions prioritize uptime and electricity availability, supporting vehicle readiness, mission requirements, and sustainability goals, which ensures reliable charging operations for the DoD’s EV fleet. Energy Resiliency: Integrating EV charging with distributed energy resources, smart grids, and microgrids optimizes energy use, enabling dynamic load management and adjusting charging demand based on grid conditions. Prioritizing critical loads and efficient resource utilization enhances sustainability and charging operation efficiency. TechFlow’s agile EV charging facility design ensures scalability, saving time, money, and resources. Diverse energy sources, including renewables and conventional grid power, fortify resiliency by ensuring a reliable energy supply for EV charging. Energy storage systems provide backup power during outages and support renewable energy use, promoting efficient and sustainable charging operations.

TechFlow Elevates EV Charging Innovation: Secures Key Success Memo to Scale Production TechFlow has advanced its innovative EV charging projects for the DoD to a new level, moving past the trial phase. A success memo, recently granted by the DIU, propels TechFlow from innovative trials to full-scale operational readiness, gearing up to meet the DoD’s ambitious target to electrify its non-tactical fleet by 2035. TechFlow has secured the green light to initiate production contracts and commence the nationwide deployment of its state-of-the-art EV charging infrastructure. With nearly three decades of experience developing sophisticated solutions for the DoD, TechFlow stands ready to cater to the evolving electrification needs of America’s defense with unparalleled expertise and a robust, renewable energy-driven vision.

Always Ahead I 73



Hawai’i Wildfires: Q&A With the Outgoing ESF#3 Team Leaders On Aug. 8, wildfires swept across Maui, devastating land and communities and catastrophically damaging the town of Lahaina. In the immediate aftermath, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arrived to help the state of Hawai’i and Maui County begin the disaster response and recovery process. As a component of that process, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was brought in through FEMA Mission Assignment as the lead agency to handle Emergency Support Function #3.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Emergency Support Function 3 team leader Justin Pummell (left) and assistant team leader Tonya Dutra review mission information at the Hawai’i wildfires response Joint Field Office located at the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency’s offices in Honolulu Aug. 24, 2023. USACE is committed to leveraging its experience, resources, and outreach to help the communities of Maui heal and recover.

nder the National Response Framework, which establishes a single, comprehensive approach to domestic incident management, ESF3 provides guidelines for federal assistance to local, state, and tribal governments in the context of public works and engineering, including tasks such as debris removal, temporary housing construction, and restoration of critical utilities and facilities. Though the local USACE commander of the district where a disaster occurs has responsibility to act under USACE’s own emergency authorities, the day-to-day operations of the Stafford Act response are managed by an ESF3 team leader and assistant team leader who are deployed civilian USACE personnel expertly trained to head these types of response missions. When the response effort began, team leader for the ESF3 Hawai’i wildfires response, Justin Pummell, and assistant team leader, Tonya Dutra, were the first in



those positions to serve during this event. When their deployments were ending they offered some insights into their roles and the initial phase of support. What are your normal roles in USACE and how long have you been with the agency? For each of you, how many disaster responses have you been part of, and is this your first time as overall ESF3 leaders? Tonya Dutra:I’ve been with USACE for 12 years. Currently I am a project manager in special projects at the Omaha District. In my daily job, I do fuel tank inspection and repair in the special projects section of Omaha District. In my former life, I was an emergency management specialist, so I was in the Emergency Management section of USACE for six years. This is my second “official” full-disaster deployment. I say that because the last one I did was in Puerto Rico, but I was on the tail end of it. We were closing it out and everybody was going home. This is my first time on the very beginning stages; I arrived I 75


on day two or three. I have, however, deployed as an ESF3 ATL [assistant team leader] three times prior to this for potential hurricanes. Those storms didn’t happen, though, and I went home each time after about four days. Justin Pummell: I have been employed by the Corps of Engineers for 22 years. I’m currently the Civil Works business intelligence program manager and assigned to the Institute for Water Resources, and my day job is overseeing a large civil works cloud information technology network that supports major applications like the National Levee Database and the Inland Electronic Navigation Charts. I’ve been involved with emergency management through 25-plus deployments throughout my career. I have recently been promoted to ESF3 team leader this year and been on the ESF3 cadre since 2017. Prior to that, I was the National GIS [Geographic Information System] cadre team leader for emergency management. It’s a formal process to become a team leader and it takes training and deployments to get to that stage. How would you describe the importance of the relationship between an ESF3 team leader and the assistant team leader? Pummell: It’s tremendously important. The assistant team leader and the team leader have to be completely synchronized to be successful in this role, given the number of tasks, the number of meetings, and the number of requirements that are asked of us. Tonya and I know what each other are thinking before we’re thinking it! Did you have much of a relationship before this particular disaster? Pummell: No, it’s the first time we’ve deployed together. How do you make this type of relationship productive when you’re under such a time crunch? Pummell: We go through an annual training each year at the Readiness Support


When I first arrived, I didn’t have a handle on how big the scope was yet, because it wasn’t fully known at the time how much had been burned and the magnitude of the loss. I anticipated that it would be a large area with significant traumatic effects. I knew I was going to be busy and ESF3 was going to be called upon to deliver critical mission support. – Justin Pummell, team leader for the ESF3 Hawai’i wildfires response Center and that allows us to understand each other’s roles, and we’ve met through that forum multiple times previously. So, we’re not coming in as strangers. Additionally, a team leader serves as an assistant team leader for many years, so the roles and responsibilities are well known. As an assistant team leader, how do you view your role in terms of what support you want to make sure you’re offering to the team? Dutra: As an ATL, my job is to support Justin, the team leader, who’s got the primary brunt on their shoulders and to alleviate anything that can be, like the reports, going to meetings that he can’t attend, and taking notes or giving statuses at those meetings if necessary. It’s to help keep things running along smoothly; I can answer questions from people, so he’s not bombarded with everything. We share tasks and it gives me someone experienced to learn the ropes from. When the ESF3 for this response was stood up on Aug. 9, how would you describe those first 24 hours and what were the challenges? Pummell: Usually when you first arrive, you’re asked a lot of questions related to capability. USACE has specific, pre-scripted mission assignments that we often fill, some of which are in the response phase and some of which are in the recovery phase of the disaster. So, given the circumstances, we anticipated we would be requested to do temporary power and

debris, and there were a lot of questions about those two particular mission sets: How fast you can get folks out? And what can we do to start planning for those big mission sets? And the FEMA Regional Activation Mission Assignment is the kickoff, the first funding that comes in, right? Pummell: Typically, yes, regional activation and that’s what deploys a team leader and assistant team leader. It also allows us to bring out subject-matter experts and so some of the first we deployed were related to temporary power and debris. ESF3, Public Works and Engineering, often gets tasked with some of the most complex and challenging work. After an emergency event occurs, I am always impressed with what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers brings to the table to fulfill those requests and answer the mail for survivors and residents when we are tasked to do something. It keeps the relationship to FEMA and the states strong. The ESF3 community does everything it can to support FEMA and states with resolving and working through some of the most complex challenges that occur during an event. Where have you been located while you have served this deployment? Pummell: The State of Hawai’i Emergency Operations Center in Honolulu, because we usually integrate directly with the FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team, or IMAT, that is supporting the state in its

response efforts. So, we typically go where the IMAT is, and in this case, it’s been the initial operating facility here at the State Emergency Operations Center. When you started realizing the scope of the devastation, what were your thoughts? Pummell: When I first arrived, I didn’t have a handle on how big the scope was yet, because it wasn’t fully known at the time how much had been burned and the magnitude of the loss. I anticipated that it would be a large area with significant traumatic effects. I knew I was going to be busy and ESF3 was going to be called upon to deliver critical mission support. Dutra: I would have to say my preconception before I even came was based on experience I had when I was in the Sacramento District dealing with the tail end of wildfire debris missions there. So, I kind of came with the assumption that there was going to be a debris mission and it was going to last a long time. As far as how large and how impactful it was, it didn’t occur to me until probably day three when I felt like I was getting into the rhythm. I watched the news and started seeing what they were showing and correlated it to the meetings we were going to and the things that we were talking about, like how big it was and what we were going to potentially be asked to do. So, it took a while, and I don’t know, without actually being in Maui, if I could ever understand the full scope of the impacts to the people who live there.

As the month progressed, what have been some of the most challenging and most rewarding moments of the response for each of you? Pummell: This is a very meaningful experience to be able to contribute to where I live. Dutra: I think the biggest challenge in general, and not just for this event, but for all events for ESF are learning personalities and working with various types of people. And for me, remembering who everyone is. You run into so many people in such a short amount of time, and you have to learn how to work with them and their personality differences. Just being here in Hawai’i is totally different for me as it is for many of the people who deploy to support the mission. I think the biggest reward is being able to hand over, to those who are replacing us, missions that are well on their way to being accomplished. With the rotational nature of the deployment cycle, how do you ensure proper turnover and that you are able to meet staffing needs? Pummell: We make sure there’s overlap with the people we are transitioning with, and we also prepare numerous documents to let them continue with the baton and run with it. So, that includes having them involved in meetings and on email traffic well before they arrive. We also prepare transition memorandums to help them get a good sense of what’s been taking place, and once they are here, going to meetings

You have to remember that we were all a first deployer once upon a time and to use patience and understanding when somebody asks you a question that you probably heard 20 times already and think they should just know. Because, you don’t know until you’ve been there and you’ve done it, and you’ve been told. So, patience and tolerance are the name of the game. – Tonya Dutra, assistant team leader for the ESF3 Hawai’i wildfires response

together, introducing them to partners, and clearly explaining the challenges that are before them. How far out are the deployments projected? Pummell: The national program will plan at this point for the rest of 2023. What about first-time deployers? Dutra: You have to remember that we were all a first-deployer once upon a time and to use patience and understanding when somebody asks you a question that you probably heard 20 times already and think they should just know. Because, you don’t know until you’ve been there and you’ve done it, and you’ve been told. So, patience and tolerance are the name of the game. What advice would you offer your incoming team leader replacements? Pummell: Listen first and be mindful of the unique cultural considerations here in Hawai’i. Dutra: I have to agree with Justin. The culture in Hawai’i is very important to the people of Hawai’i, and that has a huge impact on how things are done and how we plan for our missions to be accomplished. I think that is something anybody coming in needs to be very cognizant of. Mainlanders may have a tendency to just take things for granted. Everywhere is different. We don’t always think the same or have the same behavior patterns. Doing some research definitely helps and being open to any input you can get from people who call it home. What has it meant personally to be able to lend your efforts to this disaster response? Dutra: I would say I hope everything I have done here leaves a positive impact. Pummell: When I have responded previously for USACE, it’s usually to an area that’s not home. In this case, it is home, so there’s that much more motivation to do everything I can and to assist residents and neighbors. For me, that’s the most important piece of this. AE I 77


Army Engineers Finalizing the U.S. Military’s $10.7 Billion Relocation Effort in South Korea Just a 45-minute drive from Seoul is now the heart of the U.S.-ROK Alliance and the home of more than 45,000 Soldiers, civilians, and family members stationed overseas in Korea. Part of a $10.7 billion transformation and relocation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Far East District (FED), in partnership with the Republic of Korea, took on the massive job that turned rice paddies and open fields into the largest overseas U.S. military installation – U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. 78 I AMERICA’S ENGINEERS


perational and strategic infrastructure requirements, combined with aggressive and innovative land reclamation actions, have dramatically improved the ROK-U.S. ability to ‘Fight Tonight,’” said. Col. Heather Levy, district commander. “The move helped make Korea a station of choice with new barracks, housing, schools, and other quality-of-life facilities.” The largest peacetime relocation in the Department of Defense history is a “significant investment in the long-term presence of U.S. Forces in Korea,” noted Gen. Vincent Brooks on June 29, 2018, during the ribbon cutting ceremony of United Nations Command and United States Forces Korea’s new headquarters facilities. To date, approximately 97% of the Yongsan Relocation Plan (YRP) and 98% of the Land Partnership Plan (LPP) are complete. “As the programs near completion, it truly marks a new era of unwavering USROK alliance,” Levy said.


Opposite page: Elements of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys complex seen from the air. USAG Humphreys is now the largest overseas U.S. military installation, with more than 40,000 Soldiers, civilians, and family members stationed there. USAG HUMPHREYS PHOTO BY PATRICK BRAY

Right: Brig. Gen. Kirk E. Gibbs, USACE Pacific Ocean Division Command General, and Jamie Hagio, USACE Far East District Construction Division chief, discuss FED projects for the Yongsan Relocation Program while overlooking USAG Humphreys, South Korea, Mar. 20, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY RACHEL NAPOLITAN

To turn rice paddies into an installation the size of Washington, D.C., contractors used more than 18 million cubic meters of engineered fill to create the foundation of the garrison. They also installed new underground infrastructures, roads, waterlines, gas, sewer systems, power and treatment plants, and substations that each comprised of more than 40 miles. Over 1,000 miles of cable and 2.7 million cubic meters of concrete were used to build facilities across the installation. “The relocation of U.S. forces from Yongsan Garrison to Camp Humphreys is the fulfillment of a decades-long promise by the Korean government,” said Jamie Hagio, FED’s Construction Division chief. “The program provided new and modern facilities. It also improves readiness and survivability for U.S. forces while reducing inconveniences to the Korean community.” The job to relocate the U.S. military from Yongsan Garrison to south of Seoul began in 1987 when officials created a master plan for what is now Camp Humphreys. Agreements signed in 2004 formerly designated the new footprint for the American military in Korea. To make the vision a reality, contractors demolished more than 300 facilities so 641 new ones could take their place, transforming a garrison that was once 1,210 acres into a 3,528-acre installation the size of a medium American town. “FED focused on quality, meeting U.S. requirements, and ensuring professional

standards while working with numerous partners to deliver this massive program,” Levy said. Primarily funded by the Korean government at 55% of the cost, the U.S.-funded military construction projects totaled 45% for YRP infrastructure. To supplement the expense, U.S. Forces Korea funded these projects with funds allocated from the Republic of Korea. The ROK Ministry of National Defense – Defense Installations Agency (MND-DIA), the counterpart to FED, served as the contract executer for many of the projects. USACE then provided oversight of all the projects to ensure they met not only all U.S. life, health and safety requirements, but also provided all the units using the new facilities everything they would need to seamlessly relocate. Hagio served FED as the Humphreys area engineer overseeing high peaks of the construction and later returned to the district as the Construction Division chief. “The Korean government, along with Korean construction industry, took on the

task of the $10.7 billion relocation effort,” he said. “It was a tremendous effort, and I am very proud of everyone’s effort to make YRP a success.” Due to the time constraints, vertical construction occurred in conjunction with or prior to the completion of the infrastructures such as roads and utility lines. “Through all the hardships and difficulties, cooperation and trust were established,” Hagio said. “Years from now, our countries will look back at YRP and remember working together to make it a reality.” To navigate a joint construction effort, representatives from both USACE and MND learned lessons on funding management, program management, and quality assurance and quality control. “I believe that true friendships were made during the YRP process,” Hagio said. “I am most thankful for this. It is my hope that the U.S. and ROK can continue to work together to overcome the challenges that our countries will face in the future.” AE I 79


One of the final three housing towers under construction at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea. The facilities are built in groups of three to include underground parking structures, playgrounds, recreational trails, and outdoor fitness equipment for the families who live in them. USACE PHOTO BY YOHAN AN

Army Engineers Construct Half a Billion Dollars in Family Housing Towers on Camp Humphreys As rice paddies turned into the largest overseas U.S. military installation, housing to support service members and their families popped up along the skyline. Since 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) – Far East District (FED) has been overseeing construction of more than $500 million in projects for family housing at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. 80 I AMERICA’S ENGINEERS


orking on the construction side to deliver family housing to our service members and their families has been a rewarding experience,” said Steve Fowler, contracting officer’s representative at FED. “It was gratifying to see firsthand how an area, which was previously rice fields, transformed into safe, comfortable, and modern U.S.-style apartment housing, complete with extra amenities including underground parking structures, playgrounds, recreational trails, and outdoor fitness equipment.” Part of the $10.4 billion Yongsan Relocation Program (YRP) and Land Partnership Plan (LPP), these projects ensure that service members and their families have the conveniences of home while stationed overseas as the military works to relocate U.S. forces from numerous small Army garrisons to one consolidated location south of the Han River.


Set an Example for Life


p Above: The first three housing towers under

construction in 2010 at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea. Currently, USACE Far East District is scheduled to complete the last of the 12 towers to provide safe and comfortable living spaces for families of service members stationed overseas. USACE PHOTO

Right: Designed for families of service members stationed overseas, the family housing towers on U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys provide all the elements of a traditional American house while in South Korea. USACE Far East District is finishing the last of 12 new towers on the installation as part of the Yongsan Relocation Program. USACE PHOTO BY RACHEL NAPOLITAN

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to provide a little sense of familiarity and home to our service members and their families while being stationed in Korea,” Yun Hak Yi, deputy resident engineer for Family Housing at FED. Yi also served as a project engineer for two of the four projects, watching as the team constructed 12 towers on the installation. This created 858 units for service


members and their families to live in. They range from three to five bedrooms to accommodate various family sizes coming to the installation. So far, more than 8 million hours have been put into the effort to create housing towers at Camp Humphreys. Of all those

hours worked, contractors have not reported a single safety incident. “The perfect safety record on all these projects is a testament to everyone who has worked on these sites,” said Aaron Schuff, FED resident engineer for Army Family Housing.

To prepare the land for half of the towers, nearly 300,000 cubic meters of unsuitable soil were removed from the site, totaling approximately 20,000 dump trucks worth of material. In turn, contractors trucked in another 4-5,000 dump loads of satisfactory soil. However, FED’s involvement did not start with the groundbreaking of the projects, but the district also designed the towers. Members of FED saw the projects through from initiation to the transference of the completed housing to the garrison. Then, they got to watch families move in to brand new facilities that were once just discussions in conference rooms. “It was a great opportunity to work with some amazing project managers and designers to deliver these projects,” said Sunhee Lee, contracting officer’s representative at FED. The new towers not only support families, but the environment too. So

p Aaron Schuff, resident engineer at the USACE Far East District, points to other USACE projects from the bal-

cony of a family housing tower on U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea. Families living in the new facilities will be able to enjoy views of the installation and nearby city from their windows in the new facilities. USACE PHOTO BY RACHEL NAPOLITAN

far, three of the towers achieved LEED Silver Certification through the U.S. Green Building Council by meeting various aspects of including optimized energy performance, enhanced building commissioning, and the use of lowemitting materials. Creating the 12 towers uncovered lessons learned for the everyone involved on the projects. “Turning over projects is challenging because it is exactly then that most of the previously unknown problems begin to appear,” Schuff said. “Unlike assembling a car, or something else with a manufacturing process tested and refined through repetition, construction produces a new product each time.”

At the third set of towers, units below a mechanical room encountered unexpected noise and vibration. The contractor partnered with the district to determine the issue, isolate the equipment, and resolve it. “We incorporated this into the next project’s lessons learned before it was scheduled to install similar features of work to minimize the cost and time impact,” said Myles Esmele III, another contracting officer’s representative at FED. “And […] to prevent families moving into the new towers to have the same issues.” FED plans to finish the remaining three towers by the end of 2023, marking the conclusion of more than 14 years of construction that supports service members and their families overseas. AE I 83


Charleston District Teams up With Other Agencies for Nonstructural Flood Risk Management Project The Gullah/Geechee people are descendants of Africans who have created a unique culture with deep African roots that are clearly visible in their distinctive arts, crafts, food, music, and language, especially in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Their unique location on a sea island has allowed their heritage and community to prosper for centuries. But it’s this same geographic location that is presenting itself to be challenging as they continue to face Mother Nature’s overtures. She continues to knock at their door, testing their continued resiliency.


t. Helena Island is home to the largest Gullah/Geechee community along the southeastern U.S. coast. The increased risk of extreme weather events, storm surges, and sea-level rise continues to threaten their ancestral lands and heritage that have inhabited these islands for generations. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Charleston District has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and several other state and local agencies for a non-structural flood management project known as the Floodplain Management Services and Silver Jackets “Sustainable Coastline Guidebook,” for St. Helena. The project began Oct. 1, 2022, and



initiated when the EPA, USACE, and the Silver Jackets joined forces in developing educational and outreach materials on mitigating the effects of erosion forces to this unique community. Lindsey LaRocque, the project coordinator and Silver Jackets lead for the district, explained the project goal is to create a sustainable coastline guidebook that the community can utilize to create a plan for implementing living shoreline and salt marsh preservation measures along the public and private lands surrounding Saint Helena. Silver Jackets are an interagency team that facilitates collaborative solutions to state flood risk priorities and floodplain management, and an integral part in contributing to the project’s success by in-

p Queen Quet, chieftess of the Gullah/


troducing valuable partners and meaningful information to the St. Helena community. According to Charleston District hydraulic engineer LaRocque, “it made sense for us to become partners, since we had an existing project we wanted to build upon, specifically focusing on nonstructural measures for flood protection.” “The project team really listened and worked closely with the community to produce educational materials that could help promote sustainability and resiliency across St. Helena Island and the Gullah/ Geechee community,” said William Drew Parker, EPA geographer and project member. According to Queen Quet, chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, this guidebook will help their community better understand what can often be seen as complex scientific topics. “Once people understand what is happening, they are more apt to adapt and to act,” she said. “We want to increase the knowledge of community members so that they can make informed decisions about protecting and sustaining our coast and thereby improving coastal health and safety, which includes not only the environment, but also the public health.”

According to Parker, the Gullah/Geechee community has been engaged from the very beginning, guiding the project team to provide meaningful educational and outreach resources that community leaders can use to promote sea level rise and coastal resiliency. “I have truly enjoyed working with this Charleston team, especially Dennis Franklin,” said Quet, referring to the district’s graphic designer.” He did an outstanding job on the placemats and posters. “Lindsey [LaRocque] is also a problem-solver and was consistently responsive, and I truly appreciate her professionalism,” she added. “This project provides the possibility to inspire action toward implementing solutions that benefit both the people and the land they are historically tied to. The community hopes to leverage these resources when applying to future grant opportunities for priority projects that

p Members of the “Sustainable Coastline Guidebook” for St. Helena project team including Lindsey LaRoc-

que, Charleston District project coordinator, attended the Coastal Cultures Conference: Sea Island Cultural Heritage Sustainability, held March 31 – April 2, 2023. The conference was a public event, and interagency team members, comprised of EPA and Beaufort County, were in attendance to disseminate the information (posters, business cards, and placemats with descriptions) that was developed through this project. USACE PHOTO

support a community-wide nature-based resiliently strategy,” said Parker. For the Gullah/Geechee Nation, it’s about survival.

“This project means life to the Gullah/ Geechee Nation. If we can sustain our land and heal our waters, we will be able to sustain our cultural heritage,” said Quet. AE

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New Barricade to Provide Vital Security at Savannah River Site The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Charleston District is constructing a new entrance barricade at the Savannah River Site (SRS) near Aiken, South Carolina.


he $3.2 million project will replace a more than 20-year-old barricade at the site, which was originally intended to be temporary. It is now the third most utilized entrance to the site. The new permanent barrier will consist of a ballistic-rated guard house, restrooms, inspection canopies, guard booth, and expanded driving lanes with traffic control devices. The project is scheduled to complete by the end of the year. “We’re constructing a permanent facility that expands their capabilities by providing more space, increased traffic throughput, and more inspection stations,” said Robert Sorenson, Charleston District International and Interagency Support (IIS) project manager. “All of this greatly improves the security of SRS and the officers manning the site.” The SRS is an approximately 310-squaremile site managed by the Department of Energy (DOE) that is spread across Aiken, Barnwell, and Allendale counties. Established in 1950 by the Atomic Energy Commission, initial construction at SRS began in the early 1950s to support the production of tritium and plutonium for the nation’s defense program, and became a nuclear stockpile facility. Nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, atomic materials stewardship, and environmental stewardship are currently supported at the site. Focus on these areas has led to continuing missions



in tritium reprocessing, defense waste processing, environmental remediation, and waste cleanup efforts. The Charleston District supports the SRS through an interagency agreement dating back to 1985. The district’s primary responsibilities are project management and design/ construction services. One of the areas the district supports at the site is enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear energy and the non-proliferation of nuclear materials. “The Savannah River Site is unique. Due to their mission, very tight security must be maintained. It is necessary to upgrade these

facilities due to the sensitive nature of what is done there,” Sorenson said. Following a conceptual study, several options were presented for the new barricade. SRS selected the current concept, and the district solicited and awarded a design-build contract. Completion of the design will happen in the coming months, after which demolition of the temporary barricade and construction of the new one will immediately begin. A strong partnership with DOE is vital to a project like this. “We worked closely together to understand their needs, and they were involved on a weekly basis in our planning,” said Sorenson. To construct such an important asset meant understanding their needs completely. Through strong communication with DOE, the Charleston District was able to design a facility that would significantly enhance the security of the site. “It’s a critical project for Charleston District,” Sorenson said. “It is a small project that’s critical to the mission of SRS, it’s important to show we can deliver on the small projects with the same level of quality as we do on the large project.” The new barricade will provide the enhanced security needed at the site, something the Charleston District is proud to do. AE The primary entrance barricade at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina. In another part of the facility, USACE’s Charleston District will replace a more than 20-year-old barricade with a new state-of-the-art entrance. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, SAVANNAH RIVER SITE PHOTO

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Engineers love data, but when it comes to the technological revolution of drone usage, information overload can be overwhelming. “There’s a flood of information out there,” says Dennis Kemmesat, founder and CEO of Frontier Precision. “At first everyone wanted to get a drone to see what it can do. But you need to be sure you’re getting the right one for your needs. You can find all kinds of data about the various types of drones and instrumentation, but what customers really need is the answer to the question, ‘What can it do for me?’” Frontier Precision Unmanned specializes in answering that question to its customers all across the country. Businesses are seeing a return on their investment in drones as they’re being used for data collection, asset inspection, and much more. “We’ve moved far beyond the idea that drones are novelties used by hobbyists,” says Kemmesat. “Their applications across a wide range of industries are almost limitless. We’ve worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on multiple projects using drones.” One recent project was a study of the Cherry Creek Dam near Denver, Colorado. Data for the study was collected with an M600 UAS platform and a Yellowscan VX20 LiDAR sensor flying 200 feet high at about 8.5 miles per hour. USACE had original spillway construction information and this data was used to calculate volumes of the amount of material needing to be dredged. Kemmesat has seen huge changes in the industry since founding Frontier Precision in 1988. “We founded the company to serve the geospatial industry with a focus on surveying, civil engineering and construction. With 35 years of experience, we have an in-depth understanding of the industry and have stayed at the forefront of new technologies. One of the game-changers that we’re seeing now is the advances in the capabilities of sensors. We can put sensors on a drone that gather data more

efficiently and economically than anything on the ground.” Kemmesat notes that not everyone is ready to make a big commitment to drone technology. “We’re long-term partners with our customers. If a customer wants the benefits of a drone but isn’t ready to purchase, we can help them with first steps by providing drone services directly or through a subcontractor. We work with them every step of the way so they can advance up the technology ladder with confidence that they’re getting a good value and making smart choices.” But with all the choices out there today, how do you sort through it all? “We start with the customer’s end goal,” says Kemmesat. “We gain an in-depth understanding of what kinds of data will be gathered, what it will be used for, and what conditions the drone will be working in. Then we pair that with the technology. We’re experts in every aspect of the industry, so we know what works best for different applications. We offer the latest in UAV products and software from Watts Innovations, Inspired Flight, DJI, and Freefly, so we can get the right match for each customer and each project.” Frontier Precision’s service to its customers doesn’t end with the sale. With nine regional Trimble Certified Service Centers and Trimble and Nikon-certified technicians, your equipment service is

in good hands. With the latest calibration and alignment tools, Frontier Precision keeps your equipment working to factory specifications. As far as the technology has come to date, there’s much more to look forward to. “The evolution of the industry makes me excited to go to work every day,” says Kemmesat. “We’re always adding new products and seeing new innovations. There’s a lot more to come, and Frontier Precision Unmanned will be right where we’ve been for 35 years – at the forefront of the latest developments in geospatial measurement technologies.” Frontier Precision Unmanned is an employee-owned company with over 35 years of experience serving survey, mapping, engineering, construction, GIS, drones/UAS/ unmanned, forensics, law enforcement, forestry, water resources, mosquito & vector control, and natural resources professionals throughout the United States.

The appearance of or reference to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government does not imply or indicate endorsement by any of these entities. I 89

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Environmental Remediation

Environmental Remediation USACE Expertise in High Demand


ost mainlanders under a certain age have forgotten where the first enemy aerial attack on the continental United States occurred – but the experts cleaning up the site, in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Alaska District, can’t help but remember. On Unalaska Island, more than 1,110 miles from Anchorage, Fort Learnard was BY CRAIG COLLINS


built during World War II on a promontory overlooking the only deepwater port in the Aleutian Island chain. Fort Learnard was equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns to protect Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base, which was bombed by Japanese aircraft on June 3 and 4, 1942. When the fort was decommissioned after the war, departing Soldiers exploded unused munitions and buried tanks of unused diesel fuel. USACE’s environmental

cleanup experts, and the contractors with whom they’ve partnered to return the site to pristine condition, have been working to restore Fort Learnard and other Unalaska Island sites for decades. Nearly 70 years after the war, in the summer of 2023, the cleanup of Fort Learnard began with field crews locating and removing fragments of artillery shells and other ordnance. Plans call for this investigation work to continue in 2024.

When the fort was decommissioned after the war, departing Soldiers exploded unused munitions and buried tanks of unused diesel fuel. USACE’s environmental cleanup experts, and the contractors with whom they’ve partnered to return the site to pristine condition, have been working to restore Fort Learnard and other Unalaska Island sites for decades.

Opposite page: The Fort Learnard Formerly Used Defense Site features a dilapidated observation post that overlooks Unalaska Bay in the Aleutian Islands. The strategic viewpoint served as a component of the U.S. military’s coastal defense system during World War II in Alaska. USACE PHOTO BY FORREST KRANDA

Right: After removing a storage tank during environmental cleanup activities, a field crew collects soil samples in the summer of 2023 at the Amaknak Formerly Used Defense Site in Unalaska Valley, Alaska. Once the team confirmed that the soil tested within compliance standards, the area was backfilled and restored. USACE PHOTO BY RENA FLINT

Meanwhile, at Fort Mears in the nearby Unalaska Valley, additional teams removed and tested soil from areas close to where storage tanks were extracted during the 1990s and 2000s. When the soil samples were determined to be clean, each location was backfilled and restored. A component of the Amaknak Formerly Used Defense Site, this abandoned Army outpost hosts building sites from the World War II era. To the greater American public, the highest-profile environmental restoration projects performed by USACE are often the ambitious, large-scale ecosystem restorations executed by the agency’s Civil Works Program, in areas as diverse as the Florida Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, and the Louisiana coast. But the expertise necessary to clean up and restore sites that were hurriedly stood up in a time of war – and often hurriedly decommissioned afterward – emerged within USACE’s military programs. Every one of the more than 38,000 citizens and Soldiers who serve USACE, and everyone who partners or contracts with the agency, plays a role in supporting its environmental mission. More than 10% of the USACE workforce specializes in an environmental discipline, and these experts help to provide sustainable solutions for the planet and communities across the globe.

For decades now, USACE professionals have internalized the knowledge that every project and business line has an impact on the environment, the economy, and the health and well-being of the communities it serves. Since 2002, that knowledge has been codified in a set of Environmental Operating Principles that have guided USACE’s sustainable use, stewardship, and restoration of the nation’s natural resources. These principles are not just words; they have altered the very structure of the agency, guiding the

assembly of Communities of Practice around specific issues. They apply to the human environment, as well, and to all aspects of USACE’s business and operations, across Military Programs, Civil Works, and Research and Development. They require recognition and acceptance on the part of everyone in USACE, from its newest team members to senior leaders. A key USACE leader is Lara Beasley, the Environmental Division chief, who oversees the execution of more than I 91

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Environmental Remediation

$2 billion worth of environmental compliance and cleanup work annually. The experts within the Environmental Division manage, design, and carry out a full range of cleanup, munitions response, and protection activities at sites around the country and abroad, through two turnkey programs: the Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) program, which includes the Fort Learnard cleanup effort, and the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). As a guest on USACE’s Inside the Castle podcast on Aug. 31, 2023, Beasley, who also leads USACE’s Environmental Community of Practice consisting of more than 4,000 environmental professionals, explained that demand for USACE’s environmental expertise is growing rapidly. In FY 2022, the program was funded at more than $2 billion – a substantial increase from just a few years earlier. “Our workload is getting bigger and bigger,” said Beasley, “and it’s not just inflation. We are the primary provider of really tough solutions to environmental challenges for the federal government. And that’s why we’ve grown so much from 2018 to this year.” Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) On behalf of the Army, USACE has been responsible for cleaning up former Department of Defense (DOD) installations since 1986, with the primary goal of reducing risks to human health and the environment from contamination that can include hazardous, toxic, or radioactive waste, and may also include military munitions. Since the program’s establishment, USACE experts have evaluated more than 10,000 former DOD properties; determined that 7,000 were eligible for the program; and identified concerns requiring cleanup at more than 5,400 of those sites. According to DOD Environmental Branch Chief Chris Evans – another guest on the Aug. 31 Inside the Castle podcast – such a huge number of projects requires


p A contractor performing work for the United States Army Corps of Engineers under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) uses a GPS device to mark verification sample locations in a remediated strip of Pershall Road in Hazelwood, Missouri to verify remediation was completed successfully. The FUSRAP team’s ability to initiate remediation activities on Pershall Road was enabled by an ongoing partnership with the Missouri Department of Transportation, which notifies the team of roadwork that makes previously inaccessible soils available for sampling, testing and remediation. USACE PHOTO BY JOHN PAUL REBELLO

a diversified approach. “These sites are all very unique,” he said. “They can range from just a few acres to thousands of acres. The total inventory across the country totals millions of acres. We’re in every U.S. state and territory. The properties being used today can vary a lot. They can be part of federal or state managed parks, or wildlife refuges, agricultural lands, or tribal lands. They could be commercial or industrial properties and even private residences.” FUDS is a major piece of a larger defense program that, when created, assigned USACE responsibility for the

cleanup of materials that would include unexploded ordnance. Up to that point, DOD had never promulgated an order specifically directing USACE to undertake munitions work, but in 2001, the department established a separate program element, the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP), to provide specific guidance for USACE. Munitions response is now one of the major activities of the FUDS program. In the Caribbean Sea, about halfway between the main island of Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands, Culebra Island anchors an archipelago renowned

“Our workload is getting bigger and bigger, and it’s not just inflation. We are the primary provider of really tough solutions to environmental challenges for the federal government. And that’s why we’ve grown so much from 2018 to this year.” - Lara Beasley, USACE

for its white sand beaches. The U.S. military began using the islands in 1901, and during World War II made them into a gunnery and bombing practice site for the Navy. Part of the current FUDS inventory, Culebra Island is being studied and restored by munitions experts within USACE’s Jacksonville District. “We are the recognized leader in performing the investigation and cleanup of military munitions,” said Evans, “which include unexploded ordnance, discarded military munitions, and even chemical warfare material.” To do that work, USACE brings together experts in multiple disciplines. About 60 ordnance and explosive safety specialists work directly for USACE, all former service members with specialized training and experience. “Their primary job at our sites,” Evans said, “is to ensure the actions we’re taking and the decisions we’re making when investigating and removing military munitions from these sites is being done safely – not just for our workers and our contractors, but also for the all the people who work or play in these affected communities.” Geophysicists are another essential group of professionals involved in munitions work, Evans said. One of the biggest challenges of the FUDS program is that much of the unexploded ordnance is buried underground. “Our geophysicists ensure that we have the best available technology at the site to detect and identify those items in the subsurface,” said Evans. These professionals are aided by technological advances, including advanced sensors that can reliably distinguish between a buried bomb or shell and a non-hazardous metallic object such as a horseshoe or barbed wire. The FUDS program’s greatest successes go beyond the considerable expertise and innovative technological solutions it has brought to difficult environmental problems: USACE leaders such as Beasley and Evans also work diligently to break down bureaucratic and cultural barriers

p Contractors performing work for the United States Army Corps of Engineers under FUSRAP classify samples acquired from excavation on Pershall Road in Hazelwood, Missouri, using state-of-the-art radiation detection instruments as part of a survey to verify that remediation at the site was successfully completed. USACE PHOTO BY JOHN PAUL REBELLO

that may stand in the way of everyone’s common goal: getting land cleaned up and restored to a state that is safe and usable for stakeholders and communities. The FUDS program is about 70% complete today, which means about 1,600 sites remain to be cleaned up and restored. This work, like the work performed for FUSRAP, is done meticulously and deliberately under a process whose terms are dictated by the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). “Most of the work that we’re focusing on today is to clean up military munitions,” Evans said, “and to address the longer-term challenges we face with contaminated groundwater.” Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) FUSRAP was established in 1974 to identify, investigate and, if necessary, clean

up or control radiological contamination resulting from work performed as part of the nation’s early atomic energy program, at former Manhattan Project and Atomic Energy Commission sites. Each of these agencies was a predecessor to today’s Department of Energy (DOE), whose Office of Legacy Management has been working with USACE on the program for more than two decades. In 1997, USACE assumed cleanup responsibility for FUSRAP, and since then, 10 sites have been closed out and transferred to DOE for long-term stewardship. Today, remedial action is either planned, underway, or closing out at 21 active sites. These sites do not pose an immediate threat to human health or the environment. One project currently underway is the St. Louis Airport Site Vicinity Properties (SLAPS VPs). From 1942 to 1973, uranium processing for the government’s early I 93

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Environmental Remediation

Contractors performing work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under FUSRAP analyze soil samples from various locations and depths from Coldwater Creek in Florissant, Missouri, using sensitive radiation detectors like the 44-9 Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Detector and the 44-10 Gamma Detector to determine potential contamination, Aug. 15, 2023. USACE PHOTO

atomic weapons program was conducted at facilities about 15 miles from downtown St. Louis, just north of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport. From 1997 to 2006, USACE removed 600,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and material from the site, as well as from a site in north St. Louis County. Today’s more stringent cleanup standards require a second look at these sites, and the FUSRAP team’s revisitation is underway now with sampling activities being conducted on soil at SLAPS and the north St. Louis County site. One common sampling method is the “gamma walkover,” in which gamma ray sensors, coupled with GPS data, record detectable radiation levels and locations. The FUSRAP program, like FUDS, benefits from technological breakthroughs. In USACE’s Buffalo District, which contains some of the earliest Manhattan Project sites, the FUSRAP team has developed a three-dimensional imaging tool that will help them visualize patterns of gamma reading intensity over a survey area. Many of the Buffalo District’s investigations had been completed by the time it stood up its FUSRAP program in 1997 – but a few remain. As of the summer of 2023, investigation and remediation continue at a site in Luckey, Ohio, which was initially used for magnesium processing, and where the Atomic Energy Commission stood up a beryllium production facility in 1949. The team has so far safely excavated more than 150,00 cubic yards of contaminated soil. In an overview of the program for the Inside the Castle podcast, Environmental Support Branch Chief John Busse pointed


out that USACE’s work isn’t limited to former atomic weapons laboratories or production facilities. “One of the programs we’re responsible for is the U.S. Army Deactivated Nuclear Power Plant Program,” he said. The Army operated

three mobile nuclear reactors – one of which was aboard a surface ship – from 1956 to 1976, to evaluate the feasibility of meeting the military’s power needs on land. The reactors were deactivated in the 1970s and placed in storage while

“Our teams work very, very hard, particularly where we are actively cleaning up a site, to engage our communities in our decision-making process, and to answer their questions – What has happened on these sites? What are we doing about it? – and get their input on those decisions that we’re making. …” - Lara Beasley, USACE

awaiting further decommissioning, and for much of that time have been monitored, safeguarded, and maintained by USACE experts. Decommissioning efforts at these plants are now nearly complete. The MH-1A Sturgis barge, the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, was decommissioned in 2019. Decommissioning activities on the remaining two reactors, SM-1 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and SM-1A at Fort Greely, Alaska, are ongoing. Like the FUDS program, work on the FUSRAP and Army Deactivated Nuclear Power Plant Program requires highly technical occupational skills and specialties. “We have a significant cadre of experience across the Corps of Engineers,” said Busse. “Nearly half these people are board-certified health physicists, and we’re in the process of hiring more.” The Buffalo District, because of its early start, employs the most health physicists in the Corps of Engineers, but much of the reactor decommissioning work has been overseen or performed by USACE’s Baltimore District, whose health physicists provide radiation safety and technical support through the North Atlantic Division’s Radiological Health Physics Regional Center of Expertise. “We also have a Radiation Safety Program Office,” Busse said, “that oversees our labs in districts that perform instrumentation of radioactive sources that require a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.” A Provider of Choice A host of other specialists – toxicologists, environmental engineers, chemists, biologists, archaeologists, geologists, cartographers, geographers, hydrologists, and more – apply critical skills and insights to the work of FUDS and FUSRAP. But because this combination of skills and experience is so unique and accomplished, it has been applied to other customers, in other situations, beyond these flagship programs. The services of USACE’s military munitions

p Contractors performing work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under FUSRAP analyze soil samples from various locations and depths from Coldwater Creek in Florissant, Missouri, using sensitive radiation detectors to determine potential contamination. USACE PHOTO

cleanup experts, for example, are in high demand at active Army, Air Force, and National Guard installations. USACE environmental experts also provide cleanup and response capabilities in support of the DOD’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program, and of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Superfund program. “More than 75% of our work is the environmental cleanup of hazardous toxic or radioactive waste,” said Beasley. “Twenty-five percent is what we call environmental quality work, under the National Environmental Policy Act – studies, cultural resources, historical preservation.” USACE provides a variety of environmental services and technical products for DOD and non-DOD federal agencies, such as the EPA and the departments of Agriculture and Interior. Because public health and safety are the top priorities of USACE’s environmental programs, Beasley emphasized the

importance of public involvement and coordination at every FUDS and FUSRAP project site. Public input is ensured by CERCLA, but USACE reaches beyond mere legal requirements, working closely with property owners and community members to choose the best alternative for a response action. “Our teams work very, very hard, particularly where we are actively cleaning up a site, to engage our communities in our decision-making process,” Beasley said, “and to answer their questions – What has happened on these sites? What are we doing about it? – and get their input on those decisions that we’re making. Because in many cases, they’re going to be able to tell us: What this site is going to be used for in the future, how we can best enable those activities, how we can clean this up in a timely manner, and where we want to start. Those are all really important parts of every single cleanup project, especially under our flagship programs.” AE I 95

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Above: Researchers at GTI Energy deliver infrastructure, vehicle, engine, and fuel dispensing solutions for clean mobility. Above left: GTI Energy’s hydrogen generator technology with integrated carbon capture. Left: GTI Energy’s hydrogen blending and distribution.

The aim is to demonstrate a viable framework for designing and deploying integrated hydrogen systems that can be replicated globally to ensure resiliency and continuity of essential infrastructure. The program will leverage GTI Energy’s expansive experience and in-depth knowledge of hydrogen technologies such as fuel cells for both primary and back-up heat and power, as well as mobile applications including vehicles and forklifts, to evaluate their impact in reducing emissions. As the HERO program expands, the innovative integration of hydrogen will help prolong energy sources, lower costs, and help the Army maintain sustainable energy consumption for decades to come. provide secure and reliable access to energy while advancing decarbonization goals.

in phases, allowing for significant research and testing, along with establishing the foundation for safe operations, to ensure a high-quality integrated solution. The first phase of HERO is dedicated to testing and evaluating equipment performance, generating a digital twin, and creating safety protocols over a two-year period. Technologies for producing, storing, distributing, and utilizing hydrogen will be validated at GTI Energy’s facilities in Des Plaines, Illinois, to enable turn-key integration. An engineering design incorporating the digital twin will be created for an Army pilot facility installation. Researchers will develop a virtual reality (VR) training tool to provide personnel with the opportunity to gain expertise in the safe operation of hydrogen technologies prior to deployment on site. Driven by the results, GTI Energy will prioritize hydrogen technologies that can be optimized and deployed based on mission needs. The integrated system will include various components for clean hydrogen generation, distribution for onsite hydrogen movement, resilient heat and power equipment, and technologies to support on-road/off-road vehicles and fueling facilities.

The Future of Energy Resiliency Future phases of HERO will build on the results from the initial installation to expand hydrogen technologies solutions across a wider range of DoD facilities. The success of hydrogen integration in military operations can help to position the Army as a leading example for the rest of the world as we transition to a low-carbon and resilient future.

Multi-Phased Approach The HERO program will be executed I 97


A debris boom was installed across the Isabella Dam service spillway entrance at Isabella Lake, California, May 27, 2023. This was done to protect downstream areas from debris and to keep lake participants from being caught in the spillway flow. USACE PHOTO


USACE Lowers Isabella Dam Risk Rating, Lifts Operating Restrictions After Unveiling Dam Improvements The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sacramento District held a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 4, 2023 at Isabella Dam in Lake Isabella, California, to mark the end of Phase 2 construction on the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project. 98 I AMERICA’S ENGINEERS

he purpose of the project is to reduce flood risk for the southern Central Valley, including Bakersfield, and to provide water storage for downstream water users. “The amount of technical expertise on display behind me is matched only by the incredible and collaborative relationships between our partners,” said Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general, as he stood in front of the new 28-foothigh labyrinth weir at Isabella Dam. “I want to extend a very special thanks to the community who came together to help make today a reality.” Isabella Dam consists of a main and auxiliary dam located just north of Lake Isabella, California. In 2006, a USACE study found the dam vulnerable to three potential failure modes: overtopping, seepage, and seismic damage. The Isabella Dam improvements, begun in late 2017, were designed to address each of these failure modes. Over the next five years, the USACE Sacramento District raised both the main and auxiliary dams by 16 feet, excavated a new emergency spillway, improved the dam’s filtering and drainage systems, and installed the labyrinth weir. These safety improvements were substantially completed in November 2022. Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy (CA-20); Brig. Gen. Antoinette Gant, commanding general of the USACE South Pacific Division; and Col. Chad Caldwell, commander of the USACE Sacramento District, also spoke at the ceremony. The speakers lauded the partnership between federal, state, and local agencies to move the project forward.


p Above: The labyrinth weir at Isabella Dam in

Lake Isabella, California, June 28, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY JEREMY CROFT

Left: Col. Chad Caldwell, left, commander of the Sacramento District, and Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general, provide a sense of scale as they pose for a photo in front of the 28-ft. high walls of the labyrinth weir at Isabella Dam in Lake Isabella, California. USACE PHOTO BY LUKE BURNS

The Sacramento District has coordinated closely with Kern River Water Master Mark Mulkay, who also spoke at the ceremony, and downstream water users to determine how best to balance flood risk reduction with irrigation needs. “Substantial completion of the dam safety features could not have come at a more opportune time,” said Caldwell at the ceremony. “Just last week we approved a deviation plan that allows the lake to fill to its originally authorized gross pool – 568,000 acre-feet – this year.” In July, USACE updated the dam’s risk level from “highest urgency and risk” to “low urgency” following the completion of dam safety improvements. This means that Isabella Dam operators can once again allow the lake to reach full capacity.

Dam Safety Action Classification (DSAC) ratings identify the risk each dam in the USACE inventory poses. When the risk rating system was initially developed in 2005, Isabella Dam received the highest risk rating: DSAC 1. With the completion of Phase 2, the dam’s risk rating is now a DSAC 4, signifying a low risk. In summer 2023, Isabella Lake reached about 98% of its 568,100 acrefeet capacity, also known as gross pool. That number made the lake about 50% fuller than it’s been allowed since 2006 when USACE implemented an operating restriction of 361,000 acre-feet. “This is the culmination of more than 15 years of effort to reduce the risk to downstream communities against catastrophic flooding from a potential dam breach and return the project to normal operation,”

said Mike Ruthford, lead engineer for the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project. “This is incredibly exciting for this team and this district.” In the coming months, the district will continue monitoring the dam’s performance to validate the accomplishments of the previous five years of construction. “We’ve achieved our project safety goal,” said Ruthford. “With this year’s snowmelt, we are able to see how the dam performs in the first year after the new improvements were finished.” The Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project is a multi-phase project centered on the dam safety modifications completed in Phase 2. Follow-on construction in Phase 3 will include building a new U.S. Forest Service visitor center at Lake Isabella and a permanent operations building for the USACE staff that oversee the daily operations of Isabella Dam. This phase is scheduled to be complete in 2025. Completed in 1953, Isabella Dam is located approximately 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield. The reservoir is impounded by two earthen dams on the Kern River and Hot Springs Valley. Today, Isabella Lake and its dams reduce flood risk for Bakersfield and the surrounding region and is a primary water source for water users throughout Kern County. The Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project addresses overtopping, seismic, and seepage issues identified with Isabella Lake’s main and auxiliary dams to reduce the likelihood of dam failure. Construction of the dam modifications began in 2017 with the relocation of facilities within the project footprint, and the project achieved substantial completion in 2022. AE To view the project documents or for more information on the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project and the USFS visitor center relocation, visit www.spk.usace. I 99


High water remains in the basin Aug. 21 at Whittier Narrows Dam in Pico Rivera, California, the day after Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall. Although the primary purpose of this and other USACE dams is flood-risk management, about 75% of stormwater runoff — an estimated 7,000 acre-feet, valued at $7 million — passed through Whittier Narrows Dam and was captured downstream for groundwater recharge by Los Angeles County Public Works. PHOTO BY STEPHEN BAACK

well as capture additional water from the storm.

LA District Preps for Hurricane Hilary, Keeps Public Safe, Captures Water from Storm In the week leading up to Hurricane Hilary – the first tropical storm to make landfall in Southern California in more than 80 years – the wheels were already in motion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Los Angeles District.


ropical Storm Hilary made landfall Aug. 20, bringing heavy rain and localized flooding to parts of



Southern California and Nevada. Sporadic showers continued through Aug. 21, with the storm breaking rainfall records. The district was prepared to ensure the safety of its workforce and communities, as

LIFE SAFETY ALWAYS PRIORITY On Aug. 17, District Commander Col. Andrew Baker declared a state of emergency for the district due to the impending storm. Additionally, the district’s Emergency Management Branch activated its Crisis Management Team. With 17 USACE-owned and operated dams across the district, including projects in Southern California, Arizona and portions of Nevada – and with a majority of them in the potential path of the storm – the district’s Water Management Team began running engineering models, based on the forecasted precipitation, to produce inundation maps. “Because all of the district’s reservoirs were dry, the models’ simulations predicted that all reservoirs would be able to contain rainfall from Tropical Storm Hilary,” said Tim Fairbanks, chief of the LA District’s Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch, Engineering Division. “As a precaution, the team ran the models based on two times the forecasted precipitation as a worst-case scenario. Even under these conditions, the model did not result in damages.” Throughout the storm, the Los Angeles District monitored its flood-risk management projects to ensure they continued to operate as designed, as well as coordinated with other agencies and counties to keep communities informed about safety in and around USACE-owned and -operated dams, levees, and basins during the storm event. The district’s Reservoir Operations Center was activated Aug. 20 to keep internal and

external partners aware of precipitation and elevation levels of the district’s dams and reservoirs in the path of the storm – reporting actual precipitation, ranging from inline to less than what was forecasted. “All of the LA District’s flood-risk management systems performed as they were designed, with no significant issues,” Fairbanks said. HOMELESS EVACUATIONS FROM SANTA FE DAM Additionally, the district’s Operations Division activated its Joint Protocol for unsheltered communities, collaborating with multiple agencies to evacuate homeless individuals from rivers and basins in and near USACE-owned dams and waterways. “Life safety is always our priority,” said Trevor Snyder, program manager and homeless encampment liaison with the district. “The Los Angeles District activated its joint protocol for unsheltered communities, working with multiple resource providers, to ensure the most vulnerable individuals are provided shelter options during this unprecedented storm.” More than 65 homeless individuals were provided shelter during an Aug. 19 evacuation operation at the Santa Fe Dam, which also included collaboration with the cities of Azusa and Irwindale police departments; LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Homeless Outreach Services Team; and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. COLLABORATING WITH DOD PARTNERS The Los Angeles District also began coordinating with its Department of Defense (DOD) partner agencies prior to the storm, including the Army, Air Force, and Naval Facilities Southwest, to ensure staff members were pre-positioned at military installations to respond to potential storm operations. Support for shoaling, dredging, and marine structures was offered to Navy and Coast Guard partners, although the district did not receive any requests. Navy Facilities Southwest requested follow-on dam safety support,

if needed, to inspect dam structures at its installations. CAPTURING WATER FOR CONSERVATION DURING, AFTER THE STORM Throughout the storm, the district was able to capture about 19,000 acre-feet of storm water – at a total value of about $19 million – for ground water recharge from its dams, in collaboration with its partners, while also providing flood protection for the public. One acre-foot of water is equivalent to 325,851 gallons of water, one-half the size of an Olympic-size swimming pool and can serve two or more Southern California households for a year. All projects in Los Angeles County Drainage Area, including Whittier Narrows, were operated in accordance with the district’s Water Control Manual to include water conservation during the storm. About 75% of stormwater runoff – an estimated 7,000 acre-feet, valued at $7 million – passed through Whittier Narrows Dam and was captured downstream for groundwater recharge by the Los Angeles County Public Works. One hundred percent of water runoff passing through Prado Dam – an estimated 12,000 acre-feet, valued at about $12 million – was captured downstream for groundwater recharge by the Orange County Water District. “The forecasts for the region were extensively used in preparation of Hurricane Hilary’s landfall to help predict the potential impact of the storm on the dams and their downstream channels,” Fairbanks said. “This is in line with the Forecast Informed Reservoir Operation, or FIRO, concept; however, because the reservoirs were near empty, no prestorm releases were required to help manage the event, and the dams were operated per their approved Water Control Manual.” Some dams in the path of Hurricane Hilary, such as Sepulveda Dam, do not have recharge facilities downstream to take advantage of this opportunity. YEAR-ROUND PREP FOR STORMS Although Hurricane Hilary’s landfall in Southern California was a rare event, the

Los Angeles District prepares for storm events year-round through tabletop and joint exercises with its partner organizations and communities. The district’s Emergency Management (EM) Branch is funded to conduct two Flood Control and Coastal Erosion exercises per year. In fiscal year 2023, the EM Branch conducted an exercise focused on the Los Angeles River – with particular emphasis on the relationship between the Los Angeles County dams that are upstream of the USACE dams on the Los Angeles River – and an exercise with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, focused on supporting small towns, with Duncan, Arizona, used as the case study. This year, the EM Branch plans to conduct an exercise with the state of Nevada, focusing on the relationship between the non-federal flood-control structures that are near the district’s Pine and Mathew dams. Emergency management specialists also participate in non-federal partnership and Silver Jackets’ exercises – most recently the Santiago Creek Dam workshop and exercise in August in Irvine, California. The district’s Dam Safety Team conducted two tabletop exercises in fiscal year 2023 – Prado and Whittier Narrows dams. The team is scheduled to conduct seminars for Carbon Canyon, Fullerton, and Santa Fe dams in September, incorporating the San Gabriel Levee 3 and 7 into the Santa Fe Seminar. AFTER-ACTION REVIEW District leaders involved in the Tropical Storm Hilary response conducted an after-action review Aug. 28 at the district headquarters building in downtown Los Angeles to identify what the team did well and what could be improved in preparation for future storm events. “Everything went as well as it possibly could have,” said Baker, who took command of the district in July. “Everything performed exactly like it was supposed to, and there were no casualties. I was so impressed with what the district did and how we came together; the teamwork between all of the different divisions [within the district] was amazing, along with the initiative that our employees showed in this crisis.” AE I 101


Multiple Agencies Collaborate to Provide Homeless Individuals Shelter Before Tropical Storm About 65 homeless individuals living in unauthorized areas near the Santa Fe Dam received shelter prior to Hurricane Hilary’s landfall in Southern California, thanks to the efforts of multiple local, county, and federal agencies.


bout 35 law enforcement officers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST), Azusa and Irwindale police departments, along with representatives from the U.S. Army



Corps of Engineers (USACE) Los Angeles District’s Operations Division and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority were out in full force Aug. 19 to evacuate homeless individuals living in the riverbeds near the dam. The teams began their main sweep of the area in the morning and throughout the day,

urging homeless individuals to seek shelter prior to the impending storm. “Life safety is always our priority,” said Trevor Snyder, program manager and homeless encampment liaison with USACE’s LA District. “The Los Angeles District activated its joint protocol for unsheltered communities, working with multiple resource providers,

Opposite page: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Park Ranger Nick Figueroa assesses the situation, while two law enforcement officers with the Azusa Police Department escort an unhoused individual and her pet for evacuation out of the riverbed near the Santa Fe Dam to a hotel in Azusa, California. Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Homeless Outreach Services Team, Azusa and Irwindale police departments; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District’s Operations Division; and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority collaborated on efforts to evacuate homeless individuals near the dam to safety prior to the impending Hurricane Hilary. USACE PHOTO BY DENA O’DELL Right: Officers with the Azusa Police Department, along with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Park Ranger Nick Figueroa, look for homeless individuals living in the riverbeds near Santa Fe Dam Aug. 19 in Azusa, California. Multiple law enforcement agencies collaborated on efforts to evacuate homeless individuals near the dam to safety prior to the impending Hurricane Hilary. USACE PHOTO BY DENA O’DELL

to ensure the most vulnerable individuals are provided shelter options during this unprecedented storm.” The land is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Individuals living in USACE-owned lands, rivers, and basins can be cited for illegal camping and federal trespassing; however, the goal of all agencies involved over the weekend was to get those in need evacuated and into safe locations. “We [were] in a once-in-a-lifetime storm, at least in my lifetime, coming through California,” said Azusa City Mayor Robert Gonzales. “As it gets to be a tropical storm, it’s still significant and could have significant impacts to the region. I’d rather be prepared for the worst and expect the best.” The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s HOST, deployed to the area Aug. 17 and began aerial notifications to unhoused individuals in the area, urging them to seek shelter. The HOST team remained in the area through Aug. 21. In addition to aerial notifications on a PA speaker from the agency’s helicopter, Sgt. Matthew Coppes, lead operations sergeant

for the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s effort, said the team was using all of its department’s resources – from the aerial bureau to its mental evaluation team, mounted horse patrol, and off-road all-terrain vehicles to ensure they are able to locate every person living in the riverbed, educate them on the dangers from the storm, and assist them with interim housing. “Right now, we have about 20 personnel that we have broken up into separate teams that cover from the Santa Fe Dam, the spillways – all of the way down through the San Gabriel River, Rio Hondo, Coyote Creek, and into the LA River,” he said. As of Aug. 19, Coppes said his team – in coordination with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority – had contacted about 50 to 60 unhoused individuals, who agreed to accept shelter. “We are a humanitarian effort. This is what we do,” he said. “We go out there with our civilian outreach personnel to make sure

we address everyone that is potentially in a life-threatening area, as far as the impending storm and the high floods. Our effort is to make sure no one dies in the riverbed due to this storm and the rising water levels.” Gonzales said the biggest take-away is being proactive to ensure everyone’s safety. “There are folks in the riverbed, that their safety is compromised, so it’s extremely important that we be proactive to protect human lives,” he said. “You and I see it on television, our phones, and our computers, but these folks, unfortunately, may not have access to that information, so it’s important for us to let them know this is real; this is coming. “You also have to remember in the event of emergencies, we may be stuck and not be able to get to these folks … so it’s better to be proactive and get them out of there for their safety, so that our police officers and first responders can handle other emergencies as they arise.” AE I 103

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations

Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations As weather extremes become the norm, USACE and partners pioneer a new way to manage water resources.


lthough nobody knew it yet in January and February of 2020, the state of California was in the early months of what would become the driest three-year period in the state’s recorded history. But when rain fell in one of the region’s watersheds – BY CRAIG COLLINS


the Russian River basin, which drains 1,485 square miles in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties – water managers at one of the system’s reservoirs, Lake Mendocino, were able to exercise a choice they wouldn’t have had under their existing management plan. The 2019-2020 “water year” – which, in California, begins on Oct. 1 and ends on

Sept. 30 of the following year – was when U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and its partners at Lake Mendocino piloted a new approach, Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO). Traditionally, decisions about whether to hold water behind a dam, or whether to release it downstream, are influenced or determined by conditions on the ground. “Under our normal operating rules, all water within the flood control space would have had to be released,” said Patrick Sing, lead water manager for USACE’s San Francisco District. “But we had a temporary deviation agreement in place that allowed us to implement FIRO, and we had some dry weather forecasts in place at the time, so USACE was able to retain some of that water.” In total, the amount of water held back was 20% more than it would have been under previous guidelines: an additional 11,650 acre-feet, enough to supply up to 24,000 households for a year. According

“One could argue, that if we hadn’t been able to bank that water in early 2020, the lake would have gone completely dry.” - Nick Malasavage, Ph.D., PE, USACE

Opposite page: Lake Sonoma was selected as one of the new pilot programs for Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) because it may validate the benefits of FIRO on a watershed scale. USACE PHOTO

Right: Lake Mendocino, where FIRO was first tested and implemented by the Corps of Engineers. Small and easy to manage and measure, Lake Mendocino was a perfect candidate as a pilot to demonstrate FIRO. USACE PHOTO BY BRANDON BEACH

to the 2020 Census, there were just over 34,000 households in Mendocino County at the time. Household supply is an easy-to-understand measurement, said Nick Malasavage, Ph.D., PE, chief of Operations and Readiness for the San Francisco District – but it doesn’t give a complete picture of the value of the water resource, which provides water for agricultural, ecological, municipal, and industrial uses along a vast stretch of the Russian River. “That water supply burden is carried by Lake Mendocino from Ukiah to Healdsburg,” Malasavage said. “So the water that was saved in 2020 contributed to carrying that burden for multiple communities in at least two counties, not to mention the agricultural draw and the minimum flow requirements for fish species.” The Russian River and its tributaries provide habitat and spawning grounds for steelhead trout (a threatened species, under federal rules) and chinook and coho salmon (both endangered). That water came to feel more precious in the coming months as, according to Malasavage, Lake Mendocino likely equaled or surpassed its lowest level ever recorded, about 12,000 acre-feet, in the summer and fall of 2021. “One could argue,” he said, “that if we hadn’t been able to bank that water in early 2020, the lake would have gone completely dry.” Weather Whiplash The idea for forecast informed reservoir operations isn’t brand new. It’s been years in the making – and during those years, many

Western states have cycled dramatically between extreme floods and drought. In California, rainy seasons are now ruled by atmospheric rivers – literally rivers in the sky, wide bands of moisture, often thousands of miles long, fueled by the evaporation of warm ocean waters and driven by strong winds – that release torrents of rain or snow when they make landfall. According to one of the Corps of Engineers’ partners in developing FIRO, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a strong atmospheric river can move up to 25 times the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Atmospheric rivers are accounting for an increasing percentage of the West Coast’s annual precipitation and streamflow – about half, in California. The intensity of these events, which are often followed by

long dry periods, has made water management difficult to achieve with the old playbook. The good news is that while they’ve introduced unprecedented volatility to California weather, atmospheric rivers are increasingly easy to predict with today’s expertise and technology. The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) at UC-San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography is helping move the leading edge with models and data gathered from satellites, radar, and aircraft that release weather instruments – known as dropsondes – that collect atmospheric data as they parachute down to the ocean surface. Federal water projects serve two primary purposes: to supply water, and to manage flood risk. And the old way I 105

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations

of doing things has, for decades, provided water managers with a reliable guide to balancing those two purposes. It was during the previous three-year record dry period in California, 2012 to 2015, that USACE and several partners, including CW3E and other federal, state, and local agencies, began to envision a way of managing water resources that reflected the new boom-and-bust reality. At Lake Mendocino, a substantial amount of rain had fallen and collected in the months prior to the 2012-2015 interval, and much of that water was released to make room for the next storm. But the next storm was a long time coming. Flood risk was zero – and water supply was far less than it needed to be. They were out of balance. According to Cary Talbot, Ph.D., PE, USACE national lead for the FIRO program, Lake Mendocino provided a near-perfect candidate for piloting this new research and development initiative: It was small, with a flood storage capacity of 22,400 acre-feet. Compared to the state’s largest reservoir, Shasta Lake (more than 4.5 million acrefeet), it would be relatively easy to manage and measure. The lake’s water control manual was also ripe for revision. The dam, built in 1959, was old enough to have been equipped with a nuclear fallout shelter. For decades before the dam’s construction, Talbot said, the reservoir had been fed by water transferred from the adjacent watershed, the Eel River, to generate hydropower. But the project’s output had been decreasing steadily since 2006, for several reasons, and the utility that operated it, Pacific Gas & Electric, was looking to phase it out. “Its future, in terms of the amount of water coming through that transfer, is in great doubt,” said Talbot. “So the water control manual that was written back in 1959 is tailored to a water budget that is now very different from what it was originally.” Talbot is a hydraulic engineer and program manager at the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory at the Engineer Research


p Water is released down the spillway from Coyote Valley Dam at Lake Mendocino near Ukiah, California. USACE PHOTO BY BRANDON BEACH

and Development Center (ERDC), the main USACE R&D center in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Another mark in Lake Mendocino’s favor, he said, was that there was already a great deal of collaboration and communication among project stakeholders. “State, federal, and local agencies were all working together,” he said, on discussions about balancing flood risk and water supply. The National Marine Fisheries Service had already issued a biological opinion on appropriate releases from Lake Mendocino. “It was fertile ground,” said Talbot, “to try something new and different.”

In late 2014, when the mostly dry Mendocino lakebed was littered with fish skeletons and ancient boating and fishing gear, Congress appropriated an extra $2 million dollars for research in the USACE budget, and Phase One of the FIRO experiment – researching whether FIRO could be proven viable and safely implemented for the Lake Mendocino project – was underway. How FIRO Works At Lake Mendocino – and at the handful of California reservoirs where USACE and its partners have now begun to

“FIRO doesn’t move that line. It creates a buffer that, in most cases, allows the Corps to store more water for conservation purposes. But in rare events – say, a huge storm is forecast to be coming in – the local agency can allow the Corps to release water below the conservation line.” - Cuong Ly, USACE

pAbove: USACE FIRO program personnel at Lake Mendocino in 2018. USACE PHOTO BY BRANDON BEACH

Right: New Bullards Bar Reservoir, in the foothills of the Sierras, is the location of one of the new pilot programs underway to further explore FIRO. PHOTO BY JUSTIN SMITH VIA WIKIMEDIA

experiment with forecast-informed deviations from existing water control manuals – the process began by forming a steering committee composed of leaders from relevant stakeholder agencies, who composed a preliminary viability assessment (PVA). At the core of a PVA are answers to a few basic questions: Is it likely that the benefits of FIRO will outweigh any associated costs? What are some scenarios we can test here? The idea behind FIRO is simple. In cross-section, a reservoir is divided into two units or “pools” of water: The flood control pool sits on top of the conservation pool, which is usually a multi-purpose allotment of water for meeting all other demands on the resource. According to Cuong Ly, senior hydrologic and hydraulic water management engineer for USACE’s South Pacific Division, the line between these pools is

fixed at non-FIRO dams, a hard boundary set by the water control manual. “Above that line, the Corps controls the resource; below that line, it’s the water agency’s job,” Ly said. “FIRO doesn’t move that line. It creates a buffer that, in most cases, allows the Corps to store more water for conservation purposes. But in rare events – say, a huge storm is forecast to be coming in – the local agency can allow the Corps to release water below the conservation line.” Knowing with near certainty that a storm is either on the way, or unlikely, allows the agencies to retain or release water accordingly. In December 2020, after USACE and its partners had demonstrated that FIRO could yield clear benefits in the management of Lake Mendocino, they released their final viability assessment (FVA). A culmination of the steering committee’s

six-year effort, the FVA provides strong support for the adoption of FIRO at Lake Mendocino. At the time of this writing, the water control manual for Lake Mendocino is being updated to permanently implement FIRO. I 107

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations

Aerial view of the Prado Dam, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers structure near Corona, California. A new report published by the Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations program, or FIRO, found using advanced weather and streamflow forecasts to enhance water storage capabilities at the dam could conserve enough water to supply an additional 60,000 people per year. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ORANGE COUNTY WATER DISTRICT

it was a dry water year, there wasn’t an opportunity to test it out.”

In practice, the easy-to-explain flexibility offered by FIRO isn’t as easily achieved: Multiple stakeholders have claims to the water in the conservation pool, and every reservoir has a unique set of social, geographic, and hydrologic variables. Even as they were initiating FIRO and documenting success at Lake Mendocino, Talbot, his colleagues at the Corps of Engineers, and their partners working at other USACE-owned dam sites launched Phase Two of their FIRO R&D initiative: the expansion of FIRO to other pilot projects that will allow them to further explore FIRO at a variety of sites and develop a screening process for taking the program nationwide. These new pilot projects were selected, in part, because they presented challenging new variables: In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, steering committees were formed at New Bullards Bar Reservoir and Lake Oroville, northeast


of Sacramento. “We wanted to go to the Sierras,” Talbot said, “where now we have snow as a factor, and two dams operating together, because their outflows come together at Yuba City.” Just outside arid Orange County, FIRO was rolled out at Lake Prado, where the Prado Dam was built in 1939 for flood control. “Lake Mendocino is rural,” said Talbot. “Prado is absolutely urban. You’re right there, upstream from Disneyland and the concrete jungle, and below the San Bernardino Valley and some steep mountains.” One of the new pilots – Lake Sonoma, which supplies the lower Russian River and operates hatchery programs for both steelhead trout and coho salmon – was selected for the obvious reason that it may validate the benefits of FIRO on a watershed scale. “This is the first water year we’ve applied FIRO at Lake Sonoma,” said Sing. “We had a deviation in place last year, but because

The Widening World of Water Issues In addition to these reservoir-specific problems, several emerging concerns are poised to have a significant influence on how USACE-owned dams are operated, especially in the arid West. The Corps of Engineers and other federal partners have begun to reckon with the flood risk associated with wildfire burn scars, for example – and in the summer of 2020, much of Lake Sonoma’s drainage area was consumed by the Walbridge Fire, a lightning-caused fire that burned about 20,000 acres up to and along the lake’s entire southwestern shore. According to Malasavage, the fire evoked a prompt response from county, state, and federal partners. “There were some areas of steep terrain that we were concerned were at elevated landslide risk,” he said. Such risks, of course, would necessarily be factored into water resource decisions – but because 2021-2022 was a drought year, “those consequences never came to fruition, at the cost of having no rain.” Another emerging water resource issue is the depletion of aquifers within watersheds that feed and are supplied by USACE-operated reservoirs. In 2020, USACE’s Institute for Water Resources released a report on Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR), which, the authors wrote, “can augment surface storage and increase resilience of USACE projects and improve our nation’s water security.” At the time, USACE and its partners were using, or

“We haven’t formalized an update of a water control manual yet. At Mendocino and Prado Dam, we’re implementing the deviation process, which is a temporary process, while we update the manual. But we’re already realizing the benefit of FIRO.” - Cuong Ly, USACE

considering the use of, MAR in 17 states. “The authorities for using MAR in USACE projects are modest but increasing.” FIRO and MAR are a natural fit, said Talbot. “We actually just had a workshop, two weeks ago, with a presentation called FIRO-MAR,” he said – and MAR is already a function at Lake Prado, where the USACE Los Angeles District’s policy is not to store water behind the dam for very long. “They, in coordination with the Orange County Water District, say, ‘We’re going to release it at such a rate that every drop can be infiltrated by Orange County into the ground.’ That’s very much a managed aquifer recharge exercise, and FIRO is directly impacting that.” At each of the reservoirs where FIRO has been implemented, it has demonstrated benefits even during this transitional Phase Two, said Ly. “We haven’t formalized an update of a water control manual yet. At Mendocino and Prado Dam, we’re implementing the deviation process, which is a temporary process, while we update the manual. But we’re already realizing the benefit of FIRO.” These successes have led USACE and its partners, while they finalize the screening tool they’ll use to select more projects, to adopt an ambitious vision for FIRO’s future. “Applying that screening process to our portfolio of dams,” Talbot said, “is our Phase Three. That’s what we’re starting now.” One area on the radar is Oregon’s Willamette Valley – a system of dams, 13 of them owned by USACE, that operate together as a unit. “We want to try FIRO in that kind of a setting,” said Talbot. “We’re going to learn how to do a system in the lab. We’ll also take what we learned from there and do another system in some other part of the country – not the West Coast – and see how it applies there.” If it applies as well as it has at a handful of California reservoirs, the nation is at the threshold of a new era in water resource management. In most of California, a prolonged drought ended during

p Water flows through the Oroville Spillway at Lake Oroville in Butte County, California. CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES PHOTO

the 2022-2023 water year, during which 31 atmospheric rivers brought substantial rain throughout the state. One threeweek stretch, in late December and early January, was the state’s wettest in 161 years. “There were periods of time this year when we had to release water, from both Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma, because the reservoir was full,” said Sing. Through the periods of dry weather that followed in early spring, FIRO was applied to retain some water. Applying FIRO at both reservoirs, Talbot said, resulted in an additional 24,000 acre-feet of stored water at the end of the season – enough for 48,000 homes. The benefits of FIRO are even more obvious when weighed against what it costs, in coastal California, to procure such large amounts of fresh water. At Lake Prado, a startling result was achieved over a single weekend late in the 2020 water year, according to Ly. “From Friday to Saturday,

Orange County was able to save 30,000 acre-feet of water.” On the coast of nearby San Diego County, a $1 billion desalination plant was built in 2015 to provide fresh water to the community. “In an entire year,” Ly said, “they produce about 30,000 acre-feet.” The annual cost of producing that much fresh water, according to the Wall Street Journal, is about $49 to $59 million. At Lake Prado, and at other reservoirs using FIRO, the cost of saving that water, after a new water control manual is in operation, will be virtually zero. “We’re just taking our existing infrastructure and operating it better,” said Talbot. “There’s no structural change. We’re just spending a couple million to investigate how to manage it better. And it’s proven itself in both wet years and dry years. That’s given us a lot more confidence as an agency that this is the right way to go.” AE I 109


USACE Supports the Fort Cavazos Safety Day Event On a hot and steamy central Texas morning the first of two waves of hundreds of Soldiers gathered around the entrance to Phantom Warrior Stadium to kick off the inaugural Safety Day event, May 19, 2023, at Fort Cavazos, Texas.


he Fort Cavazos garrison safety office planned and organized the event and informed the Fort Worth District’s Central Texas Area Safety Office



(CTAO) during the early stages of putting the event together. “Since this event involved the entire installation, I wanted to seize the opportunity to be part of this worthwhile event,” said Dan Juracek, the CTAO safety officer. “We have

p Belton Lake Lead Ranger Jewel Hale describes

the function and operation of a dam to booth visitors during the Fort Cavazos Safety Day, May 19, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY RANDY CEPHUS

a great relationship with the garrison safety office and attended the bi-weekly progress reviews leading up to the event.” Overall, there were more than 50 safety-related booths highlighting areas such as automobile, fire, home, and electrical safety. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) supported the safety event with four booths. Juracek manned a construction safety booth while a cadre of park rangers manned a water, dam, and boating safety booth. The construction safety booth provided general safety information on a range of construction safety considerations such as the wearing of proper safety

Left: A 1st Cavalry Division Soldier demonstrates how to properly throw a flotation device to a drowning victim during the inaugural Fort Cavazos, Texas, Safety Day. USACE PHOTO BY RANDY CEPHUS

equipment, including eye, hearing, and fall protection gear. “Everyone is a safety officer,” said Juracek. “If you see something that doesn’t look or feel right or is a clear safety violation – speak up and enforce the standard.” There are several area lakes that Soldiers and family members visit in the central Texas area. Belton, Stillhouse Hollow, Waco, Georgetown, and Canyon Lake are among those most frequently visited by the military community due to their proximity to Fort Cavazos. “We want everyone to come out to our lakes and have a good time, but we want

them to think safety first and be aware of our regulations and policies,” said Belton Lake lead ranger Jewel Hale. Hale, tasked with overall site coordination for the lake offices, provided oversite for the three booths manned by the district’s park rangers. “Our boating booth was set up to provide information on boating safety and to encourage boat operators to conduct boating and water safety checks before getting out on the water,” said Hale. The second booth manned by rangers was the water safety booth. Here, general

water safety pamphlets were available to booth visitors along with trinkets and giveaways designed to attract visitors to the booth. But once there, rangers surprised the visitors with a pop quiz on water safety topics. Hale and fellow rangers stressed the importance of wearing a Coast Guard-approved and properly fitted life vest when in and around water. They also instructed people on how to assist potential drowning victims. “REACH, THROW, ROW; DON’T GO is what we emphasize as the safest way to assist a distressed person in the water,” said Fort Worth District park ranger Lynlee Russell. “Remember, even a strong swimmer can drown trying to help others.” Belton Lake park ranger, Cassy Hill assisted military visitors at the dam safety booth with “America the Beautiful” passes, which according to the National Park Service, are good for a year’s worth of visits to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country, including all national parks. The booth also had a model of Stillhouse Hollow Dam, which Capital Region Deputy Operations Project Manager Heath McLane used to explain the different components that make up a dam. “We wanted to educate everyone on the complexity of the dam, how it operates, what goes into doing inspections and what dam safety is all about,” McLane said. Vending trucks with an assortment of food and beverage items for purchase, along with festive music, kept things lively as the second wave of Fort Cavazos Soldiers descended around the stadium built by USACE back in 2012. “This was an awesome inaugural safety day event and next year we will look at ways to make this even bigger and better,” said Juracek. AE I 111


USACE Relies on Strong Partnerships With Its Customers, and Large and Small Businesses, to Deliver Quality Engineering Solutions A major goal of the Fort Worth District’s Office of Small Business Programs is to support the government’s policy of placing a fair portion of contracts with eligible small businesses. Another point of emphasis is to assist small businesses in becoming more marketable to larger businesses that receive government contracts.


ur partnerships with large and small businesses are critical to delivering vital engineering solutions to solve the nation’s toughest challenges,” said Bob Morris, deputy chief for Programs, Project Management Division. The federal government categorizes small businesses into various types. These businesses include small, disadvantaged businesses, historically underutilized business zone, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and woman-owned small businesses. Historically black colleges and universities, and minority institutions also receive small business consideration for federal contracts. “One of my major goals is to develop and improve small business capabilities, to maximize their opportunity for contracts within the Fort Worth District geographical boundaries,” said Ali Marshall, the Fort Worth District’s deputy for Small Business



Programs. “This is done on a continual basis to ensure there remains a broad base of capable small businesses to support our projects.” There is a wide range of military construction and civil works services the Fort Worth District requires to meet its complex mission. Military construction projects include barracks, dining facilities, maintenance shops, hangars, airfields, hospitals, and child development centers. While examples of Civil Works projects include roads, bridges, levees and dams. Although for the most part large businesses receive contracts for these types of projects due to their size, complexity, and scope, these firms must have a small business subcontracting plan, where they provide a certain percentage of their work to small businesses. “We remain committed to working together with our partners to complete our projects and to build enduring relationships through trust, transparency, and shared values,” added Marshall.

p Fort Worth District Deputy for Small Business

Programs Ali Marshall addresses a group of small business representatives on potential business opportunities during a January Small Business Roadshow at Dyess Air Force Base, near Abiline, Texas. USACE PHOTO BY RANDY CEPHUS

Fort Worth District Deputy for Small Business Programs Ali Marshall provides information on potential projects that will become available for solicitation during a January Small Business Roadshow at Dyess Air Force Base. USACE PHOTO BY RANDY CEPHUS

According to Marshall, engineering services provide another category of opportunities to gain work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Examples include master planning, surveying, and engineering design and construction.

USACE is an organization that prides itself on environmental stewardship. The Southwestern Division’s Regional Planning & Environmental Center (RPEC) manages many of these services for the Fort Worth District and the rest of the region.

“There are endless opportunities to partner with the Corps on planning and environmental work including but not limited to Formerly Used Defense Site investigations and remediation, environmental remediation, master planning, environmental studies, restoration activities, soil sample testing, and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects,” said USACE’s Southwestern Division’s RPEC chief, Rob Newman. Janitorial, refuse collection, mowing, grounds maintenance, herbicide, landscaping, boundary maintenance, and equipment repair are examples of opportunities smaller firms may compete for contracts with the federal government. “I am an advocate for small businesses so no firm is too small for the Office of Small Business Programs when it comes to providing assistance,” said Marshall. Networking forums, small business conferences and capability briefings are venues where Marshall provides key project information to both large and small contracting firms. Since assuming her role as the deputy chief for Small Business Programs, Marshall’s hard work and dedication have resulted in her receiving several awards for achievement and performance. Marshall attributes much of her program’s success to keeping her website fresh with the latest project information available for potential small business contractors and keeping the lines of communication open. “Because the district manages such a large volume of projects, one of my major challenges is to keep our web page updated with the latest data, so I can get the info out to small businesses as fast as I can,” said Marshall.” AE I 113


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters Public Law Program Manager Willem Helms addresses recent changes to Public Law 84-99 during outreach sessions that ran from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, 2022. USACE’s Public Law 84-99 Rehabilitation Program is a voluntary disaster recovery program that provides for the rehabilitation (e.g., repair) of damage to eligible federal and non-federal flood risk management projects damaged by flood or coastal storms. USACE PHOTO BY BRITTANY SCRUGGS

SWF Hosts Emergency Management Public Law 84-99 Outreach Session Natural disasters leave little room for control, but preparation and a ready response can help minimize loss of life and damage to property. This is where the Emergency Management (EM) Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Fort Worth district comes in.


perating under two basic authorities, Public Law (PL) 84-99 (Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies), and when mission allocated by FEMA under the Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act, EM partners with local, state, and federal agencies, and federally recognized tribal communities to provide supplemental support. With the operation and maintenance of 25 federal flood control structures across



the state of Texas, it is imperative for EM to keep the public informed on the benefits, potential risks, and consequences of our flood control projects. Recent changes to PL 84-99 prompted an outreach session run by Headquarters USACE Public Law Program Manager Willem Helms, and hosted by Maj. Joshua Haynes, deputy commander, Fort Worth District, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, 2022. The Goal? Hold nine regional stakeholder information sessions during the public

comment period to discuss proposed revisions and accept feedback for the overall success of providing emergency support within the local communities. The Fort Worth District hosted more than 22 representatives from the region including the city of Dallas, engineering firms, Tarrant Regional Water District, USACE Tulsa District, Tulsa County, and Trinity River Authority, to discuss how the proposed revisions would affect their current ability to support their respective communities. A major revision includes increasing the damage threshold from $15,000 to $50,000. The threshold increase would allow funds to be directed toward more of the performance history of flood control projects, or levees. Damages less than $50,000 would be considered operations and maintenance (O&M) cost. Both federally authorized and non-federal levees are eligible for federal assistance under the PL 84-99 Rehabilitation and Inspection Program. “The biggest takeaway from this session is how ‘Emergency Management is a team sport,’ and each agency plays a role in protecting our nation’s infrastructures and people, said Jeffrey Mahaffey, Emergency Management chief, Fort Worth District. “It’s our job to provide disaster preparedness services and advanced planning to reduce the amount of damage caused by natural disasters. With the community’s feedback for updating PL 84-99, we can set to publish spring or summer of 2023 and do just that,” said Helms. AE


p The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) team at Erbil Air Base, Iraq, along with senior base leadership

and stakeholders, hold a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction for the Life Support Area (LSA) Roberts Dining Facility (DFAC), Erbil Air Base, Iraq, Aug. 2, 2022. When completed, the DFAC will serve more than 1,800 meals a day in a semi-permanent structure, replacing the current field-condition Alaska tent structures. USACE PHOTO BY RICHARD BAUMGARDNER

Being All We Can Be The Transatlantic Division’s 70-plus year legacy remains an integral part of the U.S. Army’s enduring story.

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Transatlantic Division Public Affairs Office regional director, and as a retired Army Soldier, I share the distinct professional responsibility – and the deep personal privilege – of telling the story of one of the most unique divisions within the Army Corps of Engineers.


s the nation commemorated the U.S. Army’s 248th birthday on June 14, USACE stood as a strong pillar of support, reaffirming its indispensable role in fortifying the Army’s mission. With a rich and storied history dating back to the Revolutionary War, USACE has


steadfastly provided a strong foundation, showcasing its significance in diverse operations, infrastructure development, and disaster response efforts. The Army’s enduring motto, “Be all you can be,” resonates deeply with USACE and our collective commitment to Building Strong as we march forward to the shout of Essayons! (Let us try).

USACE played an indelible role in shaping the history of our nation. From its pivotal contributions during the American Civil War to the remarkable efforts in World War II and beyond, it has always stood on the frontline. USACE Soldiers and civilians, essential in constructing vital infrastructure and responding to disasters, have cemented their place in the annals of American history. Their unwavering dedication, manifesting the Army’s spirit of resilience and determination, is epitomized in the Army Corps of Engineers’ motto Essayons (Let us try). Their commitment to fortify wherever and whenever the Army requires has bolstered the Army’s mission, engendering a strong and resilient force always ready to protect the nation. But the USACE spirit of determination and resilience extends far beyond domestic frontiers. In the 1950s, the Army Corps of Engineers embarked on a significant journey to support the Middle East region. This marked a pivotal moment as they expanded their reach beyond the traditional operations within the United States. USACE played a vital role in managing military construction projects, and contributed to non-military initiatives such as building civilian air terminals, developing road systems, constructing port facilities, and other military construction. During this time, USACE also aided in infrastructure development in allied nations. Their efforts played a significant role in strengthening military capabilities, improving transportation and connectivity, and supporting economic growth in the region. USACE’s dedication resulted in long-term partnerships and the establishment of crucial military infrastructure, solidifying their contribution to regional stability and development. These early initiatives laid the foundation for a long-standing relationship between us and the Middle East, establishing a legacy of engineering excellence that endures to this day. The evolution of the Transatlantic Division itself is a testament to the dynamism and adaptability of USACE. From 1952 to 1976, the Mediterranean Division of USACE undertook numerous military and non-military construction projects across regions such as Turkey, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. Notable works included building civilian I 115


air terminals, establishing road systems, and constructing port facilities. The division’s broad scope of operations showcased their versatility in managing both military and non-military projects. Through their efforts, they played a significant role in the growth and stability of these regions. An increasing focus on Saudi Arabia led to the establishment of a new division for this specific undertaking. This resulted in the creation of the Middle East Division in 1976. With headquarters in Riyadh, the Middle East Division was responsible for overseeing extensive construction programs throughout Saudi Arabia. This division collaborated with the Saudi Arabian government on a significant design and construction program encompassing the development of military cantonments, air bases, navy bases, hospitals, and more. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) was established on January 1, 1983, in response to the rapidly changing geopolitical environment, recognition of the Middle East’s strategic importance, and the need for a dedicated command to ensure regional stability, manage potential threats. USACE played a vital role in supporting CENTCOM in its mission from its beginning. Post the completion of the Saudi Arabian program, USACE underwent a crucial reorganization. This led to the formation of the Middle East/Africa Projects Office (MEAPO) in 1986. Serving customers across the Middle East and Africa, MEAPO managed diverse projects such as the design and construction of facilities in Oman, support for defense forces in Egypt, Bahrain, and Kuwait, and participation in various other programs. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, MEAPO swiftly deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, providing essential design, construction, and real estate services to support U.S. forces. MEAPO played a crucial role in ensuring the infrastructure and support necessary for the success of U.S. military operations during this critical period. These efforts were instrumental in promoting stability and security across the Middle East and Central Asia, underlining the enduring value of our regional partnerships and our unwavering commitment to CENTCOM’s mission.


p Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., USACE Transatlantic Division commander (center), Col. Richard Childers, Transatlantic Expeditionary District commander (left), and Ahmed A. Madhkoor, P.E., PMP, Expeditionary District mechanical engineer and project engineer (right), walk a project site at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Jan. 26, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY CATHERINE CARROLL

In response to developments in Europe and the Middle East, the Transatlantic Division was established in 1991. This first iteration of the Transatlantic Division undertook various new programs, assisting in the recovery of Kuwait, supporting relief efforts for Kurdish refugees, and expanding engineering support in the Middle East. Due to internal restructuring, the division was renamed the Transatlantic Programs Center in 1995, which expanded its operations over the following years to places such as Kenya, Tanzania, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In 2009, the Transatlantic Programs Center transformed into the Middle East District, continuing its mission of providing products and services to the Middle East, Central Asia, and other areas. At the same time, the Transatlantic Division Headquarters was established in Winchester, Virginia, to provide unified command for all Army Corps of Engineers’ organizations operating within the CENTCOM area of operations. As part of this reorganization, multiple changes were made to the districts and their responsibilities, including the establishment of two task forces, based on evolving operational requirements over the next several years. The Transatlantic Afghanistan District, operating from 2009 to 2021, played a crucial role in supporting the U.S. Army’s mission in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan District’s history

traces back to October 2001, when the United States and coalition forces entered Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. In response to a request from the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan, USACE established the Afghanistan area office in Kabul in September 2002 to repair and construct Afghan National Army and National Police facilities. The workload increased, leading to the formation of the Afghanistan Engineer District (AED) in 2004, with AED-North in Kabul and AED-South in Kandahar. Under the umbrella of the Transatlantic Division, the Afghanistan District executed USACE’s mission in Afghanistan, focusing on military construction projects at Bagram Airfield and Kandahar Airfield. In December 2020, the district’s headquarters relocated to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and continued its operations from there until the U.S. withdraw in 2021. The Mosul Dam Task Force, deployed from 2016 to 2019, exemplified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ commitment to safeguarding critical infrastructure. In response to the deteriorating condition of the Mosul Dam in Iraq, the task force provided engineering expertise and technical support to stabilize the dam. Their efforts transformed the dam from being known as the “world’s most dangerous dam” to a stable structure. By completing the largest dam safety drilling and grouting

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p U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, 55th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army

Corps of Engineers (center left), speaks with Maj. Gen. Essa Ali E M Al-Kubaisi, Qatar Emeri Corps of Engineers (QECE) commander (center right), during a meeting at the QECE Headquarters in Qatar, May 17, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY RICHARD RZEPKA

project ever undertaken, the task force mitigated the risks posed by the dam and ensured regional stability. Additionally, their comprehensive training programs empowered local workers and engineers to maintain the dam effectively in the future. Task Force Essayons, operational from 2017 to 2020, played a vital role in supporting the U.S. Army’s mission to combat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Operating under the tactical control of the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, the task force provided crucial support to more than 30 bases in the region. Through innovative approaches in project management, engineering, construction, and environmental management, Task Force Essayons efficiently delivered more than 300 projects valued at more than $211 million. Its efforts directly supported the warfighters and contributed to the overall success of the mission. These organizational units, this team of teams within the Transatlantic Division, demonstrated unwavering support to the Army and its operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. By executing critical projects, they enhanced operational capabilities, ensured the safety of essential infrastructure, and directly contributed to the overall mission success in the Middle East and Central Asia. The establishment of the Transatlantic Expeditionary District in 2021 marks our most recent development. Located


in Kuwait, this district plays a vital role in supporting multiple operations such as Operation Spartan Shield and Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. As the newest element of the Transatlantic Division and the USACE’s only forward-deployed district, it has been specifically structured to deliver project management, engineering, design, environmental support, construction management, and real estate services within CENTCOM’s area of responsibility (AOR). The Transatlantic Expeditionary District’s primary objective is to provide cost-effective and sustainable engineering solutions and services that strengthen the security and stability of our nation and our allied mission partners. It brings theaterwide engineering expertise to support U.S., coalition, and host-nation efforts in building partner capacity within the CENTCOM AOR and advancing overall CENTCOM mission objectives. With its unique capabilities and resources, the expeditionary district is well equipped to deliver timely and relevant engineering solutions, ensuring the safety and security of our allied mission partners. Its personnel embody the spirit of “Always Forward” as they work tirelessly to support contingency operations and foster stability. Their commitment to excellence is demonstrated through their ability to deliver effective engineering services that are crucial

in meeting the challenges of our dynamic operational environment. These initiatives and operations highlight the critical role of the Transatlantic Division in supporting military operations, infrastructure development, and capacity building in the Middle East and Central Asia. Through our extensive work, we continue to significantly contribute to regional stability, infrastructure repair and construction, and the development of local expertise. The evolution of the Transatlantic Division organization not only highlights our commitment to supporting the Army’s mission, but also reflects our dedication to continuous improvement. We recognize the importance of staying agile and adaptive in an ever-changing operational landscape. By embracing new technologies, refining processes, and cultivating partnerships, our team of teams continues to evolve, ensuring its relevance and effectiveness in meeting the Army’s evolving needs. With a dynamic legacy and a profound understanding of the unique needs and complexities of the region, the Transatlantic Division has established itself as a trusted partner of choice. In a region where relationships are paramount to success, our extensive expertise and experience in delivering engineering, design, and construction services have made a lasting impact. For more than 70 years, we have played a pivotal role in the development of critical infrastructure, the support of military operations, and the promotion of stability. Our unwavering commitment to excellence continues to shape the future and pave the way for continued success in the region. As we forge ahead to the resounding beat of “Let us try,” the Army can have no doubt that we are being all we can be in supporting its mission and ensuring future generations of Soldiers and civilians can continue to be all they can be across the CENTCOM and U.S. Special Operations Command AORs. As we commemorate the Army’s 248 years of unwavering dedication to our nation’s defense, take a moment to reflect on the invaluable contributions of the USACE

and its workforce. Countless generations of engineers have channeled their intellect, creativity, and unwavering determination to establish the foundations that sustain and support the Army’s mission. Their remarkable efforts in conceptualizing, constructing, and fortifying infrastructure have not only bolstered the Army’s operational capabilities, but also played a crucial role in our nation’s advancement. Through their steadfast commitment, they have fortified our nation’s security and contributed significantly to our collective progress.

The history of USACE and the Transatlantic Division’s legacy within it form an integral part of our Army’s enduring story, serving as a testament to the power of resilience, adaptability, and innovation. We have been a collective bedrock of strength, enabling our Army to move, live, and fight with unwavering determination. Our unwavering commitment has not only supported our Army’s mission but has also demonstrated our vital role in fortifying our nation’s security. Together, we exemplify the core values and spirit of the Army, standing as a testament to the remark-

Strong Partnerships a Catalyst for Innovation Necessity may be the mother of invention, but partnerships are what move inventions from the briefing slide to the battlefield and beyond – turning ideas into lifesaving, life-sustaining, and security-enhancing innovations in the U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).


he U.S. Army Central’s Bunker Retrofit project is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE’s) latest battlefield innovation, and is the result of a partnership between Army Central, U.S. Air Forces Central, the USACE Transatlantic Division, and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). This project, now in its second phase of testing, is designed to increase the protection provided by force protection bunkers throughout CENTCOM’s AOR. Col. Christina L. Burton, Army Central engineer director, met with Col. William C. Hannan, Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and members of their respective teams at Fort Polk, Louisiana, March 10, 2023, to observe the Phase II live-fire experiment evaluating bunker end wall designs and ventilation options fielded by Air Forces Central and Army Central across CENTCOM. “Army Central is the component command responsible for service members’ safety downrange and we are funding the research needed to ensure the highest


able achievements that arise from unwavering dedication. AE Learn more about the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at: mil/About/History/Brief-History-of-the-Corps/ and Learn more about the history of the Transatlantic Division and USACE’s history in the Middle East in the publication Brick, Sand, and Marble at: bricks_sand_and_marble/index.html

level of protections for our Soldiers and service members downrange,” Burton explained. “The Army Corps of Engineers has a lot of research capabilities, and they can help us develop these types of innovations quickly. This partnership leads to better, quicker solutions to challenges on the battlefield,” Burton continued. “Projects like this protect service members on the ground, and they strengthen the Army Central and Army Corps of Engineers partnership, which helps us continue to improve our foxhole in the CENTCOM AOR.” Bringing together component commands, engineers, technicians, analysts, medical experts, and those who have “been there done that” downrange and handing them a challenge to study and solve is a strong catalyst for innovation. And innovation is vital in the CENTCOM AOR. “Innovation is important in our AOR because we are still countering violent extremist organizations,” Hannan stated. “And we are also working to compete strategically throughout CENTCOM. The way we keep that competitive edge is to bring in new technologies and innovative ideas and strategies to stay ahead of the enemy.” “CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael ‘Erik’ Kurilla’s approach to the region focuses on people, partners and innovation, and the Bunker Retrofit project showcases all three.” While this project is front and center at the moment, the real hero here is partnership. Hannan went on to explain how a lineage of strong partnership in the Middle East and the Transatlantic Division’s unique design and construction experience supports mission success across the board for everyone in the region. “We trace our roots back through two other divisions – the Middle East Division in the ‘70s and ‘80s and the Mediterranean Division back in the 1950s and ‘60s,” Hannan explained. “That’s really one of our biggest strengths, our divisional roots. Going all the way back to World War II, we began working in the Middle East at air bases and military bases upgrading infrastructure and facilities, both for our nation and our I 119


Col. Christina L. Burton, U.S. Army Central engineer director (right), speaks with Jessica Vankirk, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Survivability Engineering Branch research civil engineer, about innovative design feature updates on the U.S. Army Central’s Bunker Retrofit project, designed to increase protection for service members throughout the U.S. Central Command’s area of operations, prior to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Phase II live-fire experiment at Fort Polk, Louisiana, March 10, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY CATHERINE CARROLL

allied nation partner’s forces. So we have a really strong and proud tradition of working throughout the Middle East.” Today, the division partners closely with CENTCOM, U.S. Special Operations Command, Army Central, Air Forces Central, and other commands, as well as U.S. allied host-nation forces, continuing to bring critical cutting-edge innovations into the region. “Our division is the tip of the spear for Army Corps of Engineers capabilities in this region,” Hannan said. “We know how to go into very challenging areas and circumstances and figure out innovative and creative solutions right in the middle of battle, at the edge of battle, or after battle. We have a great deal of experience working in complex environments under unknown conditions. We may not always know what’s going to happen, but one thing is for sure, the Transatlantic Division has the expertise and the innovative edge to go into these dynamic environments and enable success. “Our real strength is partnerships,” Hannan continued. “What the Transatlantic Division also brings to the CENTCOM AOR is a doorway to the full Army Corps of Engineers’ enterprise and all the research and development, expertise, and experience that comes with it. This brings a lot of partnerships and a lot of innovation capability to the table.” All those partnerships with their combined power and expertise aren’t only focused on finding solutions to meets today’s needs, they are forecasting and overcoming challenges on tomorrow’s battlefields and for the Army of 2030 and beyond. “Two other key initiatives we are working on with ERDC are an innovative 3D modeling system and a scalable wastewater treatment


system,” said Edward “Ted” Upson, Transatlantic Division engineering and construction chief. “3D modeling is where we take a system to a very remote part of the CENTCOM AOR and use it to map and model the area,” Upson explained. “We can use that to develop a project or to show the terrain and surrounding areas to potential contractors who can’t do a site visit due to remoteness or security situations,” he said. “We are also working with ERDC to bring in a scalable wastewater treatment system called the Distributed Low-Energy Wastewater Treatment System,” Upson continued. “That is a somewhat mobile system that we can use at bases that are in between expeditionary and permanent basing where we can have something in between a very rudimentary wastewater system and a full-on wastewater treatment plant. This system can bridge that gap.” Hannan went on to discuss additional ways the Transatlantic Division is partnering to build capacity in the CENTCOM AOR, enhancing security in the region for everyone. “Our division is unique compared to the rest of the Army Corps of Engineers,” Hannan explained. “We provide engineering, design and construction not just for our nation and military partners, but also for allied nation mission partners through Foreign Military Sales [FMS] and related facilities, and infrastructure design and construction. “With military construction, we are increasing readiness and modernization through projects supporting the warfighter, enabling steady-state military operations, and sustaining our nation’s ability to fight and win wars,” Hanna explained. “And through FMS, we are addressing the operational, training, and maintenance needs

of our allied nation partner’s military efforts, increasing interoperability and enabling sustainable security and continued stability within the region,” Hannan continued. “For the Army Corps of Engineers, we do approximately 80% of the FMS program. This is about building partner capacity, which ultimately enhances our regional and national security.” While waiting on the Fort Polk weather to clear for the Bunker Retrofit experiment, the collective group took the opportunity to review current ERDC designs and brainstorm how they could be applied to current and future needs and challenges. “Innovation has to happen at the speed of war,” Burton said. “And innovation isn’t just creating something new. Innovation can be taking what we know and what we have and applying it in new ways.” “The Corps of Engineers has a wealth of knowledge – a lot of scientists and engineers – and they provide us with innovative solutions quicker,” Burton continued. “They are already a part of the Army team and a proven asset.” The Transatlantic Division has definitely proven itself to be an asset when it comes to directly supporting the warfighter. The division’s transatlantic expeditionary district is the Army Corps of Engineers’ only forward-deployed district, and is in direct support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which is still in the fight in Iraq and Syria. “Working with our Iraqi partners and our Syrian defense force partners, we provide design and construction projects, improve force protection at forward operating bases and remote locations, as well as service member and civilian quality-of-life projects, reinforcing the CJTF-OIR mission against violent extremists’ organizations,” Hannan explained. “Additionally, we support the warfighter on the ground throughout the CENTCOM AOR through major infrastructure projects,” Hannan continued. “We are building a brandnew U.S. officer barracks at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. We are building new modular housing units at an air base in Saudi Arabia. And we are building a lot of new facilities at an air base in Jordan. All these facilities throughout the region are either to support the mission and the operations of the Army, Air Force, Marines,

or Navy. These projects are supporting the quality of life and providing protection for those warfighters and civilians working across the AOR to enhance security both for us, and for the region.” Sgt. 1st Class David Vera, Army Central engineer and facilities and construction

noncommissioned officer in charge, was on hand at Fort Polk to watch the ERDC experiment, and shared his thoughts on the overall experience. “Our team has been with the Bunker Retrofit project from its conception, and there is a lot of personal and professional

USACE Offers Planning Support to Mission Partners Around the Globe “I love it when a plan comes together,” is an often-quoted line from the ‘80s television show The A-Team. However, for the Planning and Requirements team with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Transatlantic Division Middle East District (TAM), the quote might more accurately be: “I love it when a master plan comes together.”


omprised of professionals with backgrounds in engineering, planning, architecture, contracting, and other disciplines, Planning and Requirements looks at the district’s U.S. and allied nation mission partners’ long-term infrastructure requirements and defines how to provide planning support for those requirements. Typically, requirements include a host of factors impacting construction or expansion of military bases in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR). Those bases are essentially small cities, with the Planning and Requirements branch fulfilling the function of city planners. Sean Martin, the head of TAM’s Planning and Requirements Branch, said in order to be successful, his team needs to be able to do a bit of everything. “Our efforts can include hydrology analysis, geospatial support for real estate


validation, knowing and validating host-nation environmental governing standards, and everything in between. We recently had to do an archaeological and cultural analysis for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This type of project was a first for our district – even though many of us have supported similar work in previous positions.” One of nine specialized planning staffs in USACE, TAM’s Regional Planning Support Center is a relatively recent addition to the district, having been stood up within the last five years. Despite being a relatively new branch, it is already making a big impact, having been recognized by the Federal Planning Division of the American Planning Association. The branch won an award for “Outstanding Federal Planning Project” on behalf of the U.S. Air Force in the CENTCOM AOR. The project involved developing a flexible execution strategy presented in clear, concise narratives, as well as two- and three-dimensional graphics, illustrations,

satisfaction in witnessing how far it has come and how many lives can – and will – be saved,” Vera said. “No one organization can do everything. The better the partnerships, the better the product that comes out of this. It’s a good feeling. We truly are stronger together.” AE

and video to validate 210 projects valued at $1 billion. Vanessa Francis Gray, a community planner for the branch, said that working on the team and seeing their achievements as been rewarding to her. “I’m near my three-year anniversary at TAM, and it has been a great experience. The TAM Planning and Requirements Branch is a laboratory on how to successfully apply planning concepts to complex, high-stakes projects. Since my time at the branch, I have worked on a variety of projects, including redevelopment plans for host-nation critical infrastructure, and installation master planning for joint missions. One of the most rewarding projects I have worked on is a master planning effort for one of our allied nation partners for a national defense university. The project combined several of my interests, [including] urban planning and education. I come from a family of teachers and learned over many years about the specific needs of school facilities. This part of my background served me well while creating recommendations and short- to long-term development strategies.” Martin said what his branch brings to the table is a comprehensive and deliberate approach to projects large and small. “Planning brings discipline to a process, and establishes a solid baseline condition to craft every conceivable alternative as well as gaining new information,” Martin said. “Most planners are not subject-matter experts [SMEs] in a significantly wide range of topics, although all USACE planners gain a wide range of knowledge over time. Planners are SMEs in converting conversations to actionable tasks, in analyzing incomplete information to craft a way ahead to successful resolution to minimize impacts to direct, secondary, and even tertiary interactions.” AE I 121


Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works Business Intelligence (CWBI) team took home the 2022 IWR Team of the Year for their cloud migration work on behalf of the Civil Works mission. Pictured in a group photo, the team gathered at the Risk Management Center for its first annual in-person meeting following COVID-19 travel restrictions to discuss a range of infrastructure, cybersecurity, data, and administrative topics. USACE PHOTO

Engineering in the Cloud In the past, when someone at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) mentioned clouds, they most often were referring to the weather. However, in today’s modern context, “the cloud” can mean many things. At USACE’s Institute for Water Resources (IWR), it most often describes the Civil Works Business Intelligence (CWBI) program. CWBI has been a USACE leader in cloud implementation over the past 10 years, and continues to refactor Civil Works data and system assets to gain efficiencies, integrate resources, and reduce information technology (IT) maintenance and cost.


he CWBI program is one of USACE’s key automated information systems (AIS) and is a critical backbone to the Civil Works mission. “CWBI touches almost every aspect of the Civil Works mission as it relates to data and information delivery,” said Edward E. Belk Jr., director of Civil Works. “We rely on the cloud infrastructure, cybersecurity implementation, and system engineering services CWBI provides to ensure critical data and analysis mission requirements are



met.” CWBI’s current purpose is to integrate Civil Works data in a cloud-smart environment that standardizes data organization and management, ensures cybersecurity, delivers innovative technology solutions, rationalizes resources, and enhances visualization. CWBI currently supports more than 100 Civil Works applications across the USACE enterprise, and is used widely by internal and external stakeholders. CWBI partners with multiple entities within USACE, federal partners, and others to deliver data and resources where it is needed most. For example, CWBI’s cloud

infrastructure serves as the backbone to help regulatory permits be issued, the public understand where levees and dams are located, and to deliver navigation charts to vessel operators traversing inland waterways. CWBI is led by a small program management office overseen by IWR and the USACE Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab’s Remote-Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) Center of Expertise. “As the first production cloud operating environment within USACE, CWBI has transitioned standalone applications to a cloud environment [with] levels of computational capacity, data management, data interconnectivity, and cybersecurity that were unattainable only a few years ago,” stated Joe Manous, Ph.D., IWR director. “These accomplishments are why the CWBI team was recognized as the IWR 2022 Team of the Year.” CWBI leverages the cloud in benefit of the Civil Works mission to deliver critical products to decision-makers and the public. For example, CWBI is responsible for providing a common resource in the cloud to collect data for Civil Works operation and maintenance (O&M) activities. CWBI then couples the O&M information with financial details from other USACE AIS to help report program status, performance metrics, and compliance with legislation and regulation. “CWBI plays a vital role in the hydropower business line’s understanding of the operational performance of its generating assets,” said David Sanna, USACE Hydropower Digital Transformation lead. “Hydropower has worked directly with the CWBI team to develop and deploy a new hydropower homepage within the CWBI platform, which establishes a central hub for communication, data-reporting, and visualization of key performance metrics

across the business line. Building on this foundation, the hydropower business line is engaging with CWBI on further development to track additional data sources and enhance the analytical tools available to its users.” In addition to hydropower, CWBI is also supporting other Civil Works O&M business lines. For example, the USACE Natural Resources Management (NRM) program supports all USACE missions while having the unique assignment to manage and protect more than 260 million public visitors annually at more than 400 lakes and approximately 5,000 parks in 43 states. “Efficiencies of managing the natural, cultural, environmental, and recreation come from understanding the inventory, performance, benefits and resources for each project,” said Jeffrey Krause, Natural Resources Management chief. “Moving the data from multiple databases and platforms to CWBI provides a one-stop entry and reporting tool to maximize use of resources, improve public safety, and quickly show leaders and the public the benefits the NRM program offers to the nation.” CWBI also utilizes the cloud to innovate. When a new solution is necessary to support Civil Works, CWBI employs software as a service (SaaS), serverless technology, or containerized delivery using an agile approach instead of traditional servers, stand-alone software packages, and databases that require significant maintenance and attention. “We cannot afford to just lift and shift assets to the cloud without any changes,” said Lyle Seethaler, CWBI technical lead. “CWBI helps data and system owners evaluate their requirements so they can be properly configured and take advantage of the various components a cloud environment offers.” Furthermore, CWBI utilizes cloud IT resources to scale assets as requirements change, and share engineering and cybersecurity resources to help the USACE Civil Works mission save money. If each Civil Works application were to pay for its own cloud environment, then the annual cost to support these initiatives would be exponentially greater. CWBI has worked to methodically migrate Civil Works

p The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil

Works Business Intelligence (CWBI) logo, representing the integration of data with various components of the USACE Civil Works mission, including navigation, surveying, and hydropower. CWBI is a USACE-shared capability between a couple of the enterprise support centers, to include the Institute for Water Resources’ National Data Center, and the Engineering Research and Development Center Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab. applications year by year to the cloud. It has taken time, but refactoring applications to gain benefit from cloud-native solutions allows for cost-savings, elasticity, and flexibility. Each Civil Works application is often different, so re-architecting to modify software and codebase allows for cloudbased features to be incorporated and utilized. CWBI also serves as a rationalizer, ensuring data is integrated and applications are amalgamated where possible. Now that so many Civil Works assets have migrated to the cloud, CWBI is proactively focusing on the data elements that reside there to ensure they are visible, accessible, understandable, linked, trustworthy, interoperable, and secure (VAULTIS). “To achieve USACE’s vision of becoming a data-driven enterprise and leveraging the data insights to make better informed decisions requires all its mission and business areas to come together and develop standardized, automated, and repeatable processes addressing data governance, access, quality,” said Walton Cheung, USACE chief data officer. “CWBI is contributing to

the “USACE Enterprise Data Strategy” goals and objectives by leaning into the VAULTIS principles. This transformation is incremental, and I appreciate CWBI partnering with me to achieve this vision on our journey together.” Additionally, to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning, CWBI must be aligned with VAULTIS principles so that outputs are meaningful. “The adage of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ rings true,” said Will Breitkreutz, CWBI technical lead. “How can you expect to take advantage of automation if your data is not accurate or well documented? You cannot. Therefore, CWBI’s role in data management in the cloud and implementing a clear strategy is necessary for the USACE Civil Works mission to be successful.” This year, the CWBI program is focused on maintaining its core services, data-focused delivery, fulfilling modernization assignments, and supporting the Civil Works modules hosted within its cloud environment. For example, the program is actively developing a new “Corps Project Notebook” application to help the USACE enterprise report and track project locations in a standardized format using a common geospatial solution set that is aligned with defined USACE regulation. Furthermore, CWBI is expanding its geospatial capability with the deployment of a new GIS environment that takes advantage of cloud-native setup and will deliver mission needs internally as well as to the public. The new environment will be more robust than previous iterations, and standardize multiple GIS processes. Engineering in the cloud has allowed CWBI to deliver an easy-to-use, flexible, cost-effective, reliable, scalable, innovative, and secure system. CWBI’s cloud environment is capable of automation, mobility, and integration. It will continue to take effort and resources to maintain, but the impression of what a cloud means to the USACE Civil Works mission has changed. AE To learn more about the CWBI program and its cloud engineering efforts, please contact the USACE Institute for Water Resources at I 123


Software Wins Innovation Award for Predictive Flooding Capabilities Following Fires The Institute for Water Resources’ (IWR) Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), located in Davis, California, took home the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Innovation of the Year Award for adding Post-Wildfire Modeling capabilities to its software. These software capabilities provide prediction tools that engineers can use to anticipate a unique type of flooding that can follow a combination of fire and floods.


he software development was led by a USACE project delivery team with collaboration between HEC, the Engineer Research and Development Center’s



(ERDC) Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, and USACE district engineers, who incorporated the post-wildfire modeling capabilities into HEC’s hydrology and hydraulic software. What resulted was award-winning predictive capabilities that advances the nation’s fight

Tim Fairbank, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Los Angeles District, describes the design of a berm and diversion channel constructed to protect residents of the Rainbow Canyon subdivision (near background) following a series of debris flows associated with the 2013 Carpenter One fire in the Spring Mountains, Nevada. Portions of the burn scar are visible on the mountainside in the background. The photo includes the attendees of the first USACE CWMS (Corps Water Management System) Wildfire Workshop held in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 24-27, 2023. The Institute for Water Resources’(IWR) Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), located in Davis, California, won the USACE Innovation of the Year Award for adding post-wildfire modeling capabilities to its software. These software capabilities provide prediction tools that engineers can use to anticipate a unique type of flooding that can follow a combination of fire and floods. USACE PHOTO

against floods, and especially post-wildfire flooding. Hydrologic Engineering Center Director Chris Dunn highlighted the significance of the achievement. “The team’s efforts culminated in truly groundbreaking capabilities, which are of great value to the nation and to the engineers who use the tools. The engineers analyze watersheds where wildfires have occurred, and they attempt to predict what could happen in watersheds where wildfires may occur in the future. The incorporation of these capabilities into Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) and Hydrologic Engineering Center-River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) will better help engineers, emergency planners, and the public understand their risks and appropriately prepare. A big part of our jobs is to understand and help others understand their risks. These capabilities have helped us to do so in a big way.” According to Stanford Gibson, HEC’s sediment transport specialist, the modeling tool is increasingly relevant due to an uptick in wildfires in the western United States and the destructive or deadly nature of wildfires, and the potential for mud and debris flows to follow. “Wildfires are kind of a big deal these days. But after the wildfire, the danger isn’t over. The fire changes the landscape, so subsequent rain can cause sudden mud and

Students at the inaugural U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) post-wildfire modeling class mix miniature debris flows to explore the effect of model parameters on laboratory-scale mud-flows. The Institute for Water Resources’(IWR) Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), located in Davis, California, won the USACE Innovation of the Year Award for adding post-wildfire modeling capabilities to its software. USACE PHOTO

debris flows. We added analysis tools to our software – which is already industry standard for flood risk – to forecast the impact of these events and plan emergency management actions,” Gibson said. Specifically, the models are now superpowered by a library of new equations to handle the unique physics of these events, which improves the agency’s ability to more anticipate the likelihood and magnitude of a post-fire event, where it will flow, and how deep the flooding will be. “This is crucial for emergency assessments and mitigation measures,” said Jay Pak, Ph.D., HEC hydraulic engineer, “as it allows USACE to more accurately predict post-fire flood risk and respond accordingly. Additionally, the establishment of a longterm modeling framework enables USACE to continuously simulate post-fire flooding, debris flow risk, and ecology recovery in downstream ecosystems and communities over a 10-year period.” These capabilities are critical for USACE, as the agency has a role in responding to post-wildfire hazards. “As the nation’s premier flood risk agency, our partners turn to us when they face any kind of flood risk, whether the water is blue [traditional flood water] or brown [mud and debris-filled flood waters]. They expect us to have the capabilities to forecast their flood risk and evaluate mitigation alternatives, no matter the scenario, which requires increased analysis since the physics of mud and debris flows is more complicated than water. This effort got the tools our Corps districts need into their hands to meet these expectations for post-wildfire hazards,” Gibson said. In addition to increasing predictive capabilities and response efforts, the software

also increases opportunities for collaboration among key partners, thanks in part to the research and development touchpoints occurring between state, local, and federal agencies utilizing the software. Pak emphasized that such cross-agency collaboration can lead to more effective and efficient emergency response and risk mitigation measures, such as was recognized in the innovation award. “The team behind this innovation can be proud of the fact that we developed new capabilities in the HEC-Hydrologic Modeling System [HEC-HMS] and the HEC-River Analysis System [HEC-RAS] from scratch through research, software development, technical transfer, and applications. This is a significant achievement that required a lot of hard work, collaboration, and expertise from multiple organizations and individuals. The fact that we were able to develop these capabilities from scratch demonstrates our innovation, creativity, and dedication to improving emergency assessments and mitigation measures for post-fire hydrological phenomenon. This award is a recognition of our hard work and a testament to the impact that our innovation can have on protecting communities and infrastructure from the effects of post-fire flooding,” said Pak. He also added, “Personally, this was a dream come true for me, as it provided a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity to utilize my previous Ph.D. research in developing new capabilities for post-wildfire hydrology and debris flow.” Gibson also reflected upon the team’s achievement, acknowledging the truly innovative approach required. “The hydraulics

include some pretty ‘crunchy’ math. Mud and debris flows aren’t water, and require new physics and theory. It delves into the world of rheology [which partly studies the flow of complex liquids] and non-Newtonian physics [which studies fluids that depart from Newton’s viscosity assumptions], both of which are fun for someone like me,” said Gibson. “But by getting it into HEC-RAS, the flood risk model that our agency (and approximately 100,000 people around the world) already use, we got these capabilities into the field, and they were used in planning and emergency management studies in four different USACE districts within a year of release. We trained more than 40 people on these tools at the first class in late April, which means that within a couple years of their release they are just part of the Corp’s wildfire response,” Gibson added. Gibson also addressed key players in the achievement, saying, “We collaborated with USACE Engineer Research and Development Center [ERDC] to develop the algorithms and library … particularly Dr. Ian Floyd, ERDC research physical scientist, and Dr. Alex Sánchez, senior hydraulic engineer at HEC, did a lot of the HEC-RAS development.” The PDT is also releasing web videos on the theory and practice behind these new methods. The post-wildfire team has developed seven videos on these topics that have been viewed more than 7,500 times since their release. The team has embedded these videos directly into the online user help features, making them directly accessible I 125


from the software. Visit www.hec.usace. to learn more about this innovative capability or hec-hms/training.aspx to access a training material link, which is a portal to the HMS capabilities and videos. About HEC: The primary goal of the Hydrologic Engineering Center (CEIWR-HEC) is to support the nation in its water resources management responsibilities by increasing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) technical capability in hydrologic engineering and water resources planning and management. One way CEIWR-HEC accomplishes this goal is by bringing state-of-the-art research and development into state-of-the-practice, which advances hydrologic engineering and water resources planning. AE

p Research Hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Institute for Water Resources Jay

Pak, Ph.D., (pictured), teaches the first USACE workshop on post-wildfire modeling with these tools at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada. Also instructing, (not pictured) was IWR - Hydrologic Engineering Center, sediment transport specialist Stanford Gibson. The Institute for Water Resources’ Hydrologic Engineering Center, located in Davis, California, was named USACE Innovation of the Year Award for adding post-wildfire modeling capabilities to its software. USACE PHOTO

CRIDA Gets French and Arabic Translations The Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) methodology has been translated into French and Arabic, increasing global acceptance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) climate change adaptation tool.


he USACE Institute for Water Resources (IWR) developed CRIDA in 2018 through its International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM) to help United Nation leaders plan for an uncertain future, mainly as it relates to climate change and water. After being presented and adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), CRIDA was then translated from English into Spanish in 2019. With French and Arabic translations having occurred this year, USACE’s Institute for Water Resources (IWR) International Program Manager Guillermo



Mendoza says these upcoming translations move the tool closer to global adaptation. “Every nation is concerned about climate change, but mitigation levels, capabilities, and approaches vary from country to country. By working from the same methodology, the global community benefits from a shared wealth of knowledge, while also moving in the same direction.” Mendoza says that even though nations using the tool have unique cultural views on water management, the priorities that are native to this tool are universally beneficial. “CRIDA embraces public participation, a bottom-up approach to identify water security hazards, and is sensitive to indigenous and gender-related water vulnerabilities. These are all areas of global concern and should be factored in when exploring the feasibility of climate change mitigation projects,” Mendoza said. The French translation has been published to the UNESCO website, with the Arabic translation to be posted soon. Translation of the methodology to Portuguese and possibly other languages is in the works. In addition to ICIWaRM and its parent entity, the USACE Institute for Water Resources, the primary authors of the CRIDA handbook were from the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) and Climate Adaptation area of Deltares (Delft, The Netherlands) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme. Much of the methodology was developed in collaboration with the Hydrosystems Group of the University of Massachusetts and the Global Water Practice of the World Bank. AE


Logistics Activity Supports Typhoon Mawar Response When Typhoon Mawar devastated the island of Guam, the USACE Logistics Activity’s (ULA) emergency response team members sprang into action to support recovery efforts. The storm was one of the strongest to hit the U.S. island in decades, leaving thousands of residents without utilities for weeks. In total, eight ULA and one Norfolk District personnel were deployed as part of the Logistics Planning and Response Team (LPRT). Members deployed to support various missions in Guam, Hawai’i, and California to support the logistical needs of recovery efforts.

p Jennifer Hollis-Mayweather (top left) works on

logistics needs for USACE personnel deployed for the emergency response. COURTESY PHOTO


he logistics mission in Hawai’i was to provide rental and lodging support to those in Guam, and for those that were required to stop in Hawai’i first, as commercial air was not available during the first part of the mission,” said Brandy Urias, Future Operations Branch chief. “This included working coordination efforts with Guam for those that flew via FEMA charter flights.” This mission continued in Guam as multiple agencies scrambled to find lodging for personnel responding to the disaster. Their position in theater helped them better assess the needs and availability of resources in Guam. “The logistics mission in Guam was to continue providing rental and lodging support to those deploying to Guam, to include faceto-face coordination with the hotels and



p Above: Logistics Management Specialist Jennifer

Hollis-Mayweather assists an incoming U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee with loading her luggage into a rental vehicle at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority in Guam. Hollis-Mayweather was in Guam providing logistics support to USACE first responders as part of the combined federal response, to help the island recover from Typhoon Mawar. USACE PHOTO BY SARA GOODEYON Right: Current Operations Branch Chief Mark Thill on the ground supervising shipment of fuel tanker trucks to Guam in the aftermath of Typhoon Mawar. USACE PHOTO

rental car agencies,” Urias said. “They also supported the tracking of equipment arrival and departure from the port while providing logistics support to temporary power and blue roof teams.” Back in California, Mark Thill, Current Operations Branch chief, was deployed from May 24 through June 13 in Long Beach to help support the steady flow of supplies and equipment being shipped from the states to both Hawai’i and Guam. “My mission was to ship temporary power mission contractor support vehicles via airplanes from Long Beach to Guam in support of Mawar,” Thill said. “The vehicles and equipment were staged at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos. Equipment was weighed, secondary cargo was secured and centers of balance and axle weights were calculated. Equipment shipped included shelters, roll-back trucks, fuel tanker trucks, low-boy tractor-trailers, and forklifts. There was a total of four flights of equipment.” Thill said that working in the contiguous United States to support an island around


the globe with multiple agencies involved came with challenges, but the teams worked tirelessly to get the job done. “Communications between all the parties was challenging,” said Thill. “The event was in Guam, which was 17 hours ahead of California. The winning bidder for the airlift was based in New York [a three-hour time difference] and the air load planners were in Germany [a nine-hour time difference]. I had to work with the contractor on the ground who serviced the aircraft, the flight crew and loadmaster, who spoke limited English, FEMA transportation, the contractor of the airplane, and two different contractors who were providing the equipment to be shipped. Sometimes load plans were changed hours before the scheduled lift due to changing situations on the ground in Guam. The first flight out was especially challenging, as it had a steep learning curve on getting all the personnel and documentation in place at the last minute to make the flight happen.” Jennifer Hollis-Mayweather was deployed to Guam in support of the recovery efforts for six weeks. As a seasoned logistics emergency response team member, her knowledge and experience made her a valuable member of the team.

“I am tracking Corps personnel, monitoring the Roofing Hotline, reserving rental cars and lodging, and issuing roofing materials to the contractors,” said Hollis-Mayweather. “I am on a regional activation mission assignment. Therefore, I assist all of the Corps activities during deployment.” Hollis-Mayweather is proud of the work she has done to help Guam begin the recovery process. “By being a part of an emergency response team, I can be a part of helping to ensure that people receive the help they need in a timely manner,” she said. “Knowing that I have helped those in need is a fantastic feeling.” Thill gave advice for those volunteering with emergency response teams following a natural disaster: “Communicate, communicate, communicate. “And be flexible,” Thill said. “If in doubt, use the phone, do not assume everything is ready and the documentation will be there when needed, and be prepared to make informed decisions. If I did not have the ability or wherewithal to directly make contact with all the parties involved in the movement of the freight, it would never have flown.” AE


Donald Vernon (left) from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Baltimore District, Dan Hunt, with the USACE Environmental Support Team, and Norbert Zimmermann, from the USACE Logistics Activity Center Operations Division use testing equipment to determine if an area is safe for use as part of an exercise for Forward Engineering Support Team-Advanced. The training was held over two weeks in Vicksburg, Mississippi. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY AMANDA RAE MORENO

Logistics Support Team Members Participate in Emergency Response Training For two weeks, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Logistics Activity (ULA) Logistics Support Teams (LST) participated in a Forward Engineer Support Team—Advanced (FEST-A) training exercise in Vicksburg, Mississippi.


uch of the exercise took place on the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center


(ERDC) campus, with additional elements taking place around the town including the Vicksburg Municipal Airport. The goal of the exercise was to familiarize the LST members with other key players

and processes that would be involved during a FEST event, including Contingency Real Estate Support Team (CREST), Environmental Support Team (EnvST), ERDC, and even Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) personnel. Madison Jones, Donald Vernon, Augustus Hector, Duane Burk, Christopher Haney, and Capt. Gewel Hamer attended the exercise on behalf of the ULA with Norbert Zimmermann, ULA Operations; Steve Maybank, logistics management specialist from the South Atlantic Division; and Jennifer Hollis-Mayweather, logistics management specialist for the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, supporting as the logistics instructors for the exercise. “The cross-training with EnvST, CREST, ERDC, and even NAVFAC was the most valuable part of the training,” said Zimmermann. “When deployed as part of a FEST-A, the LSTs need to understand what the role of each of these organizations [is] and how our efforts can help support them. This exercise accomplished that mission.” Zimmermann has been supporting the exercise for nearly a decade, along with Maybank. Hollis-Mayweather joined the instructor team in 2022. This exercise will be Maybank’s last as he moves on to retirement. His knowledge of the program will be greatly missed. “Because the LST usually consists of a small number of personnel, it is imperative that we work as a team and leverage the resources and assets already available in the theater of operations. From installations support in the continental U.S. [CONUS] to sustainment operations outside of CONUS, the logistics team must be resourceful, extending our capabilities well beyond I 129


our numbers,” said Maybank. “For the LST training, we learn to build synergy and to build relationships within our group and with other specialty teams, such as CREST and EnvST. The students learn through collaborative exercises, where the instructors serve as facilitators and guides. In this environment, conducive to learning, the students gain knowledge from each other and from the training material.” SOME OF THE DISCUSSION TOPICS INCLUDED: 1. Supply and Services in a Contingency Environment – The students review forms and records used in supply management, property accountability, and property disposal. 2. Transportation and the Defense Transportation Regulation – The students review basic transportation management, including coordinating installation deployment planning and support, transportation documentation, and container management. The students also complete an exercise for passenger services, cargo procedures, and mobilization processes, using the Defense Transportation Regulation. 3. Logistics Staff Organization and Structure – The students learn to form the logistics staff for a contingency engineering district. 4. The Transatlantic Playbook – The students review logistics from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, extracting both positive and negative actions. 5. Phases of Logistics Operations – Through group exercises, the students understand the phases of logistics that are staples of support. These phases include Deployment Planning; Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, Integration (JRSOI); Sustainment Operations; Drawdown and Closeout; and Redeployment Planning. 6. Sustainment Support – The students learn to write a statement of work for life-support operations (vehicle acquisition, ground maintenance, supply and


p Several organizations cross-trained to better understand the whole concept of an emergency response

operation overseas. Here, Sutalia Townsend instructs participants on real estate issues one may encounter during FEST. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY AMANDA RAE MORENO

services, transportation and movement services, etc.). The students learn the basic concept of the statement of work, such as the purpose and format. 7. Capstone Exercise – The Students participate in a joint exercise with the FEST, CREST, and EnvST, in which there are collaborations across engineering and logistics specialties. For the exercise, the teams develop base camp products and brief a senior officer on their findings. Chris Haney, district fleet manager for Galveston, is new to the LST program. This was the first training he attended. He said the training has given him confidence that he can support an LST when called on. “This exercise helped me prepare, because it gave me a better understanding of how we would deploy as part of the Corps,” Haney said. “From a logistic standpoint, deploying an organization comprising of both Soldiers and civilians has special considerations that need to be taken into account, as opposed to deploying a normal Army unit.”

Haney added that the ability to work within diverse groups added to the experience. “I think the most valuable part of the training is the group work, culminating in the capstone exercise,” Haney said. “This is because it takes you out of [your] comfort zone and pairs you with other disciplines and requires you to work together as a team to come up with a practicable course of action to accomplish the mission.” It was a long two weeks for those in attendance, only taking Sunday off. But the time invested was necessary to ensure all parties were up to the challenges faced when supporting logistical needs during a FEST. “I think it is necessary that this takes place over a two-week period because you need those first few days to understand what your role on the team would be,” said Haney. “If you have never been on an LST before and they just went into the capstone, you wouldn’t really know how CREST, EnvST, LST, and reconnaissance and construction all play a part in the big picture.” AE


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researchers will use this 25-acre test site in Defiance, Ohio, to find solutions to non-point source pollution in the Great Lakes Basin. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY JASON SCOTT


USACE Researchers Looking for Solutions to Great Lakes Water Quality Issues The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Buffalo District are collaborating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other federal and state agencies to find solutions to water quality issues in the Great Lakes.

he Great Lakes has a nutrient problem that is decreasing water quality,” said Jacob Berkowitz, Ph.D., research soil scientist in ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory. “Harmful algal blooms [HABs], which have been linked, in part, to excess phosphorous, are causing major issues.” According to the EPA, a collaborating agency on this project, “HABs are overgrowths of algae in water. Some produce dangerous toxins in fresh or marine water, but even non-toxic blooms hurt the environment and local economies.” HABs are caused by cyanobacteria — or blue-green algae, a nuisance species — and it impacts human health and safety, fish and wildlife, water supply, reservoir operations, and recreation. The city of Toledo, Ohio, was cut off from drinking water access for more than two days in 2014 due to a toxic HABs event in Lake Erie. There is an abundance of farmland around the Great Lakes, meaning there are fertilizers and other chemicals that are used on crops. These chemicals, including phosphorous, seep into groundwater and eventually wind up in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) identified reduction of phosphorous loading in Great Lakes watersheds as a priority item to address degraded water quality at regional scales. “EPA is excited to collaborate with USACE and the USGS on this GLRI project — a project that has been several years in the making,” said Chris Korleski, director of EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office. “This partnership allowed us to put an innovative idea into action, and as we monitor the site over the next five years, we will develop a better understanding of



how phosphorus can be retained on the landscape and kept out of Great Lakes tributaries and the Great Lakes themselves, including Lake Erie.” Researchers are looking at the possibility of using wetlands to decrease nutrient loading in the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Erie. However, some research suggests that wetlands soils have a limited capacity to retain phosphorous. In some cases, in situ soils – those soils that are in their original condition, may not have the capacity to retain additional phosphorous or may be potential phosphorous sources. In these cases, management strategies to address soil phosphorous saturation are required. “Right now, Lake Erie is having kidney failure. With the Great Black Swamp drained and few wetlands available to filter agricultural runoff, excess fertilizers are concentrating right in the lake. It’s a big problem, and solving this issue will take a team of teams,” said Lt. Col. Eli Adams, commander of the Buffalo District. “So, we’re partnering


p A pond captures water so the vegetation can filter phosphorus out before water is released back into the

system at the Phosphorus Optimal Wetland Demonstration Project in Defiance, Ohio, Aug. 24, 2022. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY ANDRE’ M. HAMPTON

with local and federal agencies in forums like the Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership. We’re also leveraging ERDC and collaborating with them on this demonstration project. It has huge potential benefits not only for the health of the Maumee River Watershed, but for communities whose residents and economies depend on the Great Lakes for a clean water supply.” Currently, research is looking at soil phosphorous storage capacity (SPSC), which was developed to estimate the capacity of soils to operate as phosphorous sinks. SPSC utilizes extractable phosphorous, aluminum, and iron. It provides a relative measure of phosphorous dynamics, and is inexpensive and rapid compared to other methods. “We are looking at the best way to use wetlands in excess nutrient, especially phosphorous, sequestration,” Berkowitz

said. “Soil characteristics determine the capacity of wetlands to sequester phosphorous; however, soil sampling protocol to document SPSC for constructed wetland siting has not been developed.” ERDC is evaluating results from an SPSC for wetland best management practices development. To date, 79 soil samples taken from eight locations have been analyzed for SPSC. Coastal and inland sample locations were identified by local project partners. The next phase of the project will be to begin testing at a 25-acre test site built in Defiance, Ohio. “We’ve seen that most locations sampled contained phosphorous storage potential,” said Berkowitz. “The SPSC method has proven useful for evaluating soil phosphorus sorption dynamics, is relatively expedient and inexpensive, and can be applied in multiple capacities.” AE


ERDC Assists the New England District in the Management of Hydrilla The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Aquatic Plant Management Team in the Environmental Laboratory is working alongside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New England District to research and develop effective methods in managing the aquatic invasive plant species hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) in the Connecticut River.


ydrilla was first detected in the Connecticut River in 2016, when the state of Connecticut discovered an unknown aquatic invasive plant species while performing aquatic plant


surveys. Testing later confirmed the presence of hydrilla. At this time, other hydrilla populations existed in the United States but the physical appearance and genetics of the Connecticut River population didn’t quite match the other known populations. This particular plant population was considered

p The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Develop-

ment Center’s (ERDC) Aquatic Plant Management Team in the Environmental Laboratory and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New England District are conducting a Hydrilla Research and Demonstration Water Study in the Connecticut River. USACE PHOTO

“genetically distinct” and therefore, limited information was available to assist in the development of management techniques. Over the past several years, hydrilla has aggressively spread throughout the Connecticut River system and into other lakes in the region, consuming lower tributaries, coves, and marinas. It causes significant ecological and economic harm by displacing native plants, altering critical fish and wildlife habitat, threatening endangered species, altering water quality, and impeding access and navigation. Dr. Benjamin Sperry, lead principal investigator with ERDC’s Aquatic Plant Management Team, stated, “Hydrilla is a completely submersed aquatic plant that is very fast-growing. Since this is a new problem to Connecticut, the state had minimal hydrilla management experience, so we are here to not only conduct research on a novel invasive plant problem, but to also provide our expertise in providing guidance to our I 133


district, state, and local partners on operational aquatic plant management.” In 2022, the Aquatic Plant Control Research Program initiated a research and demonstration project specifically on the Connecticut River hydrilla. ERDC’s Aquatic Plant Management Team proposed to simultaneously conduct small-scale background research on the biology of the plant while performing field work and developing control methods. Sperry and his team are currently leading phenology studies to determine the life cycle of the plant. “In order to better understand when we should implement management methods to get ahead of the population expanding, we have to understand how it grows,” Sperry said. In addition, the team of experts is also administering dye studies using an inert fluorescent tracer dye to identify the most effective herbicide option for each infested site. After the dye is administered, it initially appears red in color, but later becomes invisible in the water. The dye allows the specialists to understand the retention time of an herbicide in an infested area, because it moves in water the same way an herbicide does. “We use it as a surrogate to understand how the herbicide is going to move in the water. The dye is applied and then measured for a couple of weeks,” Sperry said. Different herbicides have different exposure time requirements. The Connecticut River also presents unique herbicide use challenges because it is tidally influenced. Through the dye study, the team will match up the dye retention time to the aquatic herbicide concentration and exposure time requirements derived from the small-scale mesocosm research. They will then verify their findings next year in small plot field treatments. The goal is to figure out how long an herbicide must be in contact with the hydrilla plant to be effective, while concurrently being selective toward adjacent non-target native plants. The entire project should require approximately five years, pending funding availability, as certain areas can only be tested


p The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Aquatic Plant Management Team in

the Environmental Laboratory and the USACE New England District are studying how to manage the invasive species Hydrilla verticillata. USACE PHOTO

during specific periods of the year based on the hydrilla’s growth cycle. Next year, the team plans to conduct herbicide treatments in the field that will be monitored for herbicide retention, hydrilla control, and native plant response. The ultimate goal is to develop and provide verified management techniques to

guide both hydrilla containment and control operations in the Connecticut River. “We are determining which commercially available and federally registered management tools are optimal for mitigating a new invasive species problem in a dynamic system that has critical aquatic habitats and a high user base,” said Sperry. AE


Staff Sgt. Bikram Shretha and Sgt. Daniel Driver, prime power specialists assigned to the 249th Engineer Battalion, review a list of generators ready for installation following Typhoon Mawar May 29 at the FEMA Distribution Center on Guam. Alpha Company was deployed to Guam three days before Typhoon Mawar to prepare generators for recovery operations. Prime power specialists, along with the Temporary Emergency Power Planning and Response Team from Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, deployed to Guam in support of Typhoon Mawar recovery efforts. USACE PHOTO BY ROBERT DEDEAUX

249th Engineer Battalion Powers Through Multiple Recovery Efforts The 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) is a versatile power-generation battalion assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) that provides commercial-level power to military units and federal relief organizations during full-spectrum operations. The organization is charged with the rapid provision of Army generators to support worldwide requirements. Recently, prime power production specialists have deployed to conduct electrical assessments of and provide temporary emergency power to critical facilities for multiple recovery efforts.


oldiers from Alpha and Charlie Companies deployed to Guam after Super Typhoon Mawar struck the island on May 24, 2023. After USACE received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mission assignment for temporary emergency power, the team began conducting critical facility load assessments of critical facilities such as hospitals, shelters, and water treatment plants. Prime power production specialists, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Temporary Power Planning and Response



p U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Temporary Power Planning and Response Team personnel and Soldiers with the

249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) completed the assessment and installation of two FEMA generators at water wells located in the hills above Lahaina to power the pump facilities and help restore critical infrastructure needs to west Maui. USACE PHOTO BY CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 2 MAKSYM ZYMIN

Team personnel, provided technical expertise for temporary power generation in the impacted areas. Alpha Company, 249th Engineer Battalion, deployed to assist FEMA and emergency response for wildfires on the island of Maui, Hawai’i, performing critical load assessments to restore temporary power to the pumping and lift stations to help get water flowing on the island. USACE power teams were tied in directly with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters on O’ahu and were on the ground in Maui, leading the assessment and installation of temporary emergency power generators. The teams conduct on-site inspections of existing connection points to determine serviceability and to expedite the installation of temporary power generators. Charlie Company also deployed to Florida in support of FEMA response following Hurricane Idalia. It provided temporary emergency power assessments for Task Force TEP (Temporary Emergency Power), coordinating relief efforts for critical facilities for


the citizens of Florida, as well as inspecting the emergency generators arriving at the generator staging base prior to delivery and installation. Bravo and Charlie Company Soldiers deployed to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands ahead of Tropical Storm Franklin and Hurricane Lee. The Soldiers established initial generator staging bases and conducted training exercises with local stakeholders, Task Force TEP, and FEMA. The storms did not make landfall, but the Soldiers of Bravo Company helped the island nations become more resilient through increased readiness. Bravo and Alpha Company Soldiers also assisted the FEMA response to Maine and Massachusetts in the wake of Hurricane Lee. The 249th Engineer Battalion consists of a Headquarters and Headquarters Company, and three active duty line companies, Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, as well as a reserve unit, Delta Company. The 249th Engineer Battalion also operates the Prime Power Production School in Fort Leonard Wood. The Prime Power School trains and qualifies the Army’s

prime power production specialist (MOS 12P) following a one-year course that includes math, physics, electrical and mechanical engineering, thermodynamics, power plant operations, theory of operations for combustion engines, electrical schematic and electrical safety and load planning and assessments, along with three additional ASI for electrical, instrumentation, and mechanical expertise. Each line company has a headquarters and four to six platoons comprised of a warrant officer and 17 noncommissioned officers. The platoons are capable of setting up, operating, and repairing complete medium-voltage power generation and distribution systems worldwide. Alpha Company, 249th Engineer Battalion, consisting of a company headquarters and four prime power platoons, is located at Schofield Barracks, Hawai’i. Bravo Company, 249th Engineer Battalion is located at Fort Liberty, North Carolina. Charlie Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company are located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Delta Company, comprised of all Reserve Soldiers, has its headquarters and three platoons at Cranston, Rhode Island, and one platoon at Fort Belvoir, Virginia Each platoon has the capability to produce approximately 3 megawatts of power at 4,160 volts (medium voltage). The newly fielded individual generator size is 840 kilowatts (kW). These medium-voltage generators require transformers to convert the voltage to a user level (120/208/277/480 volts). The battalion offers a variety of services, including: electrical power requirement assessment and power production; transformer inspection and test analysis; maintenance and repair of power plants, substations, and government-owned or -managed transmission and distribution systems; circuit breaker and relay maintenance; infrared surveys; medium-voltage electrical contractor oversight; and training for personnel to operate and maintain prime power distribution and generation equipment. AE

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Articles inside

Interview: Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers

pages 14-16, 18-19

America's Engineers: The People, Programs, and Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

pages 20-21, 24-26, 28

USACE Launches $7.5 Billion Financing Program

pages 30-31


pages 32-34

USACE Buffalo District Constructs Emerald Shiner Passage Structure

page 35

National Roofing Program Inspects Army Reserve Facilities Following Hurricane Ian

pages 36-38

Pittsburgh District Breaks Ground on First Step in Updating Aging Navigation System on Upper Ohio River

pages 39-41

Building Momentum: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

pages 42-45

Corps of Engineers Builds Underwater Sill in Mississippi River to Slow Saltwater Intrusion During Low Water Conditions

pages 46-47

Mississippi River Drought Affects Navigation

pages 48-49

USACE Hosts Reciprocal Mekong River Commission Exchange Visit

pages 50-51

USACE Project Receives National Academy of Construction Award

page 54

USACE Team Fights Floods in New England

pages 56-57

New Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Complex Aims to Save Lives

pages 58-59


pages 60-63

Omaha District Completes First Construction Project Under Tribal Partnership Program

pages 64-67

From a Bogey to Birdies, From Fairway to Flyway – Golf Course Gets a Mulligan, Converts to Habitat

pages 68-69

Military and International Operations: USACE’s Founding Mission

pages 70-75


pages 76-77

America's Engineers: The People, Programs, and Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

pages 78-81

Army Engineers Finalizing the U.S. Military’s $10.7 Billion Relocation Effort in South Korea

pages 82-83

Army Engineers Construct Half a Billion Dollars in Family Housing Towers on Camp Humphreys

pages 84, 86-87

Charleston District Teams up With Other Agencies for Nonstructural Flood Risk Management Project

pages 88-89

New Barricade to Provide Vital Security at Savannah River Site

page 90

America's Engineers: The People, Programs, and Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

pages 93-94

Environmental Remediation: USACE Expertise in High Demand

pages 94-99


pages 100-101

USACE Lowers Isabella Dam Risk Rating, Lifts Operating Restrictions After Unveiling Dam Improvements

pages 102-103

LA District Preps for Hurricane Hilary, Keeps Public Safe, Captures Water from Storm

pages 104-105

Multiple Agencies Collaborate to Provide Homeless Individuals Shelter Before Tropical Storm

pages 106-107

Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations

pages 108-113

USACE Supports the Fort Cavazos Safety Day Event

pages 114-115

USACE Relies on Strong Partnerships With Its Customers, and Large and Small Businesses, to Deliver Quality Engineering Solutions

pages 116-117

SWF Hosts Emergency Management Public Law 84-99 Outreach Session

page 118

America's Engineers: The People, Programs, and Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

pages 119-120, 122-123

Strong Partnerships a Catalyst for Innovation

pages 123-124

USACE Offers Planning Support to Mission Partners Around the Globe

page 125

Engineering in the Cloud

pages 126-127

Software Wins Innovation Award for Predictive Flooding Capabilities Following Fires

pages 128-130

CRIDA Gets French and Arabic Translations

page 130

Logistics Activity Supports Typhoon Mawar Response

pages 131-132

Logistics Support Team Members Participate in Emergency Response Training

pages 133-134

USACE Researchers Looking for Solutions to Great Lakes Water Quality Issues

pages 135-136

ERDC Assists the New England District in the Management of Hydrilla

pages 137-138

249th Engineer Battalion Powers Through Multiple Recovery Efforts

pages 139-140
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