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NCCOS, USACE Collaborations Highlighted in New Engineering With Nature® Podcast Series

Published on: 09/23/2020
Primary Contact(s): paula.whitfield@noaa.gov

Top: Aerial view of Swan Island in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, following placement of approximately 60,000 cubic yards of dredged sediment; placement completed in April 2019. Bottom: Taken in August 2020, this aerial view of Swan Island illustrates the maturation of vegetation following installation of approximately 200,000 dune and marsh plants; planting completed in July 2019. Credit: NOAA.

NCCOS and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering With Nature® (EWN) Initiative began collaborating on coastal and community restoration projects in 2016. These collaborations take center stage in the debut season of the EWN podcast series Engineering With Nature®.

To mark EWN’s 10th anniversary, USACE launched the podcasts to showcase what has been achieved, to share knowledge developed through EWN collaborations, and to share the opportunity to apply EWN principles and practices in the U.S. and around the world. EWN seeks to harness the power of nature to achieve economic, environmental, and social benefits known as "triple-win" outcomes, and this new podcast series tells the stories of the innovative people working to implement EWN.

In the 5th podcast episode, NCCOS research ecologist Paula Whitfield discusses the important role of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) — which include wetlands, mud flats, oyster and coral reefs, mangroves, sea grasses, maritime forests, as well as beaches, dunes, and islands — to enhance and improve coastal resilience, and how these strategies are being used to help communities adapt to changing conditions such as sea level rise. Paula also discusses the Swan Island Restoration project in the Chesapeake Bay, a current NCCOS and USACE collaboration to evaluate the impacts and benefits of using dredged sediments for island restoration.

NCCOS researchers are also adding their expertise to the International NNBF Guidelines Project. Led by EWN, the project will develop International Guidelines on the use of Natural and Nature-based Features to serve as a blueprint to support practitioners, researchers, engineers, and others. The Guidelines will be available at the start of 2021.

The effective use of NNBF approaches requires data to provide guidance on how, where, and when to best employ NNBF solutions. NCCOS provides the research and science components to help coastal communities use NNBF as an effective strategy to enhance their resilience.

NOAA figure that illustrates benefits derived from restored islands.

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