Coastal Engineering Meeting in September

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, will host the 92nd Coastal Engineering Research Board (CERB) meeting on September 1-3, 2015, at the district’s headquarters building in Galveston, Texas.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the U.S. Gulf region’s engineering challenges with nature, and nature-based systems to enhance the resilience of coastal systems and marine transportation infrastructure and sustain the values they produce.

Both the Texas and national economies rely heavily on the Texas gulf coast,” said Col. Richard P. Pannell, USACE Galveston District commander. “It’s imperative that we strike a balance between industrial expansion and the health of our ecosystem, working to ensure it can withstand and recover from future disasters, while identifying research and development needs to enable the Corps to deliver innovative solutions to meet these challenges and opportunities.”

According to Pannell, the Corps continues to play a vital role in supporting waterborne transportation across the nation and internationally on movement of energy products and a wide range of other manufactured goods. This principally occurs through both deep and shallow draft commercial navigation activities.

Our Texas navigation channels are nestled in unique and significant coastal habitats along the coast that we must restore and protect as nationally-valued resources,” said Pannell. “In direct relation, we are experiencing well over $100 billion in non-federal investment for coastal infrastructure improvement to keep up with energy product delivery demand.”

According to Pannell, that investment is driving community development at the coast, which is an emerging coastal flood risk with rising sea levels and persistent hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Maintaining the environmental health of coastal wetlands is crucial to ensuring the continued success of many of the nation’s vital industries.

What the Corps does now to manage coastal sediments regionally and engineer with nature will increase the potential that we will realize a rich spectrum of economic and ecosystem service benefits, which can be derived from planned and implemented natural and nature-based features that function seamlessly with engineered structures,” said Dr. Edmond Russo, USACE Galveston District’s deputy district engineer for programs and project management. “Since our actions will shape the future for a generation on America’s energy coast, it is compelling for the federal family to take stock of the opportunities unfolding here to shape the course of action from a regional perspective while managing civil works program execution across mission business lines and being good stewards of the environment.”

The Corps is advancing high priority coastal storm risk management studies on the Texas coast to address these problems and needs, said Russo.

The key for us is understanding and planning for sustainable community resiliency, risk reduction to life and property, and ecosystem restoration at integrated systems scale across multiple water resources management objectives, driven by our partners and stakeholders,” said Russo.

According to Jose E. Sanchez, SES, PE, director of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory and alternate designated federal officer of the Coastal Engineering Research Board, the CERB provides guidance to the Army’s Chief of Engineers pertaining to the field of coastal engineering research and development for the benefit of the Army and the nation.

The board meets semi-annually around the U.S. coastline and the Great Lakes on a rotating basis.

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