The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District has announced the launch of the Seven Mile Island Living Laboratory.
According to USACE, this is an initiative designed to advance and improve dredging and marsh restoration techniques in coastal New Jersey through innovative research, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and practical application. USACE has partnered with the State of New Jersey and the non-profit Wetlands Institute on the concept.
Seven Mile Island, located in Cape May County, N.J., is backed by 6000 acres of state-owned marshland that provides both critical habitat for birds, fish, shellfish and other wildlife, and coastal resilience for barrier island communities. Marshes in this area, as well as throughout the region, are showing signs of degradation and are vulnerable to impact from rising seas.
“The Living Lab initiative will help us continue to learn by enhancing the science behind projects, improve our methods using a systems approach, and evaluate innovative solutions that are based on Regional Sediment Management and Engineering With Nature principles,” said USACE Project Manager Monica Chasten.
“We modeled the laboratory on a concept used internationally – it provides a forum to advance technical knowledge, demonstrate novel approaches, develop new tools and technologies, and enhance collaborative efforts on new projects.”
One focus area for the Living Lab will be to build on the success of these demonstration projects and implement future projects with a more systematic approach. The Living Laboratory will establish a forum for experts to share knowledge, provide input, and disseminate information to stakeholders.
Seven Mile Island Living Lab research activities, data collection efforts and Working Group meetings will kick off in April 2019.