Dr. Jennifer Miller, a supervisory environmental engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Chicago District, reached the half-way mark in her research project with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) six-month detail program known as ERDC University, or ERDC-U.
Miller has seen significant progress during her research project titled, “Investigation of Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Opportunities in Nearshore Great Lakes Environments, using Engineering With Nature Principles,” which targets the best use of sediment for natural shoreline restoration.
“Recent historically high lake levels have demonstrated the extent of human impacts on Great Lakes shorelines with significant coastal erosion damage especially near key natural areas,” Dr. Miller said. “I am working on regionally based sediment source and placement location identification for western Lake Michigan.”
Miller is currently involved in field work with her ERDC-U mentors, research biologist Dr. Burton Suedel with the ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory, and research hydraulic engineer Dr. Brian McFall with the ERDC’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory.
Miller and Suedel visited a sediment placement site used by the Chicago District the previous year for placing navigational dredging material for shoreline stabilization and other eco-restoration sites nearby.
“Although the area appears somewhat more stable, we believe there is strong potential for an Engineering With Nature® project that would help protect the adjacent natural area and would provide a more sustainable coastal condition in this area,” Miller said.
Engineering With Nature is the intentional alignment of natural and engineering processes to efficiently, and sustainably, deliver economic, environmental and social benefits through collaboration.