U.S., the Netherlands team up on the topic of water

Implementing nature-based engineering solutions is a growing field, but it’s not yet a mainstream practice. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Rijkswaterstaat, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management are hoping to change that.

Working under a memorandum of understanding, the organizations are collaborating on mainstreaming Nature-Based Solutions, which is the sustainable management and use of natural features and processes to tackle socio-environmental challenges.

USACE has several partnerships on this topic, but the exchange with Rijkswaterstaat brings lessons learned from a country with extensive experiences in using nature to protect against climate change.

“The Dutch are excellent at engineering with nature,” said Guillermo Mendoza, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources (IWR) International Program Manager.

“Due to the country’s geographical placement along multiple river deltas and floodplains, the Netherlands has been battling coastal flooding for centuries. Their engineers bring a lot to the table, and we hope to leverage their insights and innovations as we as build upon solutions together.”

As part of the collaboration, IWR, located in Alexandria, Va., is hosting Matthijs Boersema from Rijkswaterstaat, who began a two-year employee exchange Sept. 11.

Boersema works for the Dutch equivalent to the Institute for Water Resources and is also slated to continue working as a project manager of European Union-funded Nature-Based Solutions projects.

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Photo: Holly Kuzmitski, USACE