Designing Nature to Enhance Resilience for Built Infrastructure in Western U.S. Landscapes

Our Goals

Our goals are to broaden the definition of natural infrastructure to include natural assets below and above ground and altered or unaltered by human use, and create the science necessary to understand how NI is cross-sectoral and includes the same dependencies that link BWI to other critical infrastructure sectors; Develop a modeling, analysis, and visualization platform for siting and co-operating portfolios of interoperable assets of natural and built water infrastructure, that will align with field implementation projects (Army Corps studies), in collaboration with state agencies; Leverage our modeling toolkits to provide rapid, quantitative, scenario-based assessment of outcomes of combinations of natural and built water infrastructure within a multi-stakeholder environment; Help N-EWN create a value proposition for natural infrastructure within the UASCE and beyond and create equitable solutions that deliver benefits to the most inclusive base of end users

About natural infrastructure

Natural infrastructure can be defined as a network of natural or semi-natural features that [intends to accomplish] the same objectives as built infrastructure (Palmer et al. 2015). Natural water infrastructure (NWI) under this definition can include wetlands, healthy soils, forest ecosystems, and snowpack and the water it provides through runoff and this NWI provides services that include flood protection, erosion control, water storage, and purification. Some barriers to fully integrating NWI into built water infrastructure (BWI) systems include this narrowed definition of NWI (which has itself limited the science), and a lack of integrated modeling tools to evaluate NWI in a more coordinated context with BWI.

In the News

  • N-EWN Member Dr. Amber Wutich named a 2023 MacArthur fellow

    N-EWN Member Dr. Amber Wutich named a 2023 MacArthur fellow

    We are immensely proud to share that Dr. Amber Wutich, a N-EWN member from Arizona State University, has been named a 2023 MacArthur Fellow. Wutich specializes in water insecurity, and investigates its impacts on human well-being. Her work was recently covered by NPR, where they referred to her “groundbreaking research showing how social structures[…] are used…