ERDC Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) researchers participated in a kick-off workshop in St. Augustine, FL with the University of Florida’s Center for Coastal Solutions through a partnership within the Network for Engineering with Nature. The ongoing collaborative effort which includes the ERDC Coastal and Hydraulics Lab, the ERDC Environmental Lab, and the University of Florida, is focused on understanding ecological drivers of coastal dune stability and coastal dune morphologic behavior on varying timescales, to inform restoration, nourishment, and management guidance.

Through a partnership with the University of Florida within the Network for Engineering With Nature, researchers from the ERDC Coastal and Hydraulics Lab participated in a workshop held at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) in St. Augustine, Florida. The research effort, led by PIs Christine Angelini (UF), and Leigh Provost (ERDC-CHL) includes researchers from both the ERDC Coastal and Hydraulics Lab, the ERDC Environmental Lab, and student and faculty members within UF’s Center for Coastal Solutions. The research effort synergizes field experiments, observational surveys, physical modeling, and numerical modeling to evaluate ecological drivers of dune stability to better inform restoration design and coastal dune management guidance. The workshop consisted of project task updates from researchers and students, communication plans, stakeholder engagement and collaboration discussions, site visits, as well as additional field work to trial run new instrumentation for a larger field effort planned for early summer.

The University of Florida has developed strong relationships with their local partners and stakeholders in Northeast Florida and as such has had the opportunity to investigate a unique, spatially diverse coastline. Through this partnership, UF and ERDC are combining both resources and expertise to execute state-of-the-art coastal research geared at improving our understanding of natural coastal systems to better inform beach restoration and nourishment guidance. Additionally, through this collaborative effort, students are given the opportunity to work side by side with ERDC researchers, generating opportunities for future careers at ERDC and in the USACE and creating a recipe for success for future recruitment.

Feature image: University of Florida and ERDC Researchers at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

Image: Post-Doc Joe Morton (UF) explaining his field experiments investigating species interactions of dune grasses to enhance plant growth.

This work was funded by the USACE Engineering With Nature® (EWN®)

POC: Leigh Provost


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