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Alignment of U. S. ACE Civil Works Missions to Restore Habitat and Increase Environmental Resiliency

Kress, Marin M., Touzinsky, Katherine F., Vuxton, Emily A., Greenfeld, Bari, Lillycrop, Linda S., Rosati, Julie D.
Coastal Management 2016 v.44 no.3 pp. 193-208
United States Army Corps of Engineers, case studies, ecosystem services, engineering, habitat conservation, habitats, landscapes, risk management, sediments, waterways
The Civil Works mission area of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) spans multiple programs including navigation, flood risk management, infrastructure construction and operation, and environmental stewardship–including restoration and regulation of protected waterways. The national scope of USACE activities means that habitat preservation and restoration projects vary in size and type, while often intersecting spatially with projects under other USACE missions. This intersection can create management challenges that must be resolved. Two USACE initiatives, Engineering With Nature and Regional Sediment Management, explore and implement best practices that combine natural processes and restoration needs with management requirements. This article presents four case studies describing initiatives to 1) design, rehabilitate, and manage infrastructure in alignment with natural processes; 2) manage sediments on a regional scale to support the re-use of material removed from navigation channels for coastal and riverine resiliency, and 3) develop landscape-level plans for waterways management to support conservation efforts. The cumulative effect of multiple efforts to restore functionality lost through anthropogenic alterations and long-term geological change is expected to be a more resilient system at the landscape scale. However, challenges remain in quantifying resilience and the benefits provided by ecosystem services that are affected by management actions.