U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UGA form Network for Engineering with Nature

Sarah Buckleitner, sarah.buckleitner@uga.edu

Contact: Sarah Buckleitner, sarah.buckleitner@uga.edu

A woman stands amid green algae and rocks. Photo: Network for Engineering with Nature.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Georgia recently announced a partnership that connects the interdisciplinary expertise of UGA’s Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems with the vast on-the-ground experience of USACE’s Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) Initiative to form the Network for Engineering With Nature.

Through this partnership and a new $2.5 million award to UGA from USACE, researchers are expanding and accelerating EWN and the practice of natural infrastructure in the public and private sectors.

EWN is an initiative developed by USACE to efficiently and sustainably deliver economic, environmental and social benefits through the use of natural infrastructure. By using a combination of natural and conventional processes and materials, natural infrastructure can protect people, homes and habitats. It can come in many forms and scales, including sand dunes engineered to prevent erosion, floodplains along rivers, which allow the river to ebb and flow without flood risk to communities, and coastal wetlands, which filter out pollution and provide habitat. 

Odum School faculty members Amy Rosemond and Seth Wenger are among sixteen UGA researchers from 10 different colleges and departments who will apply their expertise to the Network for Engineering with Nature’s mission. The project leader for UGA is principal investigator Brian Bledsoe, UGA Athletic Association Professor in Resilient Infrastructure in the College of Engineering.

The N-EWN partnership will also draw from the expertise of the UGA’s River Basin Center and Center for Integrative Conservation Research. In addition, an equal number of researchers from USACE will add their knowledge and skill to the network, led by Dr. Todd Bridges, the EWN National Lead and Dr. Jeffrey King, EWN Deputy National Lead.

“We are delighted to be working closely with USACE’s world class researchers. Together, we can take our research on natural infrastructure to the next level and inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists who will reshape the nation’s water resources infrastructure,” Bledsoe said of the partnership.

In an ambitious set of pilot projects, the researchers will improve methods for using natural infrastructure to strengthen community resilience, create models and dashboards that allow designers to map out how natural infrastructure can provide more benefits to society, and inspire a new generation of engineers, ecologists and social scientists to utilize natural infrastructure through education and workforce development.

Find more at https://n-ewn.org/ and by following the hashtag #N-EWN on Twitter and Instagram.