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Dedicated to the USA, Host Country of PIANCs AGA 2014
and the 33
PIANC World Congress
KEYWORDS: Sustainability, natural infrastructure,
ecosystem approach
MOTS-CLES: Durabilit, infrastructure naturelle, ap-
proche par cosystme
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer-
ing With Nature (EWN) initiative supports sustainable
development of infrastructure by advancing techni-
cal practices and communication in order to align
natural and engineering processes to effciently and
sustainably deliver economic, environmental and
social benefts through collaborative processes [1].
The tools and projects that have been developed
through EWN support planning, engineering and
operational practices that benefcially integrate
engineering and natural systems to produce more
socially acceptable, economically viable and envi-
ronmentally sustainable projects as shown in Figure
1. The EWN initiatives focus on developing practical
methods provides an achievable path toward an
ecosystem approach to infrastructure development
and operations that is applicable across USACE mis-
sions and business lines. By combining sound science
and engineering with advanced communication
practices, the EWN initiative is providing a robust
foundation for effective collaboration with our part-
ners and stakeholders.
Figure 1 (Source: [1]): EWN promotes triple-win out-
comes. This initiative provides the practical means
for systematically integrating social, environmental
and economic considerations into decision making
throughout project development. This fgure shows
how overlapping benefts are achieved resulting in
sustainable projects.
Todd S. Bridges, Jeff Lillycrop, Tom Fredette, Burton Suedel, Cynthia Banks & Edmond Russo
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi, United States,
Joe Wilson
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C., United States
Tool development and demonstration projects
within the EWN initiative illustrate the use of:
Science and engineering to produce opera-
tional effciencies supporting sustainable deliv-
ery of project benefts
Natural processes to maximum beneft, thereby
reducing demands on limited resources, mini-
mising the environmental footprint of projects,
and enhancing the quality of project benefts
Approaches that will broaden and extend the
base of benefts provided by projects to include
substantiated economic, social and environ-
mental benefts
Science-based collaborative processes to or-
ganise and focus interests, stakeholders and
partners to reduce social friction, resistance and
project delays while producing more broadly
acceptable projects
Engineering With Nature is being pursued through
innovative research, feld demonstrations, com-
municating lessons learnt and active engage-
ment with feld practitioners and USACE partners
and stakeholders. The objectives of EWN are simi-
lar to those communicated in the Working with
Nature philosophy of the World Association for
Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) [2]
and the goals of EcoShapes Building with Nature
programme in The Netherlands.
The capabilities and practices being developed
through the EWN initiative provide direct support to
the USACE Civil Works Strategic Plan (Sustainable
Solutions to Americas Water Resources Needs:
Civil Works Strategic Plan 2011-2015), the USACE
Campaign Plan (e.g. Objectives 1c, 2c, 2d, 4b)
[3], as well as the recently reinvigorated USACE
Environmental Operating Principles [4]. Develop-
ing sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems
for military installations and Civil Works will require
USACE to evolve its approaches to planning, engi-
neering and operating infrastructure. Advancing
our practices will involve identifying the practical
actions that can be taken to better align and inte-
grate engineering and natural systems to produce
more socially acceptable, economically viable
and environmentally sustainable projects.
2. EWN in Practice
The EWN initiative is developing and demonstrat-
ing, through multiple projects, the capabilities that
are needed to achieve sustainable, triple-win proj-
ect outcomes. The following project summaries
are provided to illustrate the range of supporting
projects that are completed or underway.
2.1 Sustainable Sediment Management
through Strategic Placement and Innovative
Benefcial Use Practices
In the Civil Works Navigation Programme, sedi-
ment management is a costly and challenging
endeavour. Designated placement sites are lim-
ited in space and environmental restrictions limit
where sediment can be placed and how it can
be used. The EWN initiative, in collaboration with
the Regional Sediment Management (RSM) Pro-
gramme, is focusing technology development
and feld demonstrations to highlight opportunities
for innovative sediment management practices
that can reduce operational costs while also pro-
viding for an expanded range of environmental
benefts. Members of the EWN team have been
collaborating with Philadelphia, Jacksonville and
Mobile Districts of USACE (in addition to others) on
a range of navigation projects where EWN ap-
proaches can provide more sustainable solutions
for sediment management. EWN principles and
practices are being used by Philadelphia District
to plan and design post-Sandy dredging projects
that will create new environmental habitats along
the coast of New Jersey. In-bay, thin-layer place-
ment of sediment is currently being pursued and
demonstrated by Mobile District as an alternative
to using the ocean dredged material disposal site,
as shown in Figure 2. The in-bay alternatives would
provide substantial cost savings, reduce fuel us-
age associated with as much as a 30 mile tran-
sit distance, while providing for several benefcial
uses of sediment. The EWN team members part-
nered with the RSM Programme to provide techni-
cal and scientifc support in identifying and moni-
toring placement sites in Mobile Bay. Sediment
placement within Mobile Bay will help to retain
sediments within the system, provide opportunities
for wetlands and marsh creation and provide hun-
dreds of acres of critical habitat.
Figure 2 (Source: Courtesy of Mobile District): In-bay
placement sites in Mobile Bay, AL are shown.
This project demonstrates EWN by utilising
sediment benefcially. This encourages the concept
that dredged material is a resource.
2.2 Science that Informs How Biology Makes
Use of Engineering
Threatened and Endangered Species signifcant-
ly affect many USACE mission areas (e.g. food
risk management, navigation, hydropower gen-
eration, water supply). Populations of the Interior
Least Tern (ILT), as shown in Figure 3, are generally
associated with sandbar habitats on large rivers
of the central United States, and as such, have
caused considerable confict in several USACE
mission areas, leading to increased expenditures.
The USACE Navigation Programme, through the
Dredging Operations Technical Support and the
Dredging Operations Environmental Research
Programmes, has formed an EWN collaboration
with the American Bird Conservancy and the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop a
range-wide meta-population model for ITL (www. In addition to providing the scien-
tifc, ecological basis for evaluating cost-effcient
project designs and management scenarios, the
model is also being used to provide evidence
for delisting ITL from the endangered species list,
which would dramatically reduce USACE project

Figure 3 (Source: Courtesy of Dr. Richard Fischer,
ERDC): This fgure shows an ILT nesting on a sandbar.
The ILT is a federally endangered species. Evidence is
being currently provided to encourage delisting the ILT.
An Engineer Research and Development Centre
(ERDC) led project sponsored by Department of
Defense (DoD) Strategic Environmental Research
and Development Programme has developed
an approach for evaluating alternative manage-
ment scenarios to address environmental effects
on Threatened and Endangered coastal birds that
will be caused by sea level rise at military instal-
lations. The project integrated climate, land use
and ecosystem information into a tool set that as-
sesses vulnerabilities related to Threatened and
Endangered bird species at Eglin Air Force Base.
The presence of these coastal birds currently pos-
es restrictions on land used for training. The project
team developed a series of modelling and as-
sessment tools to evaluate alternative, long-term
investments strategies that would minimise the
compounding infuence of sea level rise and bird
habitat effects on installation land use and train-
2.3 Building Habitat into Breakwaters

An ERDC-led project sponsored by the Great Lakes
Restoration Initiative is being used to demonstrate
opportunities to expand the range of benefts
that can be provided by infrastructure projects.
As shown in Figure 4, during routine maintenance
of breakwaters in Cleveland Harbour in 2012 and
2013, design modifcations were made to the
submerged toe blocks of the structure to provide
features that will create habitat opportunities for
Great Lakes fsh and invertebrates. Existing break-
waters constructed in the Great Lakes provide lim-
ited habitat for fsh and invertebrates, mostly in the
form of small refuge spaces between concrete or
rock sections, while the rest of the structure is rela-
tively inhospitable for most organisms due to the
featureless nature of the blocks. The Cleveland
Harbour Green Breakwaters Project is examin-
ing the opportunities to create substantially more
habitat surface on the breakwater by modifying
the shape and surface texture of the constructed
blocks using textured liners or modifed walls in the
concrete block forms.
Monitoring will be conducted throughout 2013 to
document how the modifed toe blocks perform
in terms of providing environmental habitat and
benefts in comparison to unmodifed toe blocks.
In order to evaluate the approach more broadly,
Ashtabula Harbour, which is along the southern
shore of Lake Erie at the mouth of the Ashtabula
River, has been identifed as a second project site.
The Ashtabula project will incorporate tern nesting
blocks on top of the breakwater.
Figure 4 (Source: Courtesy of Buffalo District):
This fgure shows a habitat-enhanced toe block being
installed as a part of breakwater repair operations.
The face of the toe block has been modifed with
horizontal lines. The project is located on a Cleveland
Harbour breakwater.
2.4 Monitored Natural Recovery Guidance
for Contaminated Sediment Site Remediation
In 2009, ERDC team members collaborated with
the U.S. Navy and the private sector in developing
and publishing a DoD technical guide on the use
of Monitored Natural Recovery for contaminated
sediment sites (
Sediments/ER-200622). Development of the guid-
ance was sponsored by DoDs Environmental
Security Technology Certifcation Programme to
support clean-up activities within the Department.
The U.S. Navy estimates that its sediment clean-up
liabilities include US$ 1 billion in future remedia-
tion costs. The guidance document provides a
science and engineering framework for utilising
naturally occurring physical, chemical and bio-
logical processes to accomplish risk reduction at
contaminated sediment sites. The guidance illus-
trates opportunities for applying EWN for sediment
clean-up at substantially lower costs both in
economic and environmental terms compared
to conventional methods that predominantly rely
upon sediment removal.
2.5 EWN GIS Mapper Tool for Communicating
Best Practice
The Engineering With Nature Project Mapper (EWN
ProMap) is a geography-based data viewer for
communicating information about projects that
illustrate EWN opportunities. The EWN ProMap,
shown in Figure 5, provides project information
on water resources projects that illustrate key at-
tributes of the EWN approach: 1) science and en-
gineering is used to produce operational effcien-
cies, 2) making maximum use of natural processes,
3) broadening the range of benefts provided by
the project, 4) using science-based collaborative
processes. The overall aim of EWN ProMap is to
provide a communication tool that allows users to
explore and share information relevant to devel-
oping projects that implement EWN principles and
practices. Projects can be viewed based upon
infrastructure type (e.g. dredging project, break-
water, lock and dam) or by their environmental
or social benefts. Many current and past USACE
(and partner) projects have incorporated EWN
principles and practices. Broadly communicat-
ing this portfolio of projects within and external to
USACE will provide opportunities for expanding on
these successes.

Figure 5 (Source: Courtesy of Mr. Austin Davis, ERDC):
The EWN ProMap shows icons that represent project
locations and type. Projects that exemplify EWN can
be entered into the mapper. It is maintained by ERDC.
Examples of projects included in the EWN ProMap
include Mobile Districts Deer Island Restoration
Project, St. Louis Districts use of river chevrons,
and Wilmington Districts coastal reef constructed
of rock dredged from the Cape Fear River, North
Carolina. The Deer Island project aims to re-estab-
lish marsh along the Mississippi coast. The com-
plete restoration is shown in Figure 6. This project
represents an EWN opportunity by demonstrating
the use of strategic placement of sediment for
benefcial use of dredged material. The project
approach maintains sand in the littoral coastal
system and contributes to sustainable fsheries by
providing essential habitat for juvenile fsh, crabs,
and shrimp. Multiple benefts, including recreation,
shoreline and storm protection, marsh restoration
and habitat creation are achieved as a result of
this project.
Figure 6 (Source: Courtesy of Mobile District):
This fgure shows an aerial view of Deer Island
post restoration. Deer Island has survived multiple
storm events. It continues to be a habitat source for a
number of bird species and sea turtle eggs have been
documented on the island as well.
The St. Louis District has led the way for river engi-
neering with its use of chevrons that direct fows to
maintain the location of the navigation channel
while preserving the function of secondary chan-
nels for habitat along the Mississippi River, as shown
in Figure 7. These structures are sustainable in that
they create and/or improve habitat for fsh, mac-
ro-invertebrates and other species in the river. In
addition, these structures utilise the rivers energy
to maintain navigable depths in the main chan-
nel, improve current sets through the navigation
spans of several bridges and deposit sediment
downstream of the chevrons for increased envi-
ronmental diversity in the reach which ultimately
reduces dredging. The St. Louis Districts projects
embody the EWN concept by demonstrating how
cost-effective engineering practices can enhance
the habitat value of navigation infrastructure.

Figure 7 (Source: Courtesy of St. Louis District): This
fgure shows an aerial photo of chevrons at Bolters Bar
on the Mississippi River. River training structures, such as
chevrons, address problems associated with dynamic
rivers. They have proven to not only have provided
navigation benefts, but considerable environmental
benefts as well.
In the late 1990s, as a part of a capital dredging
project on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, NC,
an offshore hard-bottom reef was constructed us-
ing rock dredged from the river. Standard prac-
tice would have been to dispose of the rock in the
designated disposal site. However, members of the
project team in the Wilmington District recognised
the opportunity to create a regionally rare form of
coastal habitat in the South-East Coast of the Unit-
ed States. The project team collaborated with en-
gineers and biologists to design the offshore reef
called the Wilmington Offshore Fisheries Enhance-
ment Structure (WOFES). The reefs longest arm,
known as Leg A, is approximately one nautical
mile in length and Leg B is 2,000 feet long which is
shown in Figure 8. Fisheries surveys performed after
construction of the structure have documented
the environmental benefts associated with the
project, which has served as the location of mul-
tiple fshing tournaments since its construction.
Figure 8 (Source: Courtesy of Wilmington District): The
L-shaped structure is one of the largest constructed
reefs in the United States. This project demonstrates
dredged material can be purposefully used to make
essential fsh habitat. The WOFES is very popular
recreational site for fshermen.
2.6 Engineering With Nature for Coastal
Engineering With Nature research scientists creat-
ed a research partnership in 2012 that seeks to ac-
complish three goals: 1) advance the effciency of
engineering and operational practices involving
dredging and dredged material management, 2)
expand and extend environmental benefts pro-
duced through sediment management and 3) im-
prove the resilience and sustainability of coastal
systems facing short- and long-term uncertainties
related to climate change and other drivers. The
collaboration draws together scientists and engi-
neers from ERDC, USFWS, U.S. Geological Survey
and other organisations to develop capabilities
to characterise and manage coastal wetlands
in response to sediment and nutrient fux, climate
change and sea level rise and benefcial use of
dredged sediments. The project is applying ad-
vanced technologies for measuring, predicting
and promoting mineralogical sediment processes
in coastal wetland environments in order to sus-
tain these features into the future. Figure 9 shows
multiple plantings intended for wetland creation.
The tools and technologies developed through
this collaboration support planning, engineering
and operations in coastal systems. This joint effort
represents a research partnership that spans the
Navigation, Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Risk
Management business lines.
Figure 9 (Source: Courtesy of Dr. Craig Fischenich,
ERDC): This fgure shows multiple plantings arranged
for wetland creation on the Louisiana coast. Coastal
systems are a critical component of our nations infra-
structure. The USACE recognises the need to
encourage and sustain the resilience of our coasts.
3. Conclusion
Solutions that benefcially integrate engineering
and natural systems can greatly support sustain-
able development of water resources, coastal
and port infrastructure. Engineering With Nature
enables more sustainable delivery of economic,
social and environmental benefts associated with
infrastructure while directly supporting USACEs
Civil Works strategic planning goals and other di-
rectives. Such directives encourage creating syn-
ergies between sustainability and the execution of
projects and programmes. There are a multitude
of existing and developing projects in the U.S. that
exemplify aspects of the EWN approach that 1)
makes use of science and engineering to gen-
erate operational effciencies, 2) maximises the
productive use of natural process, 3) expands the
range of benefts provided by projects and 4) ap-
plies science-based collaborative approaches. A
wide variety of projects in marine coastal, riverine
and large freshwater lake environments are al-
ready in place and there are major opportunities
for the USACE to expand EWN in the near future.
The projects provided above are good models
for how EWN can be applied in the future in that
the capabilities developed and demonstrated
through EWN are broadly applicable and relevant
across the USACE mission and business lines. Ad-
vancing the use of EWN within current and future
practice will continue to be pursued through in-
novative demonstrations, communicating about
lessons learned, focused research and develop-
ment, and active engagement and collaboration
with our partners and stakeholders. As the USACE
does more with less, EWN will help expand the
range of benefts provided through our water re-
sources, coastal and port infrastructure, which will
ultimately lead to more sustainable projects.
4. References
[1] U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) (2012):
Engineering With Nature Fact Sheet,,
accessed July 7, 2012.
[2] PIANC (2011): PIANC Position Paper. Working
with Nature,
(accessed October 4, 2012).
[3] U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) (2011):
Department of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Sustainable Solutions to Americas Water Re-
sources Needs-Civil Works Strategic Plan 2011-
(accessed October 4, 2012).
[4] U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) (2012a):
USACE reinvigorates Environmental Operat-
ing Principles, l /Medi a/News-
aspx (accessed September 13, 2012).
Pursuing the objective of sustainable development
of water resources, coastal and port infrastruc-
ture poses both challenges and opportunities for
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE
Civil Works Strategic Plan establishes the need for
evolving our approach to engineering and oper-
ating infrastructure. Advancing our practices will
involve identifying the practical actions that can
be taken to better align and integrate engineer-
ing and natural systems to produce more socially
acceptable, economically viable and environ-
mentally sustainable projects. Engineering With
Nature (EWN) is a USACE Civil Works initiative that
supports more sustainable practices, projects and
outcomes by working to intentionally align natural
and engineering processes to effciently and sus-
tainably deliver economic, environmental and so-
cial benefts through collaborative processes.
Many current and past USACE projects provide
positive examples of what can be achieved
through the application of these concepts and
practices: river training structures that enhance fsh-
eries habitat in the Mississippi River, a coastal reef
constructed of rock dredged from the Cape Fear
River, North Carolina and use of sediment from a
navigation project to construct a near-shore berm
that nourishes a beach in Ft. Myers, Florida. These
and other project examples illustrate opportunities
to produce more sustainable systems through the
use of:
Strategic placement of sediments, in combina-
tion with hydrodynamics and natural transport
processes, to build near-shore habitats
Engineering features to focus natural processes
to minimise navigation channel inflling and to
transport and focus sediments for positive ben-
Cost-effcient engineering practices for enhanc-
ing the habitat value of infrastructure
Natural systems, such as wetlands and other
features, to reduce the effects of storm process-
es and sea level rise on shorelines and coasts
Science-based communications processes to
improve stakeholder engagement and collab-
Le dveloppement durable en matire de
dinfrastructures portuaires et ctires et de res-
sources hydrauliques constitue, pour le corps des
Ingnieurs de lArme amricaine (US Army Corps
of Engineers, USACE), la fois un df et une op-
portunit. Le Plan Stratgique de Travaux de G-
nie Civil de lUSACE souligne la ncessit de faire
voluer les approches adoptes en ingnirie pour
ce type dinfrastructures. Il est possible damliorer
nos pratiques en identifant tout ce qui permet de
mieux intgrer les milieux naturels dans la concep-
tion technique afn de proposer des projets plus
acceptables sur le plan social, conomiquement
rentables et durables dun point de vue environ-
nemental. Composer avec la Nature (Engineering
with Nature) est une initiative de lUSACE visant
promouvoir, dans le domaine du gnie civil, des
pratiques et des projets plus durables soucieux de
concilier les aspects techniques et environnemen-
taux afn de gnrer, au travers de processus in-
teractifs, des avantages en termes conomiques,
sociaux et de dveloppement durable optimi-
ss en termes dingnirie et de sauvegrade de
De nombreux projets dj raliss ou en cours
sont autant dexemples des bnfces quon est
en droit dattendre de la mise en application de
ces concepts et dmarches, quil sagisse des
amnagements fuviaux favorables au dvel-
oppement piscicole raliss dans le Mississipi, de
rcifs artifciels construits partir denrochements
extraits au Cap de Fear River en Caroline du Nord
ou de rechargements de plage Fort Myers en
Floride partir de sdiments fuviaux dragus dans
le cadre dun projet de navigation. Ces exemples
de projet illustrent, comme tant dautres, toutes
les possibilits damnagements plus durables,
rendues possibles par le recours :
A des mises en place judicieuses de sdiments
en fonction des conditions hydrodynamiques
et des mouvements sdimentologiques du site
afn de favoriser le dveloppement dhabitat
naturel ctier
A la mise en oeuvre de structures spcifque-
ment conues pour limiter laccrtion dans les
chenaux de navigation et favoriser les dpts
dans les zones souhaites
A des techniques conomiques permettant
de valoriser les infrastructures au bnfce de
lhabitat naturel
Aux tendues naturelles telles que les marais ou
autres zones humides susceptibles de rduire les
effets des ondes de tempte ou de la remon-
te du niveau des eaux le long des ctes
A des efforts de communication scientifque
permettant daugmenter le niveau de mobili-
sation et dengagement des dcideurs
Die Verfolgung des Ziels einer nachhaltigen Ent-
wicklung von Wasserressourcen und Ksten- und
Hafeninfrastruktur stellt fr das U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers (USACE) sowohl eine Herausforderung
als auch eine Gelegenheit dar. Der ingenieurtech-
nische Strategieplan von USACE zeigt den Bedarf,
unseren Ansatz fr den Bau und Betrieb von In-
frastruktureinrichtungen weiterzuverfolgen. Die
Weiterentwicklung unserer Methoden wird die
Identifzierung umsetzbarer Handlungen bein-
halten, die ergriffen werden knnen, um technis-
che Entwicklung und natrliche Systeme besser
zusammenzufhren und zu integrieren, um gesell-
schaftlich besser akzeptierte, wirtschaftlich trag-
bare und kologisch nachhaltige Projekte zu en-
twickeln. Bauen mit der Natur (Engineering with
Nature (EWN)) ist eine Bau-Initiative von USACE,
die nachhaltigere Baupraktiken, Projekte und
Ergebnisse untersttzt, indem so gearbeitet wird,
dass bewusst natrliche und bautechnische Proz-
esse zusammengefhrt werden, damit effziente
und nachhaltige konomische, umweltfreundli-
che und soziale Leistungen durch gemeinsame
Prozesse erbracht werden.
Viele laufende und vergangene USACE-Projekte
liefern positive Beispiele dafr, was durch die An-
wendung dieser Konzepte und Praktiken erreicht
werden kann: Flussregelungs-manahmen, die den
Lebensraum von Fischen im Mississippi verbessern,
ein Kstenriff, welches aus Steinen erbaut wurde,
die im Cape Fear River, Nord-Carolina, ausgebag-
gert wurden, und die Verwendung von Sediment
aus einem Projekt der Seeschifffahrt zum Bau einer
kstennahen Berme, die einen Strand in Fort My-
ers, Florida, stabilisiert. Diese und andere Projekt-
beispiele zeigen Mglichkeiten, um nachhaltigere
Systeme durch die folgenden Anwendungen auf-
Strategische Platzierung von Sedimenten in
Kombination mit hydrodynamischen und natr-
lichen Transportprozessen, um kstennahe Leb-
ensrume herzustellen
bautechnische Eigenschaften zur Fokussierung
natrlicher Prozesse, um den Eintrag in die Fahr-
rinne zu minimieren und abzuransportieren, und
zur Verwendung des Sediments fr einen posi-
tiven Nutzen
kosten-effziente technische Praktiken zur
Verbesserung des Lebensraums an Infrastruk-
natrliche Systeme, wie Feuchtgebiete oder
andere Einrichtungen, um den Einfuss von Str-
men und den Anstieg des Meeresspiegels auf
Kstenlinien und Ksten zu reduzieren
wissenschaftlich basierte Kommunikationsproz-
esse, um das Engagement der Stakeholder und
die Zusammenarbeit zu verbessern
La bsqueda del objetivo de un desarrollo sos-
tenible de infraestructuras hidrulicas, portuarias
y costeras, plantea retos y oportunidades para
el Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejrcito de los Esta-
dos Unidos (USACE). El Plan de Obra Pblica del
USACE establece la necesidad de evolucionar en
su aproximacin al diseo y a la operacin de sus
infraestructuras. El desarrollo de este planteamiento
debe permitir identifcar aquellas actuaciones que
permitan mejorar los diseos de los proyectos, de tal
manera que stos resulten aceptables, econmica-
mente viables y ambientalmente sostenibles. Dis-
eando Naturalmente (EWN) es una iniciativa del
Departamento de Obras Pblicas del USACE que
busca una mejora de las prcticas ambientales,
del diseo de los proyectos y de la ejecucin de las
obras, en una estrategia que integra el proceso de
diseo en un planteamiento global basado en el
desarrollo econmico sostenible y en la bsqueda
de mejoras sociales y ambientales.
Los proyectos del USACE, pasados y actuales,
muestran ejemplos de los resultados que se pueden
lograr aplicando esta clase de procedimientos y
de conceptos: estructuras fuviales que permiten
mejorar el hbitat de los peces en el ro Mississippi,
bermas costeras ejecutadas con materiales proce-
dentes de dragado en el ro Cape Fear (Carolina
del Norte), utilizacin de sedimentos procedentes
de un proyecto de mejora de la navegacin para
construir la berma de contencin de una playa arti-
fcial en Ft. Myers (Florida). Estos y otros ejemplos de
proyectos realizados muestran oportunidades de
generar sistemas sostenibles, a travs del uso de:
Disposicin de sedimentos en ubicaciones estra-
tgicas, que en combinacin con procesos nat-
urales de transporte generen hbitats en zonas
Diseos centrados en los procesos naturales que
minimicen los depsitos de material en canales,
o que permitan el transporte de sedimentos bus-
cando la generacin de benefcios naturales
Prcticas ingenieriles efcientes desde un punto
de vista de su anlisis coste-benefcio, que mejo-
ren los valores naturales de la infraestructura
Sistemas naturales, como los humedales, que re-
duzcan los efectos de los temporales y del incre-
mento del nivel del mar en zonas costeras
Procesos de comunicacin con los interesados
que, a partir de un anlisis racional, ayuden a
mejorar los objetivos a obtener con un determi-
nado proyecto
Bo Temple & Wendi Goldsmith
KEY WORDS: Floodwall, climate change adapta-
tion, disaster resilience, public-private partnership,
renewable energy
MOTS-CLES: Dfenses anti-inondation, adapta-
tion au changement climatique, rsilience aux
catastrophes, partenariat public-priv, nergies
After Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Or-
leans area in 2005, Congress appropriated more
than US$ 14 billion to provide an infrastructure
system capable of addressing risk from future
fooding and charged the U.S. Army Corps of En-
gineers (USACE) with executing the programme.
The many innovations born through the design
and construction for this massive effort represent
a signifcant departure from prior conventions
about engineering and project execution for civil
works projects. As a result, the programme was
completed in a fraction of the normal time, allow-
ing communities, families and businesses to make
practical decisions about relocating or reinvesting
locally. Where pain and loss had taken hold of a
community, collaboration and a restored sense of
worth emerged ahead.
The countless lessons learnt throughout this mas-
sive undertaking can improve future design and
construction programmes including lessons de-
rived from methods and approaches that were
considered, but not incorporated. Future large-
scale infrastructure projects are unlikely to receive
similar federal funding levels; nevertheless, they
can beneft from methods that streamline plan-
ning, engineering and construction while provid-
ing for cost-effective maintenance programmes.
Projects that offset portions of their construction or
maintenance costs, along with reducing overall
environmental impacts and improving community
resilience will be compared favourably over those
that merely perform one function at signifcant
taxpayer cost. Especially for communities grap-
pling with the looming risks of climate change and
ever-increasing food concerns, a new fusion of
science, engineering, construction and fnancing
will be necessary to develop infrastructure projects
that make business sense today and tomorrow.
From the outset of the project, a fresh way of think-
ing was needed. This new paradigm involved nov-
el procedures in analysis and design, expanded
patterns of communication and many technical
and administrative innovations that allowed the
project to compress the execution schedule from
decades to four very busy years. The team at the
newly established USACE Hurricane Protection Of-
fce in New Orleans quickly reinvented and more
tightly defned the terminology of their efforts: The
programme became known as the Hurricane
Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS).
What may seem a superfcial fascination with
words deserves deeper focus. The design team
and the public needed to be straight on the
fact that protection implies certainty. All par-
ties needed to closely address the key areas of
uncertainty and residual risk without which key
considerations could be missed. It would be fair to
say that through the history of large infrastructure
programmes, engineers have relied on data from
past conditions (such as precipitation, food ele-
vations and terrain elevations) to inform analysis
and design. In this sense, engineering has normally
been done looking in the rear view mirror. While
this practice is considered standard, and is consis-
tent with academic training, professional practice
and organisational custom, for many types of proj-
ects, it should be called into question as it was
for HSDRRS. The combination of forensic studies,
institutional scrutiny and reform and future risk sce-
nario development that USACE took into account
drove the adoption of many new and improved
practices. Though not always comfortable along
the way, this forward-looking approach offers
great value to many projects and arguably is the
appropriate way to address climate adaptation
and resilience for the many communities in the
United States and elsewhere that remain vulner-
able to signifcant loss of life and property.
Many weighty implications arise during risk-based
engineering to address future conditions related
to climate change and other factors that contrib-
ute to hazards. Recognising that Congress had
mandated the development of an infrastructure
system that would shield New Orleans and the sur-
rounding parishes from a 100-year storm, the team
had to sort out the many consequences of that
defnition. For instance, what was the expected
service life of the infrastructure system and how
might the basis of design change over time due
to land subsidence, sea level rise and increased
storm intensity among other factors? Land subsid-
ence was understood to have caused locations of
levee overtopping when Katrina struck. These fnd-
ings led to profound change in USACE practices
going forward. Nationally, precipitation patterns
were recognised to be going through statistically
signifcant patterns of change, yet it remained
customary to rely on historic data for analysis and
design. For HSDRRS, a team of the top U.S. and in-
ternational scientists evaluated the best current
science in order to develop scenarios and com-
puter simulated models, based on rain, wind, air
pressure, sea level rise and land subsidence in or-
der to forecast the possible depths of future storm
surge and forces of waves at locations throughout
the region. These forecasts, rather than past data,
were used to develop design criteria that support-
ed the idea of reliable infrastructure performance
throughout the 50-year service life of the system,
and led to design elevations up to 15-ft higher
than existing structures.
One place within HSDRRS where the forecasted
conditions were most extreme was the Chalmette
Loop Levee in St. Bernard Parish. Part of the Lake
Pontchartrain and Vicinity System, the Chalmette
Loop Levee consisted of 23-mi of levee and food-
wall, including sector gates, highway and railroad
closure gates and a pumping station. USACE re-
tained Bioengineering ARCADIS LLC, a small busi-
ness joint venture, to provide key planning, engi-
neering and construction management roles for
this project. The team performed feld inspections
of the existing levee systems to identify areas of
potential concern, developed alternative stud-
ies and evaluated innovative designs and deliv-
ery methods. In addition to working with multiple
USACE districts on design coordination for all proj-
ect components, the team also collaborated with
contractors and local and state sponsors as well
as USACE on construction and sequence meth-
ods under the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI)
building approach for several reaches.
When the existing earthen levee was overtopped
and breached by Katrinas storm surge, over 90
percent of structures in St. Bernard Parish were
fooded. The team confronted a litany of obsta-
cles in working to raise the system by the required
10- to 15-ft, including North Americas weakest
deep organic soils, remote rural locations, adja-
cent channels and lakes, limited site access, con-
straints of cost and schedule, as well as some of
the regions highest estimated wave loads based
on USACEs in-house hydraulic modelling. Various
engineering solutions were considered to enlarge
or strengthen the earthen levees including deep
soil mixing, stability berms, high strength geotextile
fabric and wick drains. Ultimately, given cost and
schedule constraints, the team selected the struc-
tural option of T-walls constructed on top of exist-
ing levees due to the minimal footprint required
which simplifed environmental and right-of-way
considerations. However, designing these walls
with enough resilience to withstand the required
loads and site effects created substantial design
challenges. Proper consideration of potential fu-
ture conditions led to extreme factors related to
seepage, scour, breaking wave forces and also
slamming forces derived from impacts from barg-
es carried by waves.
The speed and magnitude of these projects was
staggering miles of wall, two sector gate struc-
tures, pumping station fronting protection and
closure gates had to be incorporated through-
out the system and nearly 20 major utility or gas
lines needed to be relocated. Much of design
was completed within a year and vetted through
numerous reviews to ensure independent verifca-
tion. The design and construction management
team literally worked shoulder to shoulder with
multiple USACE districts throughout the process,
being co-located in the same offce space. Key
decision makers met regularly to discuss progress
and design issues, changing the historical USACE
design process as the team united to meet the
June 2011 completion target. This unprecedented
teamwork yielded extraordinary results in quality,
schedule, cost control and effciency.

The design of the main levee reaches incorpo-
rated the ECI process for the frst time in a major
civil works project. USACE selected the contrac-
tors and brought them on board during the de-
sign phase to provide critical input to improve the
cost and delivery. Working closely with designers,
contractors developed recommendations such
as wall monolith length and pile types. They also
devised the method of constructing wall footings
above the levee crest, rather than embedded,
which enhanced effciency and constructability
of the designs and helped meet the accelerated
construction schedule.

In early 2010, multiple contractors converged in the
parish to tackle issues including site access, equip-
ment, labour, housing and proximity to other proj-
ects, with materials delivered by truck and barge.
The project team provided Engineering During
Construction (EDC), as well as Construction Man-
agement services. The EDC team reviewed shop
drawings, contractor submittals, responded to re-
quests for information and performed site visits to
help ensure adherence to design. Each reach had
multiple headings underway with several crews for
sheet pile, pile driving, reinforcement and forming
activities at 8-mi long, the longest reach had
more than 100 cranes on site. In all, some 250 lo-
cal construction workers were employed to place
extraordinary quantities of materials, including
115,000 ft of steel sheet pile and over 5 million
ft of steel H-piles 28 times the amount of metal
used in the Eiffel Tower. The projects success re-
fects hundreds of people working seamlessly and
safely to get the job done on time.
The improved Chalmette Loop Floodwall system
represents a crucial infrastructure addition to not
only address safety for the residents of St. Bernard
Parish, but the adjoining communities of Greater
New Orleans that beneft from the improved line
of defence. With 81 percent of homes damaged
or destroyed, 3,000 businesses inundated and a
past history of fooding and destruction, residents
needed a prompt solution to provide assurance
that they could rebuild their lives. A delayed solu-
tion using standard timeframes would have failed
to deliver this confdence.
From an engineering perspective, the solutions
that met key community needs also had many
advantages in terms of environmental sustain-
ability. An earthen levee would have required
millions of cubic yards of embankment material,
hundreds of acres of borrow pits, and additional
rights-of-way leading to exponentially higher en-
vironmental impacts. To avoid damaging impacts
to fsh passage and salinity concentrations that
healthy marshes rely on, the team designed open
bypass channels to maintain fow through the cof-
ferdam during construction. This provided a path
for fsh and maintained fresh water fow to adja-
cent marshlands. In recognition for the outstand-
ing achievements of the project, USACE and the
joint venture received the prestigious 2013 ACEC
Honour Award.
Congress funded full execution of HSDRRS as a
comprehensive system, covering 100 percent of
the initial cost of the regional infrastructure solu-
tion to food risk. However, ongoing operations
and maintenance (O&M) still had to be covered
by non-federal parties that benefted from the sys-
tem. These signifcant costs were not something
that could be easily absorbed into the budgets
of municipalities still reeling from Katrinas impacts
and facing uncertainties about the health of the
future tax base.
St. Bernard Parish was one of the local commu-
nities with substantial concern about addressing
O&M costs throughout the service life of the food-
walls, gates and other complex components. To
help alleviate this funding concern, Bioengineer-
ing Group introduced various options to incorpo-
rate renewable energy within the Chalmette Loop
right-of-way that would be capable of generating
revenue streams to offset maintenance costs. The
technical, fnancial and programmatic feasibility
of incorporating various measures required close
examination, due to the unique nature of the pro-
posed solution. In order to use the existing right-
of-way and proposed new footings and access
roads to serve multiple purposes, many parties
would have to sign off on the engineering, real es-
tate, legal and contracting details. The team rec-
ommended both wind power and biomass crops
as viable solutions that would harness locally avail-
able energy resources, promote reduced carbon
emissions and increase energy supply resilience.
While the main driver was the opportunity to re-
duce fnancial burdens on local communities and
ensure adequate inspection, maintenance and
repair over the long-term, incorporating renew-
able energy into the project delivered many ad-
ditional benefts that are consistent with national
policy and local interests in terms of resilience, sus-
tainability and climate change mitigation.
As the fnal vegetative cover on the earthen levees
supporting the new foodwalls, vigorous growing
native plantings of switchgrass were recommend-
ed. These plants have deep roots and dense
shoots capable of reinforcing and strengthening
soils and resisting erosion even during extreme
events, far outperforming standard turf grasses.
Various earthen embankments and levees in
the United States have incorporated switchgrass
with good results, even tolerating drought, food-
ing and salinity conditions. The grass is highly ef-
fcient at converting solar energy into living plant
material that cumulatively provides strength and
protection to earthen structures, even when leafy
material is harvested through periodic mowing.
Unlike turf grass that has no commercial value,
switchgrass grown in the region yields highly pro-
ductive biomass crops that can be marketed at a
proft as baled hay for use as feedstock at the lo-
cal Big Cajun II coal burning power plant. Adding
biomass to coal not only reduces fossil fuel con-
sumption and greenhouse gas emissions, it also
promotes a cleaner burn with fewer smog causing
emissions. In other markets, switchgrass can easily
be processed for use in pellet stoves which sell at
roughly US$ 100 per tonne. Sold as pellets or bales,
switchgrass biomass crops could likely net US $
5,000 per year of revenue per mile of levee (over
US$ 100,000 per year for the Chalmette Loop sys-
tem alone). Conversion of switchgrass to ethanol
or other liquid biofuels is currently under develop-
ment and promises great productivity, though it is
not now commercially available. Some aspects of
using switchgrass that would require adjustment
include the standard ground cover specifcation
for levees used by USACE, which calls for 6- to 8-in
grass height, whereas switchgrass grows to heights
of 6 to 10 ft. However, when freshly mown once
or twice annually to harvest biomass, switchgrass
would easily allow for visual inspection of levee
A much larger potential revenue source also was
recommended in the form of wind power devel-
opment. Through a Public-Private Partnership, a
developer would own and operate the genera-
tion equipment, with the USACE food infrastruc-
ture project setting the stage for its construction.
The site was found to be capable of generating
an estimated 100,000 MWH of renewable energy,
enough to power 20,000 homes with a competi-
tively priced and disaster resilient power supply, by
incorporating wind turbines attached to modifed
foodwall monoliths along the levee reach with
the highest wind exposure.
Any large-scale wind development requires signif-
cant cost related to geotechnical and structural
elements, especially in offshore or soft soil locations
where wind resources are often most attractive. St.
Bernard Parish hosts some of the best document-
ed wind resources in Louisiana. A meteorological
tower near the levee system that had been oper-
ated for decades by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration provided useful data
to substantiate the reliability of wind patterns and
suitability for development. Additionally, a nearby
coal fred power station fooded during Katrina re-
mained closed, offering convenient infrastructure
for interconnection with the power grid. Recom-
mended equipment included 15 turbines of 660
kW or greater capacity mounted on 165 ft towers.
The Chalmette Loop design team identifed modi-
fcations to the pile groups and also the slab and
wall structures that would allow integration of wind
turbines with only small incremental cost increas-
es. In turn, signifcant revenues could be achieved
by leasing the site to a developer who would as-
sume responsibility for details of wind technology
selection, investment and operations. The recom-
mended design called for creating jogs in the wall
to accommodate turbine attachment and modi-
fying steel and concrete structures to address
wave loads at an anticipated additional cost of
roughly US$ 250,000 per turbine. This design added
strength to the entire wall system and reduced
wave loads on the foundations without chang-
ing the alignment of the proposed T-wall design.
It also offered ease of access to the monopole
tower for maintenance, including an access door
at the tower base. The steel tower structures would
not be exposed directly to salinity or wave loads,
which would minimise corrosion and provide bet-
ter durability. Transformers would be housed within
the towers and transmission lines would be locat-
ed below grade.
Though this practical approach was recognised
for offering many benefts at the time, due to
schedule constraints it was not adopted during
the original project execution. However, the proj-
ect sponsor has been pursuing the approach after
construction in order to negotiate lease and O&M
agreements with a wind power developer on a
smaller scale. This action validated the out-of-box
thinking that ultimately is what made the entire HS-
DRRS project a success.
Many leaders within USACE continue to explore
how arrangements similar to this can address f-
nancial requirements of large-scale infrastructure
projects related to climate change adaptation
and resilience. The solutions developed for the
Chalmette Loop levee offer insight into the range
of creative and effective options that could solve
issues beyond engineering function, including ad-
dressing reliable and sustainable energy supply for
communities and optimising the fnancial value of
a project in ways that can offset portions of con-
struction or maintenance costs. The project illus-
trates how it can be possible to organise a rapid
process culminating in the execution and opera-
tion of a comprehensive risk mitigation infrastruc-
ture system at a regional scale. To be successful,
project teams must draw stakeholders together
including government offcials, planners and
the fnance, insurance, energy, real estate and
construction industries to generate a common
vision of the scope and preferred design of cre-
ative multi-purpose structures; to identify funding
sources and mechanisms including public-private
partnerships to attract private capital in addition
to traditional sources of government funding; and
to establish methodologies and concrete steps for
all aspects of a speedy implementation process.
Going beyond food damage reduction, solutions
that address other infrastructure needs (such as
power supply) while reducing greenhouse gas
emissions and generating revenue could craft tru-
ly systemic and long-lasting community resilience.
Drawing on each regions unique resources, such
plans could incorporate exemplary infrastructure
design, fnancing and governance. For instance,
hydropower from new low-head turbine technol-
ogy or enhanced existing dams shows promise in
many locations. Offshore wind and tidal energy
are being tapped overseas, and these could of-
fer great value in the United States as well. Cost
sharing could span multiple jurisdictions and both
private and public benefciaries of food infra-
structure measures as well as modernised power
supply. Lowering weather-related risks will beneft
property owners, businesses and taxpayers alike.
An ecologically integrated food infrastructure sys-
tem will not protect against all future risks; but it
may go far towards buying time to further secure
against changing weather patterns and climate
conditions, through retreat and reconstruction if
necessary, with benefts throughout this century
and beyond.
Dos lderes del denominado Sistema de Reduc-
cin de Riesgos - puesto en marcha tras el Hu-
racn Katrina - comparten sus puntos de vista
sobre por qu y cmo el programa desarrollado
ha sido capaz de propiciar decisiones innovado-
ras, desafando convencionalismos, consiguiendo
con ello un xito sin precedentes; en particular, el
anterior General en Jefe del Cuerpo de Ingenie-
ros del Ejrcito de los Estados Unidos y el Gerente
de la UTE tuvieron un papel relevante a la hora de
desarrollar el proceso de toma de decisiones para
la resolucin de problemas, que permiti desarrol-
lar nuevas normativas para la adaptacin y lucha
contra el cambio climtico. Ambos compartieron
sus percepciones sobre el xito del proyecto y
plantearon los procedimientos a desarrollar, algu-
nos de los cuales, a pesar de no haber sido imple-
mentados en su momento, pueden servir de base
para su consideracin en futuros proyectos de in-
fraestructuras de similares caractersticas.
Las lecciones aprendidas en Nueva Orleans, con
ciertas modifcaciones acordes a las caracters-
ticas particulares de futuros proyectos, podran
suponer una mejora en el diseo de las infrae-
structuras a nivel nacional.
Two leaders of the post-Katrina Hurricane Storm
Damage Risk Reduction System share insights
on why and how the massive program was able
to embrace innovation, defy convention and
achieve unprecedented success. The former Act-
ing Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers and Managing Member of the Joint
Venture each played substantial roles in facilitat-
ing the process of creative problem-solving and
programmatic change that enabled the project
to forge a new standard in climate change ad-
aptation and resilience. Here these two individu-
als share insight into the projects success and also
outline additional efforts that though they were
not adopted at the time should be evaluated as
standard program elements for future similar infra-
structure systems. Heeding the lessons learned in
New Orleans along with further modifcations on
future projects could take our national infrastruc-
ture to a new level of sustainability, relevance and
Deux responsables du programme de rduction du
risque li aux temptes mis sur pied aprs louragan
Katrina changent des rfexions sur la faon dont
ce projet a permis de susciter de linnovation,
daller au-del des pratiques conventionnelles et
dobtenir des rsultats jusqualors indits. Lancien
Gnral en Chef du corps des ingnieurs de lUS
Army et un membre de la direction du consor-
tium ont jou chacun un rle dterminant dans
le processus de recherche de solutions innovantes
et de modifcation de modes de programmation
qui a permis, loccasion de ce projet, de dfnir
de nouveaux standards en matire dadaptation
et de rsilience au changement climatique. Les
deux responsables changent leur point de vue
sur le succs du projet et insistent sur les efforts
complmentaires qui, mme sils nont pas t
adopts ce jour, mriteraient une valuation
de leur pertinence en tant qulments standards
pour tout programme de mise en place dun sys-
tme de dfense de mme nature. Lexploitation
des lessons tires de la Nouvelle Orlans allie aux
adaptations requises pour les projets venir nous
permettrait de porter linfrastructure nationale
un niveau de durabilit, de pertinence et de qual-
it sans prcdent.
Zwei fhrende Personen des Nach-Katrina-Hur-
rikan-Sturmschaden Risikoreduzierungs-systems
teilen die Erkenntnis, warum und wie der mas-
sive Sturm in der Lage war, Innovationen anzus-
toen, mit Konventionen zu brechen und einen
ungeahnten Erfolg zu haben. Sowohl der frh-
ere Acting Commanding General des U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers als auch ein leitendes Mitglied
des Joint Ventures spielten eine groe Rolle bei der
Vereinfachung des Prozesses von kreativer Prob-
lemlsung und programmatischer Vernderung,
was es dem Projekt ermglichte, einen neuen
Standard bzgl. der Anpassung an Klimavern-
derungen und Widerstandsfhigkeit aufzubauen.
Hierbei sind sich diese beiden Personen einig,
dass der Projekterfolg und auch die dargestellten
zustzlichen Bemhungen, obwohl sie zu der Zeit
nicht bernommen wurden, als standardisierte
Programmbestandteile fr zuknftige hnliche In-
frastruktursysteme festgelegt werden sollten. Das
Befolgen der in New York gelernten Lektionen mit
weiteren Modifkationen bei zuknftigen Projek-
ten knnte unsere nationale Infrastruktur auf eine
neue Ebene an Nachhaltigkeit, Relevanz und
Nutzwert heben.
KEY WORDS: Climate change; catastrophic fail-
ure; draft building code, food defence system,
food resilience
MOTS-CLES: Changement climatique, rupture
catastrophique, projet de norme constructive,
dfenses anti-inondations, rsistance vis vis des
The requirement for food resilience, as briefy de-
scribed below, is to ensure the system does not fail
catastrophically if the food is higher than the de-
sign food, i.e., the system can survive limited over-
load. It is likely that many structures associated
with the FDS will be overtopped during the long
service life of the FDS, especially those structures
that were designed to survive and perform for
events with lower return periods (see Figure 1). If
a FDS does not have resilient features and is over-
topped, then the protected community is at much
greater risk than if the protection had not been
built, as the potential energy stored behind the
wall is suddenly released when/if a breach occurs.
With resilient features, a FDS can survive an over-
topping food event higher than the design food
(see Figure 2) and assuming that the FDS performs
as designed, with no catastrophic failure. There
is time to evacuate the residents and minimal or
no lives are lost. The fooding occurs gradually in-
stead of in a sudden surge. Although economic
losses for the community could still be signifcant
for the overload event, these resilient features will
allow for the community to survive with less recov-
ery time. A small amount of cosmetic damage to
the FDS is acceptable, but the system should still
be capable of withstanding the design loads after
the food event passes. It should also be capable
of returning to food protection as soon as is rea-
sonably possible.
Design guidance which addresses structure and
system resilience to extreme events that include
overtopping during fooding is limited. Compre-
hensive lessons learnt and the incorporation of
features to ensure resilience will help facilitate
John D. Clarkson & David Sullivan
USACE, Huntington District, Huntington WV USA
CELRH-EC-DS, Huntington District, 502 Eighth Street, Huntington WV 25701 USA,
Tel.: +1-304-399-5217, E-mail:
Kenton Braun
PND Engineers, Inc, Anchorage Alaska, USA
Angela Desoto-Duncan & Dale Miller
Tetra Tech, Inc., Metairie, LA 70002 USA
Graeme Forsyth
CH2M HILL, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Dr. Ir. J.G. De Gijt
Stevinweg Delft, The Netherlands
Dr. Nils P. Huber
BAW - Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute Mannheim Area, Germany
Philippe Rigo
University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
preparation of design guidance and the design of
new construction or the rehabilitation of existing
structures. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Final
Report of the Interagency Performance Evalua-
tion Task Force (IPET) stated the following:
RESILIENCE: Of the performance of the HPS (Hur-
ricane Protection System), beyond the failure of
the four I-wall sections, it was the lack of resilience
that stands out as a major factor in the ultimate
fooding and losses. If no catastrophic breach-
ing had occurred, the fooding and losses would
have been signifcantly reduced, perhaps by half.
Structures must be designed to withstand over-
topping and to prevent catastrophic breaching.
Such capability would not only have dramatically
reduced the losses in New Orleans but also dra-
matically eased the burdens of recovery.
Figure 2: Resilient structures will not fail catastrophically
when actual loadings exceed the design load, note
hardened splash area. Picture from USACE.
The need for resilience guidance was noted at
the workshop International Flood Risk Manage-
ment Approaches: From Theory to Practice,
held November 30 through December 1, 2010 in
Washington, D.C. (
FDS projects were stated to: Need the best mix
of protection and resilience to overtopping (one
example approach in Japan is the super levee for
highly populated areas).
It is noted that a broader and more integrated
food risk management approach that strikes a
balance between structural and non-structural
measures is applicable for FDS in general. Of all
the lessons learnt, the most important is to explic-
itly incorporate the consequences of failure and
the possibility of being wrong in ones assump-
tions into the design process. Building in the food
plain will always have risk; the public should not
develop a false sense of security just because a
FDS is place. Past examples have shown that some
structural food control systems may have exacer-
bated rather than reduced the extent of fooding,
for example, when levees created a false sense
of security that lead to excessive development in
A fully integrated water basin perspective would
also include many non-structural methods that
can be developed to give rivers more room and
reduce the speed of food water. Polders are
a low-lying food plains enclosed by embank-
ments separated from the river and are used on
the Rhine River to allow for foods to be allevi-
ated. Storing water by means of vegetation, soil,
ground and wetlands, all of which are capable
of retaining water, should have priority over swift
water run-off. Every cubic metre of water not
drained away immediately to the next body of
water is a gain for the water regimen. An effcient
food risk management system needs to be com-
plemented with integrated watershed manage-
ment, retention zones, restricted developments in
food plains, land use planning, awareness raising,
food resistant construction, drainage and water
storage improvement, effective evacuation plan-
ning and other measures. It is emphasised that
embankments or levees are only one part of a
fully functioning sustainable system.
Figure 1: Flood Frequency Curve Elevations of FDS and Overtopping Water Levels. It is only a matter of time
before most food defence systems are overtopped. Note: some are designed to PMF (Probable Maximum Flood)
with return periods as high as once every 10,000 years. Graphic from USACE.
When these guidelines are followed, the FDS will
become a sustainable asset. Without resilient fea-
tures, a FDS will probably have to be replaced or
signifcantly repaired when frst overloaded, such
as was the case for the greater New Orleans area,
where large portions of the hurricane protection
system had to be replaced after the overload
from Hurricane Katrina. Any FDS that is disposable
after one overload, with a sudden failure mode
and loss of life, is unacceptable. Sustainable sys-
tems meet the needs of the present without com-
promising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs. Giving explicit recognition to the
linkages between sustainability, resilience and
public safety is important because the sustainabil-
ity and safety of engineered systems are directly
related to how these systems perform under over-
load conditions and as they approach failure. If
engineered systems are not safe and resilient, then
they will be essentially disposable features and not
sustainable assets.
The purpose of this report on resilience to over-
loading is an assembly of lessons learnt. The report
includes recommendations for minimum system
performance and public safety aspects of FDS
which have the potential to malfunction or fail
during major storm or food events and thereby
cause loss of human life, create catastrophic en-
vironmental hazards that endanger public health,
disrupt lifeline services or destroy critical infrastruc-
ture needed for emergency response. This report
introduces performance requirements covering
the minimum public safety aspects for FDS. The
performance requirement statement will lead the
design team in how the system will perform for var-
ious loadings throughout its life. While many of the
examples shown are for embankments or food
walls the concept of resilience to overload shown
in this document apply to the design, construction,
operation, inspection and assessment of all FDS
(dams are beyond the scope of this report). Resil-
ience is about designing systems that fail grace-
fully when overloaded, to avoid catastrophic
sudden failure but to allow for time to evacuate.
There is growing recognition (but little guidance)
on the need for resilient systems:
Many ecosystems have been frayed to the
point where they are no longer resilient and
able to withstand natural disturbances, setting
the stage for unnatural disasters those made
more frequent or more severe due to human
actions. (Janet N. Abramovitz, Averting Un-
natural Disasters, http://www.globalchange.
These issues will only become more important with
growing concerns for climate change and the ap-
prehension of high frequency fooding.
Across Europe, the greatest natural threat
in the coming years will be fooding as global
warming sends more water gushing through
passageways bordered by densely populated
areas and overdevelopment, according to
many water and engineering experts. The po-
tential for catastrophic devastation and death
is so high in so many countries that the Europe-
an Union is preparing continent-wide guidelines
for water management and food control.
(Molly Moore, The Washington Post, Foreign
For Countries in Transition with limited budgets,
these guidelines are paramount as the level of
any protection provided will likely have lower el-
evations of protection and therefore more likely to
be overtopped.
Resilience is the ability of a system or a compo-
nent of a system to sustain loads greater than the
design load allowing the system or component to
fail gradually, over some duration of time, rather
than suddenly and without warning, see Figure 3.
Overtopping and signifcant fooding are inevita-
ble for any FDS with levels of protection below the
Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) which is, in itself,
a statistical simplifcation based on an estimated
return period. However, a complete system pro-
viding consistent levels of protection and incor-
porating resilient features would minimise the risk
of catastrophic failure and reduce the potential
of loss of life and damage to property. It would
also allow more informed confdence in the food
defence arrangements than the unfounded con-
fdence which can currently be present.
The goal of the report is to identify methods for
ensuring resilience of the FDS system by requiring
it to survive overloads without catastrophic or un-
expected failure, endure only cosmetic damage
and be capable of withstanding the design loads
after the food event passes and return to normal
service. This report introduces performance re-
quirements covering the minimum public safety
aspects for FDS. A Performance Requirement is
a statement that establishes the necessary sys-
tem response that minimises risks to public safety
and satisfes the purpose of the FDS. The frst step
is assessing how and when the structure might fail,
followed by assessing how the structure and sys-
tem will perform once that failure occurs. A FDS
will likely have more than one mode of failure and
this process should be repeated for each possible
failure mode. For FDS, public safety is always most
critical, however, other design concerns need
to be assessed: economic damages, reliability,
Figure 3: Schematic showing the concept and importance of resilience. Graphic by Rebecca Black.
maintainability, survivability and life cycle cost.
The design approach and all criteria for compo-
nents, units and features of the FDS should be for-
mulated and executed in accordance with this
statement. The performance requirements for all
designs, evaluations, operations, inspections and
assessments should be part of an integrated and
cost-effective effort that will provide a high de-
gree of confdence throughout the life cycle of
the FDS. The performance requirements should
focus on establishing consistent water levels, site
characteristics, condition and response of struc-
tures, embankments, operating equipment and
utilities, potential exposure to uncontrolled food-
ing and functional consequences.
Resilience The capability of a component, unit
or system to withstand occasional small overloads
that cause minimal permanent deformation,
damage or cumulative degradation and then es-
sentially recover its original state and function af-
ter the overloading event, to sustain loads greater
than the design load to achieve gradual failure
modes over some duration rather than sudden
failure modes. From Mechanics of Materials, it is
the capability of a strained body to absorb en-
ergy and recover its size and shape after defor-
mation (elastic behaviour). Graphically, resilience
is the area to the left of the resilience limit under
the elastic region of a force/deformation curve as
shown. See Figure 4.
Figure 4: Graphically, resilience is the area under the
elastic portion of the force/deformation curve.
Graphic from USACE.
Functional Resilience Performance Requirement.
For storm events that exceed the design storm with
return periods less than 500-1,000 years, the system
should function without sustaining damage that
cannot be repaired before the next major storm.
The performance of the FDS should be suffcient to
prevent the interruption of all public, lifeline and
business services in the protected area that have
catastrophic regional or national impacts. The
goal of the functional resilience performance re-
quirement is to minimise the potential of damage
to the FDS due to relatively small overloads which
will allow the FDS to perform its intended function
with minimal repair.
Toughness The capability of a component, unit
or system to survive extreme overloads that cause
extensive permanent deformation, damage or
cumulative degradation but do not lead to cata-
strophic failure and/or uncontrolled fooding. Time
to rehabilitate or replace the component, unit or
system will probably be signifcant. From Mechan-
ics of Materials, it is the capability of a strained body
to absorb energy before rupture, but the strained
body will not fully recover its size and shape af-
ter deformation (inelastic behaviour). Graphically,
toughness is the entire area below the force/de-
formation curve as shown. See Figure 5.
Figure 5: Graphically, toughness is the area under the
entire force/deformation curve. Graphic from USACE.
Functional Toughness Performance Requirement.
For storm events that exceed the design storm with
return periods greater than or equal to 500-1,000
years, the system is expected to perform inelasti-
cally with some permanent deformation, but the
damage should not result in catastrophic failure of
the system. Repair and/or replacement of dam-
aged system components will likely be required
and the time required to do so may be signifcant.
The goal of the functional toughness performance
requirement is to allow signifcant damage to the
FDS due to large overloads while at the same time
minimising the possibility of catastrophic failure of
the FDS. A system that is exposed to a large over-
load but that conforms to this performance re-
quirement will minimise the risk to the public and
property during those large overload events.
Note the recommendations for the design storm
with return periods greater than or equal to 500-
1,000 years are site specifc and very dependent
on the societal value of the protected area and
the resources available. A building code as rec-
ommended in the conclusions could provide
bracketed parameters.

One of the key lessons learnt from Hurricane Ka-
trina as documented in the IPET report is that
Floodwall design methods need to consider a
broader spectrum of possible behaviours and re-
silience to overtopping should be considered as
a fundamental performance characteristic. Also
see CIRIA C635 London, 2006: Designing for ex-
ceedance in urban drainage good practice,
that describes best practices developed for food
conveyence in the urban environment.
Figure 6: IPET Report
4.1 Minimal Investment Now May Signifcantly
Reduce Loss of Life
For a limited incremental investment, by including
resilient features shown in this report, the FDS can
dramatically lessen the chances for loss of life and
property damage. The actual additional cost of
adding resilient features is low compared to the
total cost of the project.
4.2 Fault Tree Analysis
With Fault Tree Analysis, the structure is studied un-
der various events and combinations of events to
see how the structure responds. These scenarios
may include responses in the elastic as well plastic
deformation range. Once the Fault Tree is devel-
oped, probabilistic computations can be made
to assess the weak points in the structure and de-
termine where investments should be done to im-
prove system resilience.
4.3 Accuracy of Water Level Predictions
Design or evaluation of FDS projects should include
suffcient hydraulic and hydrological information
to minimise uncertainty concerning water levels
and associated return periods. With the concern
for Global Warming, one point that needs to be
made is that many of the hydrological param-
eters currently used in design and evaluations of
FDS need to be discussed and re-evaluated. With
this concern, what was believed to be a once in
500 year food may occur more frequently. Many
believe there is a correlation between recent ca-
tastrophes, failures in FDS and Global Warming.
Hydraulic parameters used in design or evaluation
should provide reliability that is commensurate
with project risks that provide safety to the public.
The criteria selection of design parameters should
be approached with a great deal of humility; that
is, what if the designer is wrong, what are the con-
sequences? To ensure this level of reliability, hy-
draulic and hydrological designers should have
a high level of knowledge and understanding of
both the anticipated storms, waves and expected
run-off as appropriate at the project site and also
engineering guidance and judgment regarding
selection of such parameters. Studies and mod-
elling requirements should be appropriate to at-
tain this level of confdence. For risk based design,
what level of confdence (i.e. what quantile in the
uncertainty band) should designers use when as-
sessing this event? The best guess (50 %) estimate
is too low half the time; many hydraulic designers
use 90 % confdence levels when assigning projec-
tions. This risk perception also needs to understand
and account for the probabilities of failure that
are inherent in national codes and standards.
4.4 Accuracy of Datum
One of the lessons learnt from Hurricane Katrina
was to make sure the project has the correct Geo-
spatial Vertical Datum to reduce the uncertainty
of the Floodwall and Bank/Levee Elevations. FDS
protection elevations should verify the correct
geodetic elevation references and account for
the effects of subsidence if geological conditions
suggest it is expected. For thorough discussion, see
EM 1110-2-6056 Standards and Procedures for Ref-
erencing Project Evaluation Grades to Nationwide
Vertical Datums.
4.5 Compartmentalisation
Compartmentalisation can be used to build re-
dundancy for FDS by breaking a community into
smaller sections such that the community has less
risk with a smaller section of barrier failing. Further-
more, critical structures such as hospitals, police
and fre stations may have a separate, higher bar-
rier built just around them to increase survivability
and use for the community after an overtopping
4.6 Overtopping Sections
Since overtopping is an overload event for FDS,
one of the key components for resilient design is
to provide suffcient overtopping sections to allow
for the protected area to safely food when foods
exceed the level of protection. Banks and levees
should not erode and breach during fooding,
even when top of barrier levels are exceeded. The
geotechnical engineer for banks and levees and
the structural engineer for foodwalls should con-
fer with the hydraulic designer to determine the
need for and extent of overtopping protection
such that the FDS works as a system. Usually for a
river setting, different levee heights relative to the
design water surface from reach to reach can be
utilised to force overtopping in a desired location.
Designs using superiority (increment of additional
height added above design elevation to account
for unknowns) can force initial overtopping in the
least hazardous location. For a river setting, con-
tinuous superiority should be provided over the
length of the project to limit fow over the levee
to the controlled overtopping section(s). Water
surface profles above the design profle need to
be examined to apply superiority. The rate of over-
topping of a levee or foodwall can be diffcult to
predict, however there are several good sources
of design aids. For initial overtopping, the least
hazardous location, like an undeveloped area,
for initial inundation of the interior is preferred. A
good overtopping design can force overtopping
in a selected reach and provides an initial cush-
ion of water in interior areas to lessen overtopping
impacts in other levee reaches. Development of
a plunge pool or spillway on the protected side
of the levee is a resilient feature that can reduce
the erosive effects of water impacting on the pro-
tected side of the levee.
Figure 7: Scour hole formation by overtopping jet (from
Hoffmans and Verheij, 1997) Lessons Learnt: Provide an
erosion-resistant surface on the levee adjacent to the
wall on the protective side.
Planned overtopping sections should be consid-
ered as part of all FDS projects, but where banks
and levees are composed of erodible soils or where
overtopping will result in high velocity fows over
the levee crest and slopes or over foodwalls, then
erosion protection should be provided. Coastal
levees should provide scour protection along the
entire length of the levee for the still water level
plus wave heights due to the uncertainty associat-
ed with wave and storm surge overtopping rates.
Flood side slope erosion and/or toe scour should
also be prevented when high stream velocities
are predicted during fooding.
Figure 8: Scour protection against overtopping should
be provided in order to prevent erosion of resisting soil
on the protected side of the wall.

Figure 9: Note resilient features, controlled overtopping
section with armouring.
Pictures from FEMA.
4.7 Transition Sections
Transitions in FDS should be designed such that
any differential defections under load, long-term
settlement, or overtopping events do not cause
decreased performance of the FDS. Transitions
which incorporate overfow weir sections should
incorporate defensive measures to assure that
food fow will not adversely affect the stability
or performance of the system and also that any
incidental damage to protected structures is un-
derstood and mitigated if necessary. Transitions,
connections or corners between different types
of features should include erosion protection and
should be capable of accommodating differen-
tial movements. Figure 10 shows scour at the tran-
sition from the 3-D effect of water spilling over and
then fowing laterally down the slope with the wall
that worsens localised erosion. Figure 11 shows a
schematic of this 3-D effect.
5.1. General Performance Requirement
The FDS should be designed, operated and main-
tained to resiliently survive the design storm event.
This means that the reliability of the structure, sys-
tem or component for the FDS during the storm
event must be primary considerations during de-
sign, selection and layout of features. For storms
that exceed the design storm, the FDS should be
designed with resilient features to survive without
incurring the type of damage to the system that
would impact its ability to prevent catastrophic
fooding or be repaired prior to the next storm. Crit-
ical maintenance, inspections and assessments
should be performed throughout the service life
of the system to satisfy the design intent regarding
public safety and operational adequacy.

Figure 10: Scour due to 3-D effect during overtopping at transition areas; also see Figure 11
for a schematic of this scour caused by water overtopping and then fowing laterally with the wall.
Figure 11: Schematic showing the 3-D effect that happens during overtopping
at transition areas of water spilling over and then fowing laterally down the slope that worsens localised erosion,
armouring is needed to provide resilience,
also see Figure 10 for photograph of this 3-D effect of scour.
5.2. Operation Considerations
An acceptable state of readiness on the part of
the operator must be continuously maintained
and exercised. Many levees have failed because
of neglected maintenance. The FDS in their origi-
nal design might have been able to withstand
overloads but due to neglected maintenance,
they are more vulnerable to breaching.
Suffcient numbers of qualifed and experienced
personnel must be on hand to operate/install
project pump stations, closure structures, interior
drainage features and to patrol the project dur-
ing a food loading. The project operator should
also maintain a transactional history of project
operations and post-event reports capturing per-
formance and operation lessons learnt from each
event. The project operator should ensure that:
Operation and maintenance manuals are in
use and operating staff are knowledgeable of
the content therein.
Suffcient supplies of emergency and food fght
materials are always on hand (sand bags, shov-
els, plastic sheeting, etc.). Stored gates like stop-
log closures need to be protected from theft.
An addendum to the operations and mainte-
nance manual outlining specifc operations
issues and lessons learnt is inserted and main-
tained in the record.
Skilled personnel are available throughout the
food event and for a suffcient period before-
hand to adequately prepare the FDS defences.
5.3. Periodic Assessment/Evaluation
Implement programmes for the inspection and
assessment of existing structures to determine re-
silience along with recommendations to rehabili-
tate defcient structures. With global warming con-
cerns, we may have larger, more intense storms, in
conjunction with deteriorating levees, the major-
ity of which were NOT built with resilient features.
Also because of the false sense of security, higher
value, more vulnerable assets are constructed in
the food plain.
5.3.1. What To Do With Defcient, Non-Resilient
While it is realised societal demands on funding will
make it diffcult to repair all defciencies, ministries
need to have effective prioritisation programmes
that weigh cost against consequences to achieve
tolerable risk levels.
In areas were subsidence is possible, a monitoring
system should be implemented to establish datum
and provide periodic measurements. An effective
instrumentation programme also needs to be in-
cluded to help monitor the system, especially dur-
ing a storm event. Operations plans need to assure
that trained and deployable personnel are avail-
able. This would include a testing and certifcation
programme for individuals involved in executing
the work. Systems that do not rely on active de-
cision making are preferred to an action such as
deciding when to activate an overfow gate in the
event of overtopping, which can be a highly po-
litical decision resulting in inadequate decisions.
Wherever possible, any actions policy should be
described by a written process that describes the
food defence requirements of elected offcials
and which allows the FDS owner to use their expe-
rience and engineering judgement without politi-
cal interference or delay.
5.3.2. Emergency Action and Communication
A well thought out plan that uses effective com-
munications and evacuation planning can limit
the loss of life. The potential risks for disruption of
lifeline services need to be identifed to assure the
food waters do not remove emergency evacua-
tion routes. As the population at risk increases for
existing levees, then the plan needs to be revisited
for current standards.
Enclosed are a summary of lessons learnt and best
practices for engineers that can be used in the
design or evaluation of FDS to assure satisfactory
performance during and after a signifcant food
event. Incorporating the concept of resilience to
overloading into an FDS is of critical importance
if the food exceeds the design parameters. The
features described will improve resilience of the
system by allowing it to survive this overload with-
out catastrophic failure, endure only cosmetic
damage, be capable of withstanding the design
loads after the signifcant food event passes and
to return to normal service quickly and at minimal
cost. The incremental costs of these features are
minor compared to the benefts of minimising loss
of life by being resilient. While failure scenarios to
overloading can manifest themselves in many
components of a FDS, a key resilient feature for
many systems is to provide an overtopping sec-
tion with armouring.
While this report is not a building code, the recom-
mendation is to further develop this relevant infor-
mation into a comprehensive Model Flood Design
Building Code, specifying minimum requirements
to provide resilient systems to ensure that dan-
ger to the human population is minimised if a sys-
tem capacity is exceeded. As a model building
code, users could simply edit for their circumstanc-
es when awarding design contracts, i.e. remove
hurricane if not in a hurricane zone. Please con-
tact authors if interested in developing a Resilient
Flood Defence Building Code.
The authors would like to thank PIANC (http://www. that sponsored InCom Working Group
137 Navigation Structures Role within Flood De-
fence Systems Resilience and Performance un-
der Overloading Conditions. We especially want
to thank Mr Donald Dressler of the US Army Corps
of Engineers who inspired many of concepts pre-
sented in the paper.
2009 USACE Infrastructure Conference, Proceed-
ings from Workshop on EC 1110-2-6066 Design/
Evaluation of I-Walls, Cleveland, OH, Huntington
District, presentation from Sullivan, Hensley, and
Clarkson, July 21, 2009.
Inland Waterborne Transport: Connecting Coun-
tries, International Navigation Association (PIANC),
The United Nations World Water Development Re-
port 3 Water in a Changing World, March 2009.
Interagency Performance Evaluation Taskforce
(IPET), the report is provided in nine volumes, Unit-
ed States Army Corps of Engineers.
International Flood Risk Management Approach-
es: From Theory to Practice, held November 30-
December 1 in Washington, D.C. http://www.
Rethinking Defenses Against Seas Power, Wash-
ington Post, Washington Post Foreign Service, By
Molly Moore, Thursday, September 8, 2005.
What happened in 1953? The Big Flood in the
Netherlands in retrospect, Herman Gerritsen,
Royal Society Publishing, 10.1098/rsta.2005.1568
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 15 June 2005 vol. 363 no. 1831
ETL 1110-2-299 Overtopping of Flood Control Le-
vees and Floodwalls, 22 August 1986, United States
Army Corps of Engineers.
EM 1110-2-6056 Standards and Procedures for Ref-
erencing Project Evaluation Grades to Nationwide
Vertical Datums, December 31, 2010, United States
Army Corps of Engineers.
CIRIA C635 London (2006): Designing for Ex-
ceedance in Urban Drainage Good Practice,
David Balmforth MWH, Christopher Digman MWH,
Richard Kellagher HR Wallingford, David Butler Uni-
versity of Exeter.
Given the increasing frequency of fooding chal-
lenging food defences, it is important that the sur-
vival characteristics of systems, such as embank-
ment or levees, or even surge food barriers, are
examined. These barrier or defence systems are
created by the use of engineered structures and
are generally based on resisting a design load. A
signifcant issue affecting Flood Defence Systems
(FDS) is the diffculty of predicting how these struc-
tures will behave when they have been loaded
beyond their designed capacity by a food. The
overload can cause these structures to fail cata-
strophically and potentially unexpectedly with loss
of life and substantial damage to property. For a
limited incremental investment, by including resil-
ient features shown in this document, the FDS can
dramatically lessen the chances for loss of life and
property damage. While not a building code, the
following provides guidance on how to improve
the resilience of FDS so they will not fail catastroph-
ically when overloaded beyond their designed
Dans ce contexte daugmentation de la frquence
doccurence des inondations qui remettent en
question la pertinence des ouvrages de dfense,
il importe de rexaminer les caractristiques de
stabilit des structures telles que les digues, les
leves ou mme les barrires anti-temptes. Ces
systmes de dfense reposent sur ldifcation de
structures de gnie civil conues gnralement
partir de cas de charges dimensionnants. Une
des diffcults dans la conception des systmes
de dfenses contre les inondations rside dans
lapprciation du comportement quaurait la
structure dans lventualit dun dpassement de
ces cas de charges loccasion dune forte in-
ondation. Lexcs defforts peut conduire une
rupture catastrophique non anticipe entrain-
ant des pertes en vies humaines et des atteintes
aux biens. Moyennant une augmentation limite
des investissements et en adoptant les disposi-
tions favorables la rsilience prconises dans
le prsent document, on peut parvenir rduire
de faon spectaculaire le risque de perte de vies
humaine et de dommages aux biens. Sans pr-
tendre au statut de code de construction, le texte
ci-dessous propose des recommandations per-
mettant daugmenter la rsistance des structures
de dfenses contre les inondations afn dviter le
risque de rupture catastrophique en cas de sur-
charge de louvrage au-del de son niveau de
Vor dem Hintergrund einer steigenden Hufgkeit
von berfutungen und den Herausforderungen
bezglich Abwehrmanahmen ist es wichtig, dass
der Fortbestand von Systemen, wie Bschungen oder
Aufschttungen oder sogar Sturmfutsperrwerke, un-
tersucht werden. Diese Barrieren oder Abwehrsys-
teme werden durch die Errichtung von Bauwerken
geschaffen und basieren generell auf dem Wider-
stand gegenber einer zulssigen Last. Ein wichti-
ger Punkt bei Flutabwehrsystemen (Flood Defence
Systems (FDS)) ist die Schwierigkeit der Vorhersage,
wie sich diese Bauwerke verhalten, wenn sie durch
eine Flut jenseits ihrer Bemessungsgrenze belastet
werden. Die berbeanspruchung kann dazu fh-
ren, dass diese Bauwerke katastrophal versagen
und es mglicherweise unerwartet einen Verlust
an Leben und einen groen Schaden an Eigentum
gibt. Da noch keine Bauvorschriften existieren, gibt
dieser Artikel eine Anleitung, wie der Widerstand
von Bauwerken zur Flutabwehr verbessert werden
kann, sodass sie nicht versagen, wenn sie ber ihre
maximale Kapazitt hinaus belastet werden.
Dado el incremento experimentado en el nmero
de iniciativas de defensa frente a episodios de in-
undacin, es importante que se proceda a revisar
las caractersticas de diseo de estos sistemas, tales
como presas, diques o barreras. Estos sistemas de
defensa se disean generalmente utilizando estruc-
turas defnidas en funcin de su resistencia frente a
determinadas cargas de clculo. Un factor impor-
tante que afecta a los sistemas de defensa frente
a inundaciones (FDS) es la difcultad de predecir
cmo se comportarn estas infraestructuras ante
situaciones que resulten ms desfavorables que las
condiciones tericas de diseo. Dichas sobrecargas
pueden causar un fallo catastrfco e inesperado
de la estructura que acarree la prdida de vidas
humanas e importantes daos econmicos. Los FDS
pueden ayudar a reducir sustancialmente los riesgos
asociados a estas situaciones, a travs de la mejora
de sus caractersticas resistentes, y con un incremen-
to moderado de las inversiones asociadas. Si bien
no se trata de una normativa de construccin pro-
piamente dicha, el presente artculo muestra lneas
de trabajo sobre cmo mejorar la resistencia de los
FDS, de tal manera que stos no fallen de manera
catastrfca cuando se sobrecarguen ms all de
su capacidad de diseo.
KEY WORDS: Floating wave attenuator, Tandem
breakwater, Wave transmission, Harbour tranquil-
lity, Partial wave barrier
MOTS-CLES: Brise-clapots fottants, Brise-lames
catamaran, Transmission de la houle, Attnuation
dans les ports, Attnuation partielle de houle
To better support the current and future needs of
the Lummi Nations fshing feet, a newly created
harbour was proposed at Fishermans Cove. The
Cove is a semi-protected water body in Hales Pas-
sage between Lummi Island and the mainland of
Gooseberry Point in Washington. Gooseberry Point
is located at the western tip of Fishermans Cove,
which is home to the Gooseberry Point community
as well as the mainland terminal for the Lummi Is-
land Ferry. The area includes tribal lands with tribal
jurisdictional control of the seabed up to a depth
of approximately -4.5 feet (-1.4 m) mean lower-low
water (MLLW), the depth of maximum recorded
low tide.
There are three existing piers along the south-fac-
ing shoreline a fuelling pier, a ferry dock and an
offoading pier that serves the tribal fshing feet.
Historically, the near-shore waters of Fishermans
Cove have been used for shallow water net fshing
of migratory species but the Lummi have lacked
wet berths for mooring the fshing feet. A design
programme was established to create a protect-
ed commercial port and harbour that will accom-
modate the tribes growing feet of nearly 180 ves-
sels, incorporate storage, repair and net layout
Jack C. Cox, PE, DPE, DCE, DNE
625 Williamson Street,
Madison, WI 53703, PH (608) 327-4401,
Fax: (734) 780-8666,
Jason Stangland, PLA, LEED AP
625 Williamson Street,
Madison, WI 53703, PH (608) 327-4412,
Fax: (734) 780-8977,
facilities and expedite off-loading of the feets
catch to the existing processing plant. It would
also provide a safe harbour for vessels caught in
a storm and support Coast Guard operations and
fuelling for other area vessels.
Environmental Permitting
The permitting framework for the Fishermans Cove
project is complex, involving tribal review and ap-
proval processes as well as both state and federal
reviews. Early in the design process, it was recog-
nised that site environmental conditions and per-
mitting requirements would be the biggest hurdles
to expediting approvals and commencing with
construction. The cove supports a known popula-
tion of eel grass in waters of less than 15 feet (4.6
metres) MLLW. These eel grass meadows provide
critical nursery grounds for spawning fsh, preclud-
ing the construction of fxed breakwater systems
directly on the seabed. This meant the permitting
feasibility of the design was contingent on the
performance of a foating breakwater system to
safely harbour the Lummis feet.
Wind and Wave Climate
Wind and wave climate projections for the pro-
posed harbour site were largely based on 55 years
of wind data collected at Bellingham International
Airport, which were analysed to develop a direc-
tional wind hindcast. An additional series of wind
and wave measurements were also collected at
the site for calibration with long-term airport re-
cords. The calibrated data was then adjusted to
account for radical changes in topography in the
immediate area, including the tall San Juan Island
Chain and the Chuckanut Mountain Range along
the coast that can redirect and funnel winds while
refracting waves toward or away from the site.
Combined with bathymetric survey data and tidal
information, the new data were used to determine
the design wave climate for the project. The re-
sults of the calibration revealed that wind informa-
tion from the nearby Bellingham Airport diverged
from the wind conditions at the site in both direc-
tion and magnitude. Therefore, the initial assump-
tions of design conditions for the purpose of physi-
cal modelling proved conservative. Subsequent
to model testing, the results were re-correlated to
new return period conditions based on the actual
measurements at the site.
The most frequent and extreme winds with wave
generating potential that impact the harbour site
are from the southeasterly quadrant. While north-
west winds were highest in terms of actual wind
speeds and longest fetch, they produced waves
that only indirectly reached the site after be-
ing refracted and diffracted around the islands.
Winds coming from the southeast to the south
have the greatest direct impact on the site due to
topographic funnelling of the winds between the
coastal mountains and Lummi Island. Winds from
this direction are both the strongest observed (36.5
% of all winds exceeding 39 knots) and the most
frequently occurring (52 % of the winds come from
this direction). The 100-year, two-minute wind was
initially established as 64 mph (averaged across
southeast to south winds).
Waves reaching the project site are controlled by
the available fetch (length of open water across
which wave can propagate). Due to the height of
the Chuckanut coastal range, the upwind portion
of the fetch can be in the wind shadow and may
not contribute fully to wave generation. The mini-
mum fetch distance is 6 miles (9.7 km), bounded
by Eliza Island to the southeast; however the maxi-
mum potential fetch is 13.7 miles (22 km), extend-
ing to the tidal shoals of Samish Bay.
Waves were computed for both of these cases for
the 25 and 100 year directional winds using the Au-
tomated Coastal Engineering Software program
(ACES). Assuming the longest possible fetch, the
100-year wave condition was estimated to be H

= 8.2 ft and T
= 5.6 seconds. The 25-year condi-
tion was estimated to be H
= 6.5 ft and T
= 5.2
seconds. If the lesser fetch length is assumed, the
100-year condition is still Hmo = 4.9 ft and T
= 4.1
seconds and the 25-year is H
= 3.9 ft and T
= 3.8
seconds. Even with the shorter fetch assumption,
these storm wave conditions exceed generally
accepted thresholds for foating wave attenuator
For waves in and near the planned harbour en-
trance, the project objective was to limit the agita-
tion level to less than 1 metre (approximately 3 feet)
during the design operating storm. This is related to
the ability of a vessel to manoeuver through a re-
stricted water space at very low speed, which results
in limited control over steering. In these conditions,
control of commercial vessels can only be main-
tained in a wave climate less than 1 metre/3 feet.
The design team had to fnd a way to increase the
performance of foating wave attenuators in this
long wave-period climate. The conceptual solution
was to employ a tandem arrangement of broad-
beam, deep-draft foating wave attenuators. The
mechanics of this dual system considered draft
and effective breadth of attenuator elements,
wave sheltering of the lee attenuator and the dy-
namics of the wave feld between the two foat-
ing units. A three-dimensional physical model was
constructed and tested to verify the performance
of the proposed system, adjust the harbour con-
fguration to enhance performance and develop
predictions for structure design loads to be used
in the fnal design. Physical model testing also ex-
plored the potential benefts of introducing curva-
ture into the attenuator face, an approach that
results in a more oblique wave impact and there-
by increases the effective beam width of the at-
tenuating structures.
Performance Theory for Tandem Floating
Wave Attenuator System
The performance theory for a single foating wave
attenuator can be closely estimated by the theo-
retical relationship developed by Cox (2005) and
given by the following equation:
= C
= wave transmission coeffcient for fnite width
= [2(1+(2B/L)
] = foat width
correction factor
= 2P/(1+P) = wave power transmission coeff-
cient for a thin profle foat
P = [4(d-D)/L + sinh4(d-D)/L]/ [4 d/L + sinh4(d)/L]
B = apparent breadth of attenuator, adjusted for
the wave approach angle
D = maximum draft of attenuator
d = water depth
L = local wavelength
For a conventional single-foat system, the breadth
of the attenuator is defned as the span between
the seaward and leeward faces of the foat. It is
preferable that there is not a free surface of water
between the two faces, but this does not neces-
sarily require that the attenuator be a completely
solid block shape. A distinct front and back wall,
or barrier, with a retracted bottom between can
trap a mass of water inside creating a virtual mass.
The result is an attenuator that behaves, hydro-
dynamically, as if the foat were solid. For this
trapping to be effective, the distance between
faces should not be more than 10 times with an
absolute maximum of 17 times the draft of the
seaward face. For example, if the maximum draft
of the front face is 5 feet (1.5 m), then the overall
breadth of the foat should not be more than 50
feet (15 m). If the distance between the two bar-
riers (faces) is greater than this amount, the two
faces of the structure can be assumed to act in-
From a practical size perspective, previous expe-
rience with foating attenuators has consistently
confrmed that effective performance of such
systems fails when wave periods exceed 3 to 4
seconds in length. Preliminary wave climate data
indicated that a single deep-draft, wide-beam at-
tenuator could not be built to damp the expected
waves at Fishermans Cove. The draft would need
to be at least half the water depth and the beam
would need to be tens of metres wide. Therefore,
SmithGroupJJR elected to employ the strategy
of a tandem foating wave attenuator system.
Since a theory for the joint behaviour of two foat-
ing attenuators acting independently while work-
ing in tandem did not exist, it was developed for
this project. Because the separation between the
two foating modules is too far for them to interact
within the passage of a single wave, sequential
wave attenuation was assumed.
Two methods were used for estimating sequential
damping for monochromatic waves (waves of a
consistently repeating period and height); design
conditions assumed a water depth of 30 feet (9.1
m) and wave approach angle of 0 degrees, with
the attenuators having a draft of 9 feet (2.75 m)
each with a gross beam of 30 feet/9.1 m for all cal-
culations. The frst method, Multiplicative Reduc-
tion, assumes that with identical foating sections,
both units work at 100 % theoretical effciency. The
second method, Two Stage Reduction, presumes
that the inside (or leeward) foating attenuator is
only 80 % effcient compared to theory. Both cal-
culations assume there is no additional contribu-
tion to the wave height of the transmitted wave
beyond the leeward foating attenuator due to
interior basin refections.
To validate if either theory simulated the actual
performance of a tandem operating attenuator
system, theoretical results were calculated for the
damped wave height levels generated by dif-
ferent wave periods; these calculations assumed
tandem attenuators confgured to present simple
angle of incidence (two-dimensional) wave at-
tack. Comparative incident wave height values
were then derived from the measured results of
the physical model test completed by National
Research Council Canadian Hydraulics Cen-
tre (NRC-CHC). To avoid contamination of the
measured data due to wave refections in the
test tank, only the frst ten waves in the wave train
were analysed, wave by wave, to measure the
actual transmission coeffcient. Results from the
two theoretical methods for estimating sequen-
tial damping were then compared to the actual
transmitted wave heights generated by the physi-
cal modelling.
Comparison of Performance Theory to
Measured Results
Figure 1 shows a comparison of the two double
attenuation theories versus the actual, modelled
measurements (monochromatic waves only).
The results suggest that the Two Stage Reduction
theory represents only a slightly better correspon-
dence to the measured results than Multiplicative
Reduction and that both tend to diverge from the
measured results as wave periods become longer.
While the cause of the divergence was not fully
determined, it is theorised that it may be due in
part to the natural roll period and heaving asso-
ciated with the modelled structures as the wave
period increases. The discovery that the effciency
of the lee side attenuator is degraded is not sur-
prising, as the wave pattern between the two at-
tenuators becomes increasingly confused due to
refections, and in fact the right running and left
running waves between the two foats may even
be out of phase.
Figure 2 shows the wave damping performance
of the tandem attenuator system as measured by
the physical model. This fgure is based on wave
attack from 165 degrees with waves up to 5 sec-
ond periods; periods up to and beyond 6 seconds
were also modelled in other scenarios. The table
graphs the height of the incoming, incident wave
height and period against the resulting transmit-
ted wave height in the harbour basin. The model-
ling showed that a tandem attenuator system is
able to produce the desired commercial harbour
wave climate of 1 metre (3.25 ft) or less up to a
wave period of nearly 6 seconds a signifcant in-
crease over the current recommended limit of 3
to 3.5 seconds.
Figure 1: Comparison of Measured (Modelled) vs. Theoretical Wave Heights
Figure 2: Wave Reduction for Modelled Tandem Attenuator System
The resulting harbour plan (Figure 3) remains rela-
tively similar to the initial conceptual design. This
fnal layout was developed through iterative revi-
sions undertaken during the physical model test
and based on the documented results of wave
patterns and tandem attenuator effectiveness at
mitigating long period waves. The southernmost
outer breakwater was initially shaped in a curve to
diffuse southerly approaching waves by defect-
ing them radially instead of back on themselves
and to increase the effective width of the outer
attenuator. As expected, this shape improved the
navigational safety around the attenuator, espe-
cially near the harbour entrance, by reducing the
wave superposing caused from the refections.
However, the full three-dimensional analysis re-
vealed that when waves from the opposing north-
erly direction were also introduced, these waves,
which effectively traversed the length of the west-
ern attenuator at a very fat angle as a mach-stem
wave, would then be refected back north into
the marina from the inside face of the southern
attenuator at the harbour entrance. This made a
northerly wave direction a key southerly design
criterion. The solution was to modify the shape of
the southerly attenuator curve, particularly near
the entrance, so that the refected waves were
redirected more laterally, much like moving the
focal point of a parabola.
The plan incorporates all-season mooring for ap-
proximately 165 vessels, with additional seasonal
wet berths accommodated in the zone between
the tandem attenuator system through the installa-
tion of temporary dockage. This expanded calm-
season dockage provides the opportunity to gen-
erate revenue from slip rental and/or to increase
tribal feet capacity. During calm conditions, the
wide attenuators also provide storage space for
fshing gear and layout space for activities such as
net repair.
The overall design provides numerous benefts be-
yond supporting the development of wet berths
in a suitably calm harbour. Additional benefts in-
Figure 3: Plan for harbour with a tandem attenuator system
Improved offoading of the feets catch through
the full range of tides
Expanded space for more effcient offoad-
ing and transfer of the catch to the processing
plant, reducing feet turn-around time
Improved near-shore tranquillity supporting in-
creased use and access to the boat launch
Better protection for the Lummi Island Ferry ter-
minal, helping to reduce service outages
Creation of a safe harbour for the Coast Guard
and other vessels operating in the area during
inclement weather and tidal fuctuations
Elimination of the need for costly, routine main-
tenance dredging that would have resulted
from development of a near-shore facility
Protection of critical eel grass habitat by plac-
ing facilities outside areas of known beds
Environmental permittivity that would not have
been possible with fxed breakwater construc-
tion impacts on the seafoor
Physical model testing of a tandem attenuator
system demonstrated that it is possible to address
conditions where dominant wave periods are lon-
ger than the 3 to 3.5-second limit that has typically
constrained the application of foating wave at-
tenuators. It is important to note that the required
attenuator size and draft are signifcant and likely
custom designed, though the same theory should
be applicable to standard attenuator deploy-
ments. The model tests also reconfrmed the fnd-
ings of previously published feld measurements on
wave forces transmitted to mooring lines of long
attenuator systems: that the real design force may
be assumed to be at least 50 % less than theoreti-
cal two-dimensional analysis would suggest.
A design approach that increases foating wave
attenuator performance and utilisation could
prove highly benefcial to projects facing per-
mitting or budgetary limitations related to fxed
breakwall construction. In cases where permitting
requires no fll of the lake or sea bottom, or where
the water depths limit the feasibility of convention-
al breakwaters, maximising the wave damping
effectiveness of foating attenuator technology
could represent a feasible design solution.
Cox, J.C. (2005): Why are Manhole Covers Round?
or Understanding Basic Coastal Design, Proceed-
ings from Solutions to Coastal Disasters, Reston, VA,
American Society of Civil Engineering.
Cox, J.C. and others (2012): Chapter 2: Entrance,
Breakwater and Basin Design, ASCE Manual 50:
Planning and Design Guidelines for Small Craft
Harbors, Third Edition, American Society of Civil En-
Gilman, J.F. and Kriebel, D.L. (2000): Partial depth
pile supported wave barriers: A design procedure,
In: I. Losada (Ed.), Coastal Structures 99 (pp. 549-
558), Brookfeld, VT, A.A. Balkema Publishers.
National Research Council Canada Canadian
Hydraulics Centre (2012): Hydraulic Model Study
of a New Marina at Gooseberry Point, WA (CHC-
CTR-150), Ottawa, Canada, A. Cornett.
Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Ltd. (1980): Study
to Determine Acceptable Wave Climate in Small
Craft Harbors (Canadian manuscript report of
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Issue No. 1581), Ot-
tawa, Ontario, Canada, Department of Fisheries
and Oceans, Small Craft Harbors Branch.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1986): Floating
Breakwater Prototype Test Program: Seattle, Wash-
ington (USACE Miscellaneous Paper CERC-86-3),
Washington, DC, Department of the Army.
As society becomes more environmentally con-
scious, the Holy Grail for harbour and shoreline
protection is to fnd a design solution that doesnt
impact the seafoor or lakebed. While fxed, rubble-
mound breakwaters or break walls and caissons
of high structural capacity are well-established
technical solutions for mitigating waves, they can
have adverse environmental impacts, which can
infuence permitting timeframes or make a proj-
ect unfeasible. Even breakwaters that support the
creation and/or protection of habitat may still be
viewed by many as having an adverse environ-
mental impact if they affect the seafoor.
The primary alternative is to employ foating wave
attenuator technology, an approach that is diff-
cult to utilise broadly for projects because it is an
imperfect foil to wave action. Further, its effective-
ness is fully a function of the period of the wave (not
the height of the wave); the longer the wave pe-
riod, the less effective the systems performance.
Practically speaking, foating attenuators have only
been a viable solution for wave periods of roughly
3 seconds or less. This has limited their applicability
to smaller bodies of water or to very wind sheltered
zones. However, to develop a new harbour de-
sign for the Lummi Nation in Puget Sound, a foat-
ing wave attenuator system was the only avenue
available due to regulatory concerns over seafoor
impacts associated with rubble-mound breakwa-
ter construction and the prohibitively high cost of
building a thin-footprint structural break wall for
protection. This paper summarises the testing and
development of an innovative new approach to
employing foating wave attenuators that over-
comes previous limitations and promises to expand
the effective use of this attenuation system.
The design for the Lummi Nations fshing harbour
challenges the notion that a foating wave attenu-
ator system cannot be used to successfully mitigate
longer period waves. Designers posited that a pair
of attenuators working in tandem could success-
fully overcome longer wave periods. This theory
was then verifed through three-dimensional physi-
cal model testing. By modelling and confrming the
solutions validity, the designers have formulated
a simple, closed-form analytical tool for planning
and designing other attenuator systems that can
be employed in conditions that experience wave
periods up to approximately 6 seconds.
Dans une socit o les aspects environnemen-
taux sont davantage pris en considration, la
qute du Graal en matire de protection ctire
et portuaire consiste rechercher un dispositif
naffectant pas les fonds marins ou lacustres. Si
les ouvrages fxes tels que les digues talus ou
les structures verticales difes laide de cais-
sons largement dimensionns reprsentent des
techniques parfaitement maitrises dattnuation
des vagues, elles peuvent prsenter des impacts
environnementaux ngatifs, ce qui peut infu-
encer les dlais prvoir ou rendre un projet in-
faisable. Mme les digues favorisant la cration
ou la protection dhabitat peuvent tre consid-
res par beaucoup comme portant atteinte
lenvironnement ds lors quelles affectent les
fonds marins.
Une premire option consiste recourir aux brise-
clapots fottants. Il sagit dune approche quil est
diffcile dadopter pour bon nombre de projets car
ce type de structure ne protge quimparfaitement.
De plus, son effcacit dpend grandement de la
priode de la houle (et pas de sa hauteur). Plus
la priode est grande, plus leffcacit de systme
diminue. En pratique, les brise-clapots fottants ne
constituent une solution viable que si la priode de
la houle ne dpasse pas 3 secondes environ. Cette
contrainte les a confns des plans deau de
taille rduite ou des zones particulirement abri-
tes du vent. Toutefois, dans le cadre de projet de
cration du nouveau port de Puget Sound (Indiens
Lummi), la mise en oeuvre dun brise-clapots fot-
tant tait la seule solution technique envisageable
en raison de la lgislation relative aux impacts sur
les fonds marins quentrainent la construction des
digues talus et du cot prohibitif dun ouvrage
de protection qui nimprimerait, sur ces fonds,
quune empreinte de faible largeur. Le prsent
papier fait la synthse des tests et des travaux de
dveloppement mens dans le cadre de cette
approche innovante dutilisation des attnuateurs
de houle fottants qui constituent une rponse aux
limitations techniques pralablement mentionnes
et qui devraient permettre dtendre le champ
dapplication de ce type de systme dattnuation.
Le projet du port de pche de la Nation Lummi d-
montre quil est possible, contrairement aux ides
reues, de concevoir un attnuateur de houle
fottant performant mme pour des priodes
de houle relativement importantes pour ce type
douvrage. Les concepteurs ont fait lhypothse
quune paire dattnuateurs travaillant de concert
serait susceptible dintercepter les ondes longues.
Le bien-fond de ce principe a ensuite t vri-
f sur la base de tests tridimensionnels sur modle
physique. En sappuyant sur les rsultats de la mo-
dlisation qui validait leur solution technique, les
concepteurs ont pu proposer des expressions ana-
lytiques explicites permettant dtendre les rgles
de conception et de dimensionnement dautres
systmes dattnuation de houle restant perfor-
mants jusqu des priodes denviron 6 secondes.

Da die Gesellschaft umweltbewusster wird, ist es der
Heilige Gral, fr den Hafen- und Kstenschutz eine
Gestaltungsmglichkeit zu fnden, die den Meeres-
bzw. Seegrund nicht beeintrchtigt. Da sie ortsfest
sind, stellen Blockschttungswellenbrecher, Brech-
erwnde und Senkksten von hoher statischer Be-
lastbarkeit eine bewhrte technische Lsung gegen
Flutwellen dar. Sie knnen nachteilige Auswirkun-
gen auf die Umwelt haben, wodurch sie Zeitfenster
fr Genehmigungsverfahren beeinfussen oder ein
Projekt gar undurchfhrbar machen. Sogar Wellen-
brecher, die die Bildung und/oder den Schutz von
Lebensrumen frdern, knnen dennoch von vielen
so gesehen werden, dass sie einen negativen Einfuss
auf die Umwelt haben, wenn sie den Meeresgrund
Eine erste Alternative ist der Einsatz einer schwim-
menden Wellendmpfer-Technologie, ein Ansatz,
der nur schwer fr die Mehrzahl der Projekte ange-
wendet werden kann, da die Dmpfungsfolie ge-
gen Wellenschlag nur eine unzureichende Lsung
darstellt. Des Weiteren ist ihr Wirkungsgrad von der
Wellenperiode abhngig (nicht von der Hhe der
Welle); je lnger eine Welle andauert, desto weniger
effektiv ist die Leistung des Systems. Praktisch geseh-
en waren aufschwimmende Wellenbrecher nur eine
brauchbare Lsung fr ca. drei Sekunden oder krzer
andauernde Wellen. Das hat ihren Einsatz fr kleinere
Gewsser oder auf sehr windgeschtzte Zonen bes-
chrnkt. Fr die Neugestaltung des Hafens fr Lummi
Nation in Puget Sound war der Einsatz solcher schwim-
mender Wellenbrecher jedoch der einzig gangbare
Weg, bedingt durch rechtliche Bedenken bezglich
Beeintrchtigung des Meeresgrundes in Verbindung
mit geschtteten Wellenbrechern und den immens
hohen Kosten fr den Bau eines Wellenbrechers von
geringer Aufstandfche als Schutz. Dieser Artikel
fasst die Testergebnisse und die Entwicklung eines
neuen innovativen Ansatzes fr aufschwimmende
Wellenbrecher zusammen, der bisherige Beschrn-
kungen berwindet und verspricht, den wirksamen
Gebrauch dieses Dmpfungssystems zu erweitern.
Bei der Gestaltung des Lummi Nation Fischere-
ihafens besteht die Herausforderung darin, dass
das aufschwimmende Wellenbrechersystem nicht
zufriedenstellend fr den Schutz vor lnger andau-
ernden Wellen eingesetzt werden kann. Die Planer
haben vorgeschlagen, dass zwei Wellenbrecher,
die hintereinander arbeiten, lnger andauernde
Wellen erfolgreich abwehren knnen. Diese Theorie
wurde in einem dreidimensionalen physikalischen
Versuchsmodell verifziert. Mittels Modellierung und
Besttigung der Gltigkeit der Ergebnisse haben die
Konstrukteure ein einfaches, geschlossenes analy-
tisches System zur Planung und Gestaltung alterna-
tiver Wellenbrechersysteme formuliert, die unter Bed-
ingungen, bei denen die Wellenperiode maximal
sechs Sekunden betrgt, eingesetzt werden knnen.
A medida que la sociedad se hace ms sensible
frente a aspectos ambientales, el Santo Grial de la
proteccin portuaria y costera es en tratar de en-
contrar soluciones que impacten lo menos posible
sobre el sustrato marino. Los diques en talud o los
muros verticales de alta resistencia estructural son
soluciones conocidas que brindan proteccin frente
al oleaje, si bien pueden tener impactos ambientales
asociados que conlleven efectos desfavorables so-
bre los plazos de construccin, o que, en el lmite, lle-
guen a hacer los proyectos inviables. Incluso diques
que sirven para la creacin y proteccin de nuevos
hbitats pueden ser vistos por determinados colec-
tivos como ambientalmente negativos si afectan al
sustrato marino.
La primera alternativa que se plantea frente a estas
situaciones es el empleo de tecnologa basada en
elementos fotantes, aunque resulta de difcil apli-
cacin para determinados proyectos, ya que se
trata de elementos generalmente poco efectivos
como proteccin frente a la accin del oleaje. De
hecho, su efcacia est inversamente relacionada
con el periodo del oleaje (y no tanto con su altura),
de tal manera que a mayores periodos, menor efec-
tividad del sistema.
Desde un punto de vista prctico, los elementos
fotantes slo se consideran una solucin viable para
perodos del oleaje en el entorno de los 3 segundos
o inferiores. Este hecho ha limitado su aplicacin en
pequeas lminas de agua, o en zonas afectadas
nicamente por oleaje de viento. Partiendo de esta
premisa, durante el desarrollo de un nuevo puerto
en Lummi Nation, se consider que un sistema de
proteccin fotante era la nica solucin viable, de-
bido a las limitaciones derivadas de los impactos
medioambientales asociados a la ocupacin del
sustrato martimo que se originara en el caso de
construir un dique en talud, as como del coste ex-
cesivo de construccin que conllevara una solucin
mediante dique vertical. Este artculo resume los tra-
bajos desarrollados, apostando por una solucin in-
novadora que plantea el uso de elementos de pro-
teccin fotantes, superando las limitaciones previas
y garantizando la efectividad de la instalacin.
El diseo del puerto pesquero de Lummi Nation su-
pera la idea inicial de que los sistemas fotantes no
pueden ser usados frente a oleajes de periodo supe-
rior a los 3 segundos: de hecho, los diseos propues-
tos muestran que un par de elementos actuando en
tndem pueden mitigar las olas de perodo superior.
Esta teora ha sido verifcada a travs de ensayos en
modelo fsico en tres dimensiones. Mediante la mod-
elizacin y validacin de la solucin, los diseadores
han formulado una herramienta analtica para la
planifcacin y diseo de sistemas de proteccin que
podran ser usados en condiciones de oleaje con
perodos de hasta 6 segundos aproximadamente.
KEY WORDS: Lake Borgne, food protection, food
wall, hurricane, storm
MOTS-CLES: Lac Borgne, protection anti-inonda-
tions, mur-digue, ouragan, tempte
Louisianas Inner Harbour Navigation Canal (IHNC)
Lake Borgne Surge Barrier is the central feature of
the worlds largest Hurricane and Storm Damage
Risk Reduction System (HSDRSS), as well as the
largest design-build civil works project in the his-
tory of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
After four years of intense effort and innovation,
the 3-foot-long surge barrier is complete. Not only
has the project been a vital component in the re-
construction and revitalisation of New Orleans af-
ter the devastating events of Hurricane Katrina, it
has provided innovative methods and empirical
knowledge gained during the design and con-
struction of the surge barrier that inform the indus-
try and others across the globe.
Fig. 1: Aerial view of post-hurricane Katrina
devastation in a New Orleans neighbourhood
New Orleans, as unique in geography as it is in cul-
ture, rests between the east bank of the Mississippi
river and the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain ap-
proximately 105 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.
Dale Miller, PE, SE
Regional Vice-President/Tetra Tech, E-mail:
Angela Desoto-Duncan, PE
Director of Civil Works/Tetra Tech, E-mail:
Beth Hertzler
Contributing Editor/Tetra Tech, E-mail:
Fig 2: Aerial map of New Orleans geography
The city sits an average of 6 feet below sea level,
making it entirely dependent on levee systems in
the wake of a storm surge.
Fig. 3: Cross sectional elevation of New Orleans
However, in late August of 2005, category fve Hur-
ricane Katrina descended on the Gulf with an in-
tensity far superior than the previously established
system could withstand.
Fig. 4: Hurricane Katrinas path
into the Gulf of Mexico
The storm surges forces breached 50 foodwalls
and levees as well as collapsing a 4,000-foot-long
foodwall section of the Inner Harbour Navigation
Canal (IHNC), a central waterway connecting the
Mississippi with Lake Borgne and the Gulf of Mex-
Fig. 5: Hurricane Katrina food wall breach
As a result, over 90,000 square miles of the city was
devastated and many historic neighbourhoods
were submerged under 15 feet of water. Katrina
left behind US$ 81 billion in damage, over 1,800 fa-
talities and displaced thousands of residents from
their homes and livelihoods.
Before Katrina, the hurricane protection system
was a system in name only and consisted of a col-
lection of projects in various stages of completion.
Constructed over a period of forty years, the pre-
Katrina system was inconsistent, utilising various
design criteria and datums. In order to eliminate
the inconsistencies of the past and implement a
true system, the United States Congress authorised
and fully appropriated the funds for USACE to im-
plement the US$ 14.4 billion HSDRSS. The new solu-
tion had to be strategically designed to reduce
the risk from hurricane storm surges, which along
with along with the fooding of the Mississippi River,
rainfall and coastal erosion is one of the four major
food risks to the New Orleans area. Separate but
overlapping or related interagency systems or pro-
grammes were needed to address each element.
The strategic improvements goals of the HSDRRS
on the east bank of the Mississippi River were to
raise and strengthen the existing levees and food-
walls to the current design standards, storm-proof
key pump stations so they can function throughout
a tropical event and block the fve present storm
surge avenues from a 100-year storm surge.
Fig. 6: Blocking of the fve major storm surge avenues
The US$ 1.1 billion IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier
consisting of a 10,000-foot-long, 26-foot high bar-
rier wall, sector gate, barge gate, lift gate and a
complete foodwall closure of the Mississippi River
Gulf Outlet (MRGO) became the solution to New
Orleans unique risk reduction requirement to
block one of the fve major storm surge avenues.
To eliminate the need to raise 30 miles of levees
and foodwalls, the surge barrier was placed at
the convergence of the MRGO and the Gulf Inter-
costal Waterway (GIWW), therefore moving New
Orleans frst line of defence 12 miles from the city
Fig. 7: New Orleans frst line of defence:
IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier
Because of this solution, the existing IHNC basin
became the second line of defence and utilised
as a retention basin to safely hold water to an el-
evation of +12 feet at the lowest point along the
The GIWW is an active navigation channel and re-
quires unobstructed passage at all times. Because
of this, the design of two separate 150-foot wide
gate structures resulted. A bypass barge gate was
constructed frst and served as the marine traf-
fc bypass channel during the construction of the
sector gate monoliths across the main navigation
The GIWWs 150-foot-wide bypass channel is con-
trolled by a 5,714-tonne concrete barge swing
Fig. 8: Concrete barge
The gate can be closed, ballasted to a seated po-
sition and locked into place atop four closure pins
in the event of a storm. Designed for not only signif-
icant loads that the structure might sustain during
a 100-year storm, but also for impact loads from
passing barges, as of 2012, thousands of barge
tows have safely passed the barge swing gate.
Fig. 9: GIWW bypass barge gate
The 150-foot wide main channel is controlled by
a 675 tonne-per-leaf hydraulically operated buoy-
ant steel sector gate.
Fig. 10: Sector gate in fabrication at Delcambre, LA
The majority of the gates weight is located at the
extreme end of its 90-foot radius where the heavy
skin plate assembly is located, along with a bridge
designed to support an HS-10 truck. By using buoy-
ant tanks behind the skin plate, perimeter support
was provided to relieve the load on the dinge at
the monolith. These buoyant tanks are vital to the
minimisation of the gates weight and were de-
signed to allow for fabrication in a separate facility
prior to insertion into the gate structure. The tanks
have minimal maintenance concern and are bal-
lasted to the control contact with the gate sill.
Fig. 11: Bayou Bienvenue vertical lift gate
The barrier wall itself is made up of 66-inch-diam-
eter, 144-foot-long spun cast piles, 18-inch closure
piles, 36-inch steel batter piles on the protected
side, both precast and cast-in-place deck sec-
tions and a parapet wall.
Fig. 12: Cross section drawing of foodwall
The crenellations of the wall minimsed the wave
overtopping volume in the IHNC retention basin
while maximising design effciency by allowing the
designers to use the lower crenel elevation as the
top of the wall for design. This was particularly im-
portant because two of the fve largest commer-
cially available marine based cranes were used
for pile driving of the barrier wall piles. Both the 66-
inch-diameter and feld spliced 250-foot-long 36-
in pipe piles were approaching the handling and
driving limits of the cranes. Much longer piles would
have necessitated construction of custom pile
driving equipment which would have increased
costs and potentially put the June 1, 2011 goal of
attainment of hurricane risk reduction at peril.
All three gates were designed with back-up gen-
erators and the ability to be closed manually
should power not be available. The sector gate
and barge gate can also be manually opened
with tugs to allow water to drain from the IHNC
basin. In addition, all structures were designed to
withstand a 500-year storm with no catastrophic
Taking advantage of the existing water storage
capabilities, the Lake Borgne solution allows for
storage of 226.5 million cubic feet of water from
wall overtopping. Because there was no industry
standard methodology precedent for calculating
the magnitude of wave downfall forces, the proj-
ect team was required to develop new method-
ologies and consult with pre-eminent experts from
around the world. To determine whether certain
theoretical loads would address wave impact,
wave downfall and plunging forces on the barrier
wall and sector gate, testing on physical models
became a key tactic in the planning and testing
for the design of each feature. In addition to with-
standing hurricane loads, the entire IHNC Lake
Borgne Surge Barrier and gates are designed to
resist seismic events.
Physical modelling was performed to confrm the
effectiveness of the barriers performance and
consequently, the fndings from this modelling ex-
tensively informed the design and construction of
the barriers features.
Fig 13a-Fig 13b: Barrier wall physical model
A foodwall model was utilised to verify the over
topping rate and to demonstrate the effective-
ness of the plunge pool/energy dissipation basin.
This particular model demonstrated the effective-
ness of the braced pile wall and the scour stone
A large basin model was created for the GIWW
sector gate and surrounding area. The team used
this model to study the effects of wave forces on
the gate refecting off land-based T-walls and ap-
proach walls. A simplifed model determined gate
forces from a reverse head location. Understand-
ing forces generated on the gate while opened
in a controlled manner were important for sizing
much of the gates structure and mechanical
equipment. A second, detailed model wave ba-
sin model was developed to study the effect of
the hurricane-induced waves. Both mass and stiff-
ness were modelled to determine hydro-elastic ef-
fects such as gate vibration, wave slamming and
wave downfall.
Fig. 14a-Fig. 14b: Sector gate wave basin model:
operating forces
The results of the model trials determined that pre-
viously established USACE design curves for sector
gates were not valid for the GIWW sector gates.
The addition of buoyancy tanks, in lieu of wheels,
altered the design curve substantially. Model re-
sults were used by the designers to select the ac-
tuating cylinder size and fnalise monolith and gate
attachments structure.
Fig 15a-Fig 15b: Sector gate operating
force model results
During storm surge and wave testing, peak hori-
zontal pressure distribution near convergence of
gates was provided, which correlated well with
design pressure. Uplift pressures on overhanging
roadway were provided, confrming recommend-
ed design pressures were appropriate. Peak forces
at pintle base, hinge and locking cylinder, as well
as frequency response analysis of structure due to
impacting waves and overtopping events were
also provided as results of tests. The reverse head
testing provided the peak hydraulic force needed
to be overcome by actuating cylinder. This result
allowed optimisation of the hydraulic system by
designers. Reverse head testing also provided
both the force curves as function of gate opening
for different water levels, and key descriptions of
hydraulic features, such as zone of fow separation
and eddy shedding associated with frequency re-
sponse of the gate.
Major contributions to the design of the Sector
Gate were a result of these extensive models and
tests. A larger size hydraulic actuation cylinder
was selected by the designers based on Reverse
Head testing results. Pintle base casting design
was fnalised using the peak forces provided and
appropriate safety factors. Horizontal wave pres-
sures confrmed deterministic design values were
appropriate and uplift pressures were considered
in fnal analysis of overhanging roadway. Ultimate-
ly, the use of advanced modelling provided im-
portant technical information and validated de-
sign assumptions.
The contract was awarded in April 2008, and con-
struction began the following December. Using
a temporary trestle construction, the frst 66-inch-
diameter pile was driven on May 9, 2009 and the
fnal 66-inch-diameter pile on October 23, 2009.
Fig 16: Final pile driven October 23, 2009
Because of the rapid nature of the design-build
schedule, the project was completed in only four
years instead of ffteen-plus years which is com-
mon for a project of this complexity. To maximise
project effciency and stay on schedule, decision
regarding material procurement and fabrication
were made prior to design completion. Quick de-
cision-making was made possible by the close col-
laboration between the design team, USACE, and
the State of Louisiana. Because of efforts by all,
100-year-level risk reduction was attained on May
24, 2011, surpassing the USACEs goal for comple-
tion by the 2011 hurricane season.
The IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier is an example
of exemplary advance in science, planning, tech
Fig. 17: Floodwall parapet
nology and engineering. Complications caused
by the accelerated schedule, procurement re-
quirements and the project site location posed
serious challenges, but did not hinder the surge
barriers completion. Each feature in this colossal
design-build project created a system that conf-
dently protects and restores vibrancy to New Or-
leans and its inhabitants today.
Fig. 18: Safe passage through IHNC Lake Borgne surge
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Shaw E&I, Ben C.
In August of 2005, the 28-foot storm surge gener-
ated by Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the ex-
isting hurricane and food control systems and
collapsed a 4,000-foot-long section of foodwall
along Louisianas Inner Harbour Navigation Canal
(IHNC). The resulting damage-an affected area
of over 90,000 square miles-left much of southeast
Louisiana in crisis and drew attention to dire faws
in the current hurricane protection system.
Faced with a public loss of confdence in New Or-
leans remaining defences, the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers (USACE) began development and
construction of the US$ 14.4 billion Hurricane and
Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS).
The systems central feature-the IHNC Lake Bor-
gne Surge Barrier-is designed to reduce risk for the
citys most vulnerable areas from storm surge origi-
nating in Lake Borgne and the Gulf of Mexico dur-
ing a 100-year event.
The Lake Borgne Surge Barrier is the largest civil
works design-build project in Corps history, con-
sisting of three gates that allow vessel passage
through the 10,000-foot-long, 26-foot-high con-
crete barrier wall extending across the marsh from
the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) to the Gulf
Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW). It includes two
150-foot-wide gates at GIWW (a buoyant steel
sector gate and a concrete barge swing gate), a
56-foot-wide vertical lift gate with vehicular bridge
at Bayou Bienvenue and complete foodwall clo-
sure of MRGO. Construction of the surge barrier
shifted the primary risk reduction system from the
city centre and areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ka-
trina and eliminated the need for raising approxi-
mately 30 miles of existing levees and foodwalls.
The projects aggressive 4-year schedule created
complicated technical challenges. However, ded-
icated collaboration brought about innovative so-
lutions and the attainment of 100-year-level storm
risk reduction ahead of schedule in May 2011. The
realisation of the IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier
has been both a precedent-setting feat of engi-
neering and a tremendous source of pride for the
people of southeast Louisiana.
Aot 2005, une surlvation de 8,50 mtres g-
nre par louragan Katrina a submerg tout le
sytme de protection contre les inondations et a
ruin sur une longueur denviron 1200 mtres une
digue du canal de navigation du port intrieur (In-
ner Harbor Navigation Canal) en Louisiane. Avec
un territoire affect de plus de 230 000 km
, cest
la majeure partie du sud-est de la Louisiane que le
cyclone a plong en pleine crise, montrant de ce
fait les terribles lacunes du systme de protection
vis vis des ouragans.
Confront au problme de la dfance du pub-
lic quant la crdibilit des ouvrages de dfense
restants, les ingnieurs de US Army Corps (USACE)
ont lanc la conception et la mise en oeuvre
dun programme de travaux dun montant de
14,4 milliards de dollars visant la rduction des ris-
ques de dommages causs par les cyclones et
les temptes (Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk
Reduction System, HSDRRS). Louvrage cl du sys-
tme de dfense, le barrage anti-tempte de
lInner Harbour Navigation Canal du Lac Borgne,
a t conu pour rduire le risque de submersion
des zones urbaines les plus exposes vis vis dune
surcote de tempte issue du golfe du Mexique et
du lac Borgne en considrant une frquence cen-
Le barrage anti-tempte du Lac Borgne
reprsente le projet de gnie civil le plus impos-
ant jamais construit dans lhistoire de ce Corps
dingnieurs. Louvrage comporte 3 pertuis au-
torisant le passage des bateaux au travers dune
structure de bton de prs de 8 mtres de hauteur
et de plus de 3 kilomtres de longueur traversant
le marais depuis lembouchure du Mississipi (Missis-
sipi River Gulf Outlet, MRGO) jusquau canal ctier
du golfe (Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, GIWW). Il
comprend 2 portes de 50 mtres de largeur (une
porte fottante vannes secteurs en acier et un
bateau-porte pivotante en bton) ct GIWW,
une porte levante de 17 mtres de large avec
un pont routier Bayou Bienvenue et une ferme-
ture totale par un mur de protection ct MRGO.
La construction de la barrire anti-inondation a
modif le dispositif principal de rduction de ris-
ques du centre ville et des zones les plus durement
touches par le cyclone Katrina et supprimer le
besoin de rehausser le niveau des digues et lev-
es existantes sur un cinquantaine de kilomtres.
Le respect des dlais serrs fxs 4 annes a n-
cessit de relever des dfs techniques complex-
es. Toutefois, une collaboration active a permis de
trouver des solutions innovantes et dobtenir une
rduction du risque vis vis des venements cen-
tennaux en avance sur le programme en mai 2011.
La ralisation du projet de barrage anti-temptes
IHCN - Lac Borgne constitue la fois une prouesse
technologique qui fera date et une trs grande
source de fert pour la population du sud-est de
la Louisiane.
Im August des Jahres 2005 berwltigte die vom
Hurrikan Katrina erzeugte 28 Fu hohe Sturmfut
die bestehenden Hurrikan- und Sturmfutkontroll-
systeme und lie einen 4.000 Fu langen Abschnitt
der Hochwasserschutzwand entlang des inneren
Hafenkanals von Louisiana (Louisianas Inner Har-
bor Navigation Canal (IHNC)) versagen. Der da-
raus resultierende Schaden betraf ein Gebiet von
90.000 Quadratmeilen und fhrte im grten Teil
des Sdostens von Louisiana zu einer Krise und
machte auf ernste Mngel in dem bestehenden
Hurrikan-Schutzsystem aufmerksam.
Mit einem ffentlichen Vertrauensverlust in das
verbleibende Abwehrsystem von New Orleans
konfrontiert, begann das U.S. Army Corps of Engi-
neers (USACE) mit der Entwicklung und dem Bau
eines $ 14,4 Milliarden teuren Systems zur Risikore-
duzierung von Hurrikan- und Sturmschden (Hur-
rican and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System
(HSDRRS)). Der zentrale Punkt dieses Systems, der
IHNC des Lake Borgne Sturmfutsperrwerks, wurde
gestaltet, um die verwundbarsten Gebiete der
Stadt vor Sturmfuten zu schtzen, die im Lake Bor-
gne und im Golf von Mexiko bei einem 100-jhrli-
chen Ereignis entstehen.
Das Lake Borgne Sturmfutsperrwerk ist das grte
Bauvorhaben in der Geschichte des Corps, beste-
hend aus drei Toren, die eine Schiffspassage du-
rch das 10.000 Fu lange und 26 Fu hohe Be-
tonsperrwerk gestatten, das sich von der Marsch
der Mississippi-Mndung (Mississippi River Gulf
Outlet (MRGO)) bis zum Gulf Intracoastal Water-
way (GIWW) erstreckt. Es hat zwei 150 Fu bre-
ite Tore fr die GIWW (ein auftriebbasiertes Seg-
mentschtz und ein Schwingtor), ein 56 Fu breites
vertikales Hubtor mit einer befahrbaren Brcke
bei Bayou Bienvenue und einen kompletten
Sperrwerkverschluss fr den MRGO. Der Bau des
Sturmfutsperrwerks verlagerte das primre System
zur Risikoreduzierung vom Stadtkern und den Ge-
bieten, die am hrtesten vom Hurrikan Katrina be-
troffen waren, und beseitigte die Notwendigkeit,
ber eine Lnge von ca. 30 Meilen die bestehen-
den Dmme und Flutwlle zu erhhen.
Der ehrgeizige Vierjahresplan des Projekts fhrte
zu komplizierten technischen Herausforderungen.
Engagierte Zusammenarbeit fhrte jedoch zu in-
novativen Lsungen und der Erreichung einer Re-
duzierung des 100-jhrlichen Sturmfutrisikos bis zum
Mai 2011. Der Bau des IHNC Lake Borgne Sturm-
futsperrwerks war sowohl ein Meilenstein im Inge-
nieurwesen als auch eine enorme Quelle des Stolz-
es bei der Bevlkerung im Sdosten von Louisiana.
En agosto de 2005, el huracn Katrina gener un
temporal de 28 pies que destruy el sistema exis-
tente de proteccin frente a huracanes e inunda-
ciones, colapsando la barrera de proteccin del
canal interior de navegacin de Luisiana (IHNC)
en una longitud de 4.000 pies. Los daos produ-
cidos afectaron un rea de ms de 90.000 millas
cuadradas, dejando a gran parte del sudeste de
Luisiana en una situacin de crisis que puso sobre
la mesa graves defectos en el sistema de protec-
cin frente a huracanes.
Partiendo de una situacin de prdida general-
izada de la confanza de la sociedad en el sistema
de defensa frente a inundaciones de Nueva Or-
leans, el Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejrcito de
Estados Unidos (USACE), comenz a desarrollar
y construir un programa de reduccin del riesgo
frente a los daos producidos por huracanes y
temporales (HSDRRS), dotado con un presupuesto
de 14.400 millones de dlares. El elemento central
del sistema, la barrera del lago Borgne, se dise
para reducir el riesgo de inundacin de las reas
mas vulnerables de la ciudad frente a tormentas
con un perodo de retorno de 100 aos, origina-
das en el lago Borgne y en el Golfo de Mxico. La
barrera del lago Borgne es uno de los proyectos
de diseo y construccin de obra civil ms im-
portante en la historia del Cuerpo de Ingenieros.
Consta de tres compuertas que permiten el paso
de los buques a lo largo de un canal de hormign
de 10.000 pies de longitud y 26 pies de altura, que
conecta el golfo de ro Missisippi (MRGO) con el
canal del golfo intracostero (GIWW). Incluye dos
compuertas de 150 pies de anchura en el GIWW,
una compuerta vertical de 56 pies de anchura
con un puente para vehculos y el cierre comple-
to de un muro frente a inundaciones en el MRGO.
La construccin de la barrera elimin el riesgo en
las zonas del centro de la ciudad y en las reas
ms afectadas por el huracn Katrina, evitando
la necesidad de recrecer una longitud aproxima-
da de 30 millas de diques existentes.
Un ambicioso planteamiento de ejecucin en
un horizonte de cuatro aos gener importantes
desafos tcnicos. El uso de soluciones innovado-
ras consigui, en mayo de 2012, reducir el riesgo
de inundacin frente a tormentas con periodos
de retorno de 100 aos. El desarrollo de una bar-
rera de proteccin en el lago Borgne ha sido una
hazaa sin precedentes para la ingeniera y un
motivo de orgullo para la poblacin del sudeste
de Luisiana.