Flood Management: Nature Based Approaches and International Collaborations


Hi, everyone. This is America adapts the climate change podcast. Hate after's. Welcome back to another exciting ups owed of America apps. This is the third episode in four part series. I'm doing with Anita van Breda of World Wildlife Fund this episode is focusing on natured base solutions, and international collaborations and flood management. These conversations came out of a workshop, I attended in Santa Cruz, California where the army corps of engineers brought together some the world's best flood managers to develop guidelines on the use of natural in nature. Base features. The group also hosted a natural nature based feature symposium that I was invited to speak at a talked about innovative ways to communicate science. And of course, I focused on the podcast. We also do some great field trips in the San Francisco Bay area. Seeing a lot of moving in anticipation of future sea level rise. Let me just say earthmoving adaptation is happening right now. It's not some future issue. I want to highlight that this is a four part series, and it has been generously. Sponsored by World Wildlife Fund. I greatly. Appreciate their. Interest in using podcasting as a storytelling device to share important information. They have been great partners. I encourage you to check out the resources they provide in my show notes. We want the series to become a major resource, not only flood planners, but the general public that wants to be better informed of what's happening in this critical area disaster-management, okay? Some brief housekeeping quickly. If you're listening to this on YouTube consider subscribing to America dabs on apple podcast or Spotify. Just search America adapts in each of those apps that way, each new up sued will be waiting for you when they are published. Okay. Upcoming episode 's this new year is often running I'm talking with a landscape architect who's in the thick of adaptation, planning in New York City. Learn the nitty gritty of adapting to climate change in a major metropolitan area. Also, I'm interviewing a planner in a lawyer on legal liability in climate adaptation. Jessica from Harvard University is coming back on to talk about the state of adoption and his new book on adaptation. Financing and I'll be talking with former National Park Service cultural adaptation, coordinator, MARCY, Rochman, go behind the scenes at the park service and learn what adapting cultural resources to climate change really means. I'm also, and this is very exciting working on a semester long podcast with Ladd Keith at the university of Arizona. We're going to track the evolution of students taking an adaptation course that he's leading. And that's just what's in the pipeline much more is to come this year. Also, this is a very busy month for me on lecturing and three separate university. Classes I I'm leading lecture podcasting in general at the university of Waterloo Canada. I'm also doing a lecture on the state of adaptation for the university of New Brunswick a modestly Skyping for those. And then I'm doing a lecture on adaptation for planning class at the university of Arizona. I love doing these lectures, great chance to share stories from the podcast with university students and share generally what's going on without uptake. If you are interested, please reach out and give me a holler of. This is something that you would be benefit. To your students. All right. Just reminder America dabs as a charitable organization that need your support. Thanks to all the recent donors at the end of the year. Please consider giving tax deductible donation you can find links to the we did it donate page in the show notes. Also, if you're interested in sponsoring specific podcast like this episode is sponsored by World Wildlife Fund or having me speak at a public or corporate event. Please reach out. I'm doing some keynote presentations, and there are a lot of fun. I share stories from the podcast and my own experiences in that up. You can contact me via the website, America org. Okay. Adapters episode three begins right now. Hit actors. I am back with a very familiar voice and data van Braida, senior, director of environment and disaster management of World Wildlife Fund. Welcome back, Anita. Thanks, doug. How are you? I'm doing fabulous. So we meet again, what brings you on America dabs. So we are here today for the third episode of this fled green guide series. And thank you for all your effort, helping us to communicate on the value of using natural nature base features as a method for flood risk management while I think I joked that in the last episode, I thought, oh, you know, these might actually not very popular these will be the boring episodes, but they have been wildly popular the downloads on the first two episodes have been great, and I'm very excited to be sharing this. And so I guess for listeners who don't know what upsets wanted to our about could you really quickly summarize episode one and two so episode one we spoke to some fled experts. And water management experts on some of the basics and fundamentals of watershed management and how water moves through an area, and what that means for the communities that live in those places and a little bit of the history of how communities around the world have struggled with dealing with the risks. That floods can present to us. But also importantly, what are some of the benefits that we can derive from floods in? How do we manage our approach to floods maximize the benefits and minimizing or eliminating much as possible any risks that floods can provide? And then in the second episode. We talked about community engagement in various ways that people are trying to be creative and innovative around engaging with communities, and so we had a lot of conversations they are about art and artists, and what that means for risk what that means for understanding how our future is. Changing and how we can engage people in those issues. Okay. And I the title of the episode to something like flood management and the role of art. And I always thought that was a bit jarring. But it is I think a innovative way to think about communicating these issues out there. So I was very excited to the feedback to that episode. Yes. And now people are learning right, Doug. That floods are not boring. Not boring any number of ways, you've explain what the first episodes are. But I just want you also to briefly explain what is why are we even doing this multi part series? What sort of this broader initiative that you're doing at World Wildlife Fund? So we're Wildlife Fund. We have our natural nature-based flood management program. We issued guidelines on this issue and twenty seventeen and we're putting the finishing touches on a training curriculum to sport USA that flood guide as we've talked about throughout this discussion. Doug, part of what we need to do to promote and support. Resiliency in communities is to learn and to experience different issues and learn from different perspectives. And so we have expanded this originally three part series into four because we are finding so many people to talk to from so many different perspectives. And we wanna keep that conversation going because as we use approaches like natural in nature base features we need to learn more about how they work where they work what some of the challenges are what some of the opportunities are and then to help people get more involved in contribute to those emerging practices. So I'm hoping that we can keep this going for very long time. Because I know I'm learning a lot. And I hope that you our listeners are as well, they certainly are. Okay. So most of the conversations in this episode were recorded at a workshop in Santa Cruz, California. Can you talk about what that event was about? And why were we there to capture the interviews? We did. Well, we're there because WWF has joined the US army corps of engineers, flood guide development process. And yes, there are many fled guys. We're going to talk a little bit more about why that is throughout the episode, but we're part of that writing team in there was a workshop in Santa Cruz in California in we had the opportunity to visit with some of the people who are contributing to that effort and get different perspectives from different parts of the world twin? So I think we're fortunate to be able to share that now with your listeners as well. That was a fantastic choice for location of workshop, right? They're literally eyesight of the Pacific Ocean the beautiful campus of UC Santa Cruz. It was a delight to be there. Okay. So who are the experts in this episode? What I think is fantastic. Again, is that we have a lot of international voices in this episode. Could you just line us up here? Sure. So you're going to be talking with Todd bridges who heads up. The US army corps of engineers engineering with nature program. He'll explain more about what that is more also gonna talk with Catholics who's with the environment agency in the UK, and she's going to talk about community engagement work than we have a gentleman from Canada. Mr Annan Murphy, who's an engineer who's got some interesting perspectives of his work up in Canada. And then we also have Maria Dillard, who's with the National Institute for science and technology, which I did not know is involved with flood related work, but they're doing really cool things. And we're going to hear more from her on that. Okay. Nita? Let's get started in. I will be talking with you as we wrap up the end of the episode, Dr soon. Thanks. He data's. We are back in I'm with Todd bridges. I'm the senior research scientist with the army corps of engineers for environmental science than I am the national lead for our engineering with nature initiative. Okay. So what did we just do this whole week? So this week we had our fifth in person a working meeting of a group an international group that were using to develop a guideline for the use of what we call natural and nature based features to address a flood risk management challenges and opportunities and natural nature base. Features represent essentially landscape features like beaches and dunes and wetlands and recen- subaquatic, vegetation complexes. Those in the form of islands to reduce our flood risks enhance our resilience whether in coastal environments or river fluvial systems and this group of right dynamic group from around the world several. Countries from government from private sector from NGOs and from universities around the world come together to join forces to draw their experience and knowledge base into developing this guy that practitioners can use to implement these kinds of strategies Todd what sorts of training. Do you think will be needed in the future to really move the whole issue of nature and natural base features along that's a great question. The Nita step one is to get ink on paper organized thought and procedure and concepts. But that has to be followed up with perhaps even a range of training opportunities including web based training where you can have a broad reach to almost every individual on the planet. But that's to be complemented with I believe face to face training where students if you will those who want to come and learn can interact directly with those who. Experience and knowledge, and they can work out together. You know, the opportunities and address challenges in a more specific way than you can do with more distance based learning and then by that method, the face-to-face method, you also can grow your community in a organic and human way to even further advance implementation of these kinds of approaches. Okay. So you brought together all these people from all over the world. And this is an extended process it's taking awhile the guidebook goal. I I don't know if you could explain when it's going to be published. But were there any moments where people don't necessarily agree? The Dutch played a big part. Do they do things a little bit differently than the Americans any moments like the during this process, right? That's very good question. There's a there's a process any group like this goes through, you know, the sort of forming storming Norman and performing process and I've seen that play out in our dynamic. We've we've been at this for two years now at this point. And even though everybody involved in this has something to contribute and has really in a deep knowledge and experience you've to come together and formalize that right? You need to be able to convert your personal intuition if you will into something that somebody can follow based on your description of that and representation of that. And that takes time there's different combinations of challenges and opportunities in different places in the world. But in my opportunities to travel and interact with people in this community and others around this topic. There's more in common than there is dissimilar the dissimilarities, actually, very helpful. When you see them and can experience them in revealing nuances that allow you to address in a more effective way the challenges toward implementation, but we have much more common in this topic around the world, then I think we have difference. Todd, Doug, and I are working on trying to tell the story of natural nature race features for flood management. And that was one of your key recommendations at the at the end of your closing remarks the other day, can you explain a little bit more what you mean by storytelling. And how you see that fitting into a role for engineers environmentalists and policymakers and decisionmakers trying to utilize natural nature-based features. Right. Another good question. Nita storytelling is so important in this topic. And really most topics that have a dose of innovation particularly significant innovative element to them. You know, you have a practice. That's emerging and and is being implemented and maybe departs in some fashion from standard or conventional practice. And when you have those circumstances, you need to be able to persuade others who come with legitimate questions. Right. It's not all cynical skepticism. If you will but with legitimate. Questions, and they need to be persuaded with evidence and data and information, but that data evidence and information has to be assembled in a into a story, right? There has to be a narrative for you to make the necessary connections. So that people can really get on the train and move down the track. And so yesterday as you pointed out, I challenged our entire community to do everything they could do personally become better storytellers technical fields. Whether it's science or engineering can be dry while that dryness, you know is comforting perhaps to those who are within those fields. It's really not a sound basis for the storytelling that needs to extend beyond the specific technical discipline. But goes to the community right into the decision makers and to the politicians that need to be engaged in the whole range of decision making to make these kinds of strategies realized. Okay. So my listeners are probably hearing. Airplanes in the wind in the background. Where are we in? Why did we come here? Right. So we're at the dawn Edwards refuge, that's managed by the fish and Wildlife Service with their partners here in the south San Francisco Bay area, just outside of San Jose, California and other communities along the southern portion of the bay and we came here today after. Four days of intensive work and discussion of ideas to put our feet on the ground to put our feet on the ground at actual locations to look at how people who are trying to advance these kinds of approaches and here at the refuge in this complex of land. It's being set aside and being managed to provide environmental conservation outputs. There's also a component of this is very important for flood resilience for sea level rise and four a storms and tides of that subject the the urban area, which surrounds the the refuge to flooding, and they have a very large opportunity here with all told more than fifteen thousand acres of land. That's being restored back to this complex of habitats, including extensive wetlands last question here. At least for me is what do you think? One of the biggest misconceptions or perceptions. People have of the army corps in two hundred clear, those partic- or something what you love about the army corps. Well, army Corp engineers is a fantastic organization were one of the largest if not the largest public engineering agency in the world are thirties and responsibilities are large and significant and we are a learning organization. There's no public organization or agency on the planet that has not learned during the course of its history and were old organization over two hundred years old, and there's been a lot of learning and experience gained from that. And that I think is well represented in our engineering with nature initiative, which we've had an away for eight years, which continues to build on progress and establish momentum within the agency, and this is an expression of that this work on natural and nature base features and the support that we have within our age. Agency within the leadership of our agency to pursue these opportunities and find ways to address the needs and to address the opportunities. That are presented by them. Okay. Thank you so much. Oh, you're welcome. Pleasure. He dancers we are back at the workshop, and we are with Kath bricks from the environment agency in the u k I am also back with Anita Anita. I'm gonna give you the first question. Thanks cath. We have been working here all week on community engagement. Can you talk a little bit about from your perspective? What is community gauge of Why's it important for managing flood risk community engagement is about listening to people's needs. And the interests is really important because if communities Bayliss of Invesco from flooding orchestra version, they know what to do. It's a society problem. It's not a problem that any one organization charity or government organization can solve. So we won't have to speak to each other. And most importantly, listen. Okay. Can you give me just really briefly a background on the organization, you work for how flooding kinda comes up and community engagement, obviously is your way of being that? Component of dealing with lead management. But just where you coming from. Yes show. So I work for an organization called the environment agency, and we cover England and a role is given money from the government to manage flood risk and Costa version. Okay. So we talked briefly earlier that community engagement doesn't necessarily get the attention it deserves. And sometimes it's sort of over forgotten about in is that an issue with the work that you're doing. Yes. Yes. It definitely is. I think we're getting better in the UK. But I think we still Oganization still do a lot of thinking between themselves and they go out to communities. I think we still to communities too late. I think we need speeco now really early in the decision making process to find the pope bloom, and yeah, we often still go out when we've come up with proposed solutions. So I think we need to be earlier and value in the VO that. The community voice can have in soap in the problem of flood risk management. So if you're an environmentalist or an engineer working on a flood project, and you feel like you don't have yourself the expertise to really engage with a community are the resources or people that those folks can go to get help and support with proper community gauge, yes in the UK, I can took our baby we didn't used to have that many people that were employees ten years ago it with engagement skills in organization, but now we've got quite a lot. So we've engagement professionals in all of every offices and in our national office. So yeah, those people can go and get the help from that engagement advises. But I do think engagement is also part of everyone's road and nothing that needs to be taken on board and more people need to realize the she's part. Whether you're an engineer scientist engagement and talking to communities and listening is part of your role. Aw, you'll role as well. So yeah, engagement advises can help you specially when situations become contentious or you can get external facilitators to help. But I do think is part of wins job not needs to be valued more in the professional engineering and science more. Generally, if you could really sort of summarize, maybe if people are listening there because you look at the different levels of government in the states. You're probably familiar, but comedian probably not getting the attention deserves. But there's some basic two or three recommendations that you can give people to sort of say how to even get started to do it better. Go out as early as you can don't go out with solutions, go out and listen to what people are concerned about two to people about the problem. Tell really good story about why they should care. People have got a lot of things in their lives that worried about so telling everybody good story about why they should be bothered and helping them to define what the problem. Mm is before you start talking about how to solve it and the stations we need to do that much more so simple. But for some reason, we don't do is. We just don't do it as often as we should. And I think that we need to get that community ownership of what the problem is societal problem is not an organizational problem that any one organization can solve. That's how we act too paternalistic. That's really important defining. The problem is not just about the experts sitting around a table with their maps and charts and their models. That's important, but the community in different parts of the community should be at that table to talk about what what is the problem? Okay. Last question. We had a symposium today which presentation was the very very very best one. Oh, wow. That's not yours. No. Ios was good is it was really important to tell the story. And yes that was really good. And we're not. Yeah. You did give everybody message about thinking about the audience more and telling the stories, so of course, it was yours. Okay. Thank you so much for coming on. Thank you. Thank you. Probably. He dancers we are back at the workshop in I'm with and Murphy from the National Research Council and Canada. I am also with Anita Anita. Can you start us off with the question? Thanks like. Yeah. And your presentation was really interesting today, and you were talking about the role that case studies can play learning about natural nature base features. And not all those case studies as you pointed out are successful ones. So I just wanted to ask you if you could say, if you words, what do you think we learn from our mistakes in our failures? And how does that help us advance these practices for the future? Yeah. Good question. I mean, I think we learn a lot from our mistakes the challenge with it in this sort of early stage at least in Canada, implementing nature base Lucians is that people tend to to sort of focus in on the mistakes and us as a as an excuse not to play these techniques and. New project. So so I think the purpose of the initiative we're involved in here is really to highlight some of the mistakes have been made, but coach them sort of lessons learned so that we can we can promote the use of these techniques because I think everyone here's fairly confident where we need to go. This is kind of in the weeds here, but you had a slide talking about one of just one the deep harbours there on the western side of the country. That's really just a mile or two from the US border. And as you trying to think about nature based solutions to this, and you've got this border here or any sort of unique situations that arise out of such proximity to another country. Yeah. Well, the thing to consider is that the natural processes, don't respect international borders. Right. So think there's definitely a need to work more closely with their counterparts on both sides of the border, and to certain extent, we're doing that in some places like on the Great Lakes. There's an international joint commission, which the National Research Council works quite closely with. To make sure we're managing water resources and flood risk on a sort of a binational basis to the best extent possible. But certainly guys to nature base Lucians, and that kind of thing we can do more, right? And in terms of seeking opportunities to collaborate. We've talked a little bit about community. I don't know that's part of your day job. But has kind of come up in Canada. Do you feel like what you're doing? There is different than maybe what we've heard the Netherlands is people from another lens keep showing up in every conversation. We got a lot of this folks here. But what about in Canada? How do you feel like on the community and gage inside of what you're doing? How you guys are doing? Yeah. Community engagement is a is a massive part of a lot of projects to get implemented in in Canada of big part of that is consulting. And we have a duty to consult as a federal government with with indigenous peoples to to understand, you know, sort of the values that they place, particularly when it comes to sort of nature base lose. And the natural environment. A lot of indigenous cultures use the natural environment in ways that that may be unconventional to to some of us. And so we need to respect that. And make sure we're consulting with them on a daily basis. It's not my area of expertise. But it's certainly an area would say that people are extremely conscious of being important in the context of flood risk management. And in Canada. We've been at this workshop where you've been at this workshop for a few days. Now, his there been anything that really has surprised you some these case studies that we've seen some really amazing work that's going on. And so have you had one of those moments? Wow. We haven't considered that. We haven't done that yet. I think one of the presentations today on sort of king who benefits and who pays from these types of projects and trying to seek out innovative ways of pooling resources and funding. These types of projects has been really interesting sort of opening from me, so I'm certainly going to be you know, looking for opportunities to. To particularly leveraging more private sector financing opportunities. I think is important in order to get some some a mental with these types of projects in Canada. Okay. As a final point here is my listeners are hearing your answers in their thinking. Oh, he's from Canada. But what's up with that accent? Where are you from? I'm from cork in Ireland. Yeah. As you end up in Canada. You don't have enough time in your podcast to go through that. So I ended up there by way of the Middle East and and London as well for period. So I'm a coastal engineer. I think coastal engineering is a is really it's a small global coastal engineering community. So and I like to travel and Canada's a great place. Thank you so much. Thank you. Hey, Dan, we are back at the workshop, and I am with Maria. Dillard, a research social, scientists at the National Institute of standards, and technology Berea, how did you get involved with this natural nature base? Features project, my group at the National Institute of standards, and technology or NIST as we call. It has been involved in community. Resilience more broadly for several years, and one of the things that we were noticing with communities that we're working with as we focused on built infrastructure and buildings and really the physical environment. Increasingly communities were talking about strategies that were combined more of the non traditional engineering approaches to solving some of their hazard risks trying to address her hazard risks and mitigate those a bit. And we realized there really was a space within resilience for these multiple approaches, and we wanted to be more knowledgeable about those. So the idea of getting. Involved in skylines document fits very closely with this work in in codes, and standards and setting practices that that are common across the nation. But also the world. Okay. My listeners in this Mike clever way of seeing myself included is that I'm just not familiar with a lot of the work that nece does. And so you okay, you're here doing this kind of work. What are some other examples of similar work that you doing just to give a better sense of why you guys are involved in these things? Yeah. Thanks. That's a very good question. Nist has a very broad mission. It it's based in the department of commerce and the effort of NIST is to support the economy, but it does so in a lot of really different ways. So the engineering laboratory that I sit within works on helping address standards that need to be set for building materials for life safety. We have a group that focuses on. On earthquake engineering group that looks at windstorms and another group that is focused on wildfire and within that we have an whole effort focused on on disasters and the study of disasters and their impact on communities, and increasingly we have a social science emphasis within this engineering work, and we are looking at comic and social issues and the intersection of those with the physical system. So that some of the other work that we're doing is post-disaster we're going in and assessing how did buildings perform, but how did that affect the social system? So how does the school buildings performance effect? Whether students are educated whether the school can provide the other services to a community, those kinds of connections are really important for for what we're interested in in helping to inform and help explain the why why it's important that you would. Have buildings built to a certain standard. It's not just about protecting the building. So that it's there later, but you wanna protect the service to society as well. So that's really important work Maria. Can you say if you were about community gauge -ment you're doing so much hard work at this workshop to lead the development of that chapter for the guideline? So what for you stands out in terms of the role that engaging with community means for those objectives? Yeah. Thanks. We were really interested in laying out the how to do this. What are the tools, what are the resources you need? What kinds of individuals and skill sets? Do you need to help you with this work? And how can we ensure that people in the right people are involved along the way and engaged in a way that that helps get to two good decisions communing gauge, it's been a puzzle that people been trying to work on for decades. And you're working on a now for this guidebook. Do you guys at NIST dig into metrics assoc? Shared with because we've had this before are they're great examples where there's been here's a community gauge -ment, and we can parse out why it was affective. And can you learn from that is that informing this process because it just seems like something that we keep working on trying to find the perfect. But there must be some metrics that you try to use determine if it's been affective. So one of the exciting things that we are working on related to to flooding specifically as an issue as we are conducting a longitude study. So that's a study going to the same place and studying the same cases over time. And in the case of this community where we've we've gone now three we will be going for the third time. This winter we are looking at both buildings and the households. So the residents within the household, and we're looking at the impact of a hurricane that caused a major flood event for this community looking at both the damage and the impact societal. Of the social and economic impacts and in the recovery process over time, unfortunately, this community, it's Lumberton North Carolina was just hit with the most recent hurricane hurricane Florence, and they are now flooded again, we're seeing this repeated event in many communities within the US and increasingly elsewhere in the world where these multiple events are more quickly coming at increase intensities, and the recovery process isn't finished when the next event hits and the communities are struggling with what they should do. What is their next step? What are the ways they want to address these issues, and I think that a document like this and the kinds of people that were assembling, and hopefully, the broader community that over time begins to talk about these issues can help us answer some of those questions for communities, so you so much. Thank you. He I hope you enjoyed those conversations that we had at the Santa Cruz workshop. We're going to wrap up this episode with a conversation with Todd bridges who you heard from earlier, and we're gonna take a deep dive in the work that's happening at the US. Army corps of engineers, we're gonna learn a bit about history. They're gonna learn the history of nature based engineering, and it's a nice way to wrap up. The episode hate after's I'm talking with Dr Todd bridges. Dr bridges is the US. Army corps of engineers, senior research scientist for environmental science. He currently leads the army engineering with nature initiative, which includes a network of research projects feel demonstrations and communication activities to promote environmentally sustainable, infrastructure development. Welcome to the podcast Todd. Well, it's good to be here. Thank you again. Thanks for coming on the podcast, and I sort of did an introduction there. But could you expand on your role with the army corps? Sure. The army corps of engineers has four senior research. Scientists we have some overlap. But my area work is in environmental science, generally, I support our main business lines within the corps of engineers in our civil works program. And those business lines are our navigation program and infrastructure related to the twenty five thousand miles of navigation channel that corresponds before. In the United States are flood risk management program, which includes thousands of miles of levees and other structures designed to reduce flood risks and the United States, and then our ecosystem restoration program, which as the name implies is focused on restoring ecosystems like the Everglades and other notable landscape features netted states, where are you actually based out of? So I'm based in Vicksburg Mississippi at the engineer research and development center, we have about a five hundred acre campus here. That has been at this location since nineteen thirty the facility first opened up in nineteen thirty under the name, the waterways experiment station and its origin is based in the flood of nineteen twenty seven which was a very large event affecting the Mississippi River and tributaries of very serious natural catastrophe at the time and following that event. The US congress expanded the cores work in the area of river and flood engineering and Vicksburg Mississippi because it's on the Mississippi River, and for some other reasons selected as the location for that facility of the mission is grown to compass. Other areas of work beyond river engineering since that time, notably. And my case with the passage of clean water act and other environmental legislation in the nineteen seventies. There was the formation of the environmental laboratory. Sorry as a part of the seven laboratories currently comprise, the engineer research and development center, four of those laboratories based here in Vicksburg. Okay. So next question why the army corps involved with engineering with nature while the army corps of engineers for more than two hundred years as had responsibilities to manage of variety of water infrastructure. We've had this role for a long time, particularly in regards to navigation maintaining navigable waterways, United States and those missions emissions. The core has have grown to include other forms of water infrastructure, but we manage a lot of a water infrastructure more than five hundred reservoirs the United States, which provide water for communities, but most of those projects have primarily a flood risk management of function primarily, but there are the dams associated with a those. Reservoirs? We for example, generate with our hydropower facilities that nearly twenty five percent of the hydropower in the United States. So we have a lot of physical assets and infrastructure that we manage the United States, and a part of that is how do you officially manage that infrastructure and produce value on a sustained basis from that infrastructure and our engine with nature initiative, which began formally in two thousand ten was the gun in order to find ways to more efficiently and more effectively manage and develop infrastructure, and we do that by using science in engineering to produce operational efficiencies. We also want to use natural processes to maximum benefit and thereby be able to increase the value that our projects on our infrastructure provide including diversifying. That value to include not only the economic benefits that infrastructure may have initially been developed to provide. But to also include environmental and social benefits streams, and then finally to find ways to use Claverie, and partnering effectively to be able to accomplish these goals that I've set out we have a long history of within the corps of engineers going back decades. I would submit in using a natural systems and processes so what we're trying to do is draw from the history of those successes and expand our abilities in our capability to engineer with nature in the management and operation of water infrastructure. I'm just curious what this kind of history of using engineering with nature is it completely integrated with what the army chorus doing or you sometimes since it. Okay. There's the folks doing engineering with nature, then there's the other folks doing the more traditional ways of doing things. I mean is there a real temp at the army corps to kind of? Integrate all those things together. And so that they're sort of the use of engine within each more often. If that makes sense, I just what you're you're asking Doug as I indicated previously. I can point to examples of very good practice in respect, it engineering with nature ten twenty thirty years ago within the corps of engineers. So what's not new in the sense that it hasn't ever been done before? But what we're working to do within? The core is to make maybe more exceptional projects in the past more commonplace in the future. Of course that involves in fusing innovation into our practices, and when you're dealing with a large organization like the corps of engineers, which is about thirty five thousand employees across the country in another countries in the world. You have a lot of communication that you need to do as a part of in fusing innovation in practice within the organization of I'd have to say that over the last eight years, we've made considerable progress and have demonstrated and communicated quite effectively within the organization, so that I think in the future that will be utilizing these these approaches to project development and operation much more effectively than maybe we have in the recent past could you give an example of one of these exceptional examples that you just mentioned just briefly describe wide successional. I'll give you one example at a place called horseshoe. Bend on the chaff Eliah river. The state of Louisiana is a portion of the river west the name applies that has been at where we have to dredge regularly in order to maintain the navigation channel between the Gulf of Mexico and Morgan city Louisiana 'em. Our New Orleans district of the corbin's nears was literally running out of places to create wetlands along the banks on the shoreline of that river any were left with the the problem of what to do with this sediment that was being dredged from the channel. And what they hypothesize was that if they placed that sediment in the middle of the river that they could utilize the energy and the processes of the river itself to create a mid river island within that portion of the river. So that's what they began to do more than ten years ago is the place the sediment in the middle. Provide the resource allowed that river itself to engineer the feature. So what developed over this decade of practice was more than eighty acre mid river island wetland complex of beautiful habitat that was formed not through the use of rock or other physical structures. If you will, but the rivers own energy now in addition to the environmental value that's been produced in this eighty plus acre a feature net island once it develop is also been providing engineering benefits. The channel move from the west side of the river to the east side of the river to a more efficient position for the purposes of navigation actually, shorten the distance and eased the navigation around that Ben, and it also resulted in more efficient processing of sediment within that portion of rivers sex that we have to dredge less free. Equally in that portion of ever than we did in the past. So that we're saving literally millions of dollars every year and less dredging. So we've got environmental and engineering benefits and the evidence of recreational use of this island feature by local community members is quite evident. We also have social benefits coming from that one project in at all resulted from a relatively simple straightforward change operational practice. All right. Sue, you're civic proponent of the use of nature for flood management. But what are some of the the big barriers that you have to deal with when when you're trying to do that one of the most I think significant technical challenges in regard to using nature based solutions for flood risk management is understanding and predicting the performance of those strategies in regard to flood risk management. So with a mean by that if we're going to use a say a construct. That I or an expansive network of wetlands or accommodation of an island in wetland network to attenuate waves of that are generated by storms. We need to understand how that feature that composite feature is going to respond to those waves, and an understanding that process from a point of view of physics in the engineering is more complicated, when you're dealing with something that's as involved and complex and involves sediment, and plants than it is if you're trying to predict how wave forces would affect a concrete wall, for example, or stone breakwater, I think one of the more significant challenges for us as technical community and research community is to develop the evidence base the data and the engineering tools that will allow us. To project and forecasts the engineering performance of these strategies in regards to managing flood risks. Okay. So you gave a really good example of domestic case of this. Is there an international example of of nature for flood management that you could share. That's really impressed. You. Or you've worked on. There are several fantastic. International examples of the use of what we would call here, engineering, nature nature based solutions or flood risk management. One of the projects that I have visited is called the Nord Vard, and this is a project in the Netherlands. It was a large area ten thousand acres that had been polder that is it had a dyke or a Levy that surrounded this entire area to keep water out, and it is an agricultural area by large and what they what they did in the Netherlands over a period of nearly ten years through negotiations with landowners were able to create purposeful engineered would say breaches and the dykes that surrounded this polder. In fact, it was believe three specific breaches were constructed to allow this area. This portions of this ten thousand acres to be inundated or flooded. Hi, watery vets. And what that allows with that produces is much lower water levels, upstream and downstream from this features sensually, you're providing kind of a relief valve if you will for high water in the river, in fact, that lowers water levels for a neighboring community. That's I think a little lesson a or ten kilometers from this lowers water levels at the diaper. The Levy by some thirty centimeters. Because of this project has been created. Now, what you have is a mixed landscape of agriculture and wildlife area that is beautiful. They've incorporated a bike path all around this feature that on the beautiful fall day that I was there was being utilized by any number of people. But that's just one example of using landscape and using nature to provide room for water and flood. Ding. Any kind of projects have been replicated. Elsewhere in Europe in in the UK to show the potential of using landscapes and natural features to to provide resilience into lower flood risks damages Todd I had to actually now I have to follow up questions every liked that example, that you gave a few moments ago about the coastal systems, and the challenge understanding what the impacts are of of the systems in terms of reducing storms are potentially because it's living in dynamic systems. So it's harder to quantify than than the wall might be. So I'm just wondering if you could comment a bit on your experiences in your thoughts about that is challenge and potentially limitation of engineering with nature, but have you seen the plus side in terms of the the flexibility that that might build into a system in combination with with a Awal or gray infrastructure to allow for future cl-? Climate change. That is also hard to predict. No that that's a great question. The Nita I think sometimes you will hear of this discussion of nature based solutions for flood risk management presented as an either. Or that is either you have a conventional say hard infrastructure, or you have nature based approach when in fact, I think most of the opportunities that exist are going to a combination of conventional and they trace so really the question that faces say project teams local communities, his wet blend or wet balance of conventional and nature based make sense for my context, my problem at and of course, the the answer is going to vary depending upon all range of factors that exist that urge. Driven by the physical system the environmental system and the amount of assets. Basically, the the the community context for those sites. And that's really the approach that the core. I think is taking to this back in twenty thirteen following hurricane sandy we wrote. In fact, a relatively brief technical policy statement about the use of what we call nature based approaches natural nature based approaches features, and that that policy statement, basically goes down to we see the value of in an integrated approach involving both conventional in nature based solutions, and you should have alluded to this earlier, but how do guideline help advance the practice of nature based approaches. And I know as we talk about international examples, and domestic examples, it probably gets complicated very easily. But you know, what's guidelines are you using guidelines of practice are quite important for advancing the way a tech. Community. For example, the technical community involved in fled, this management engineering actually does work and we currently have a project underway in which we are leading a consortium of organizations from a number of countries in the development of international guidelines for the use of natural in nature based features for flood risk management, and our intention with this guideline is to collect coalesce. International practice in a way that is organized Anna's excessive to practitioners in the United States and other countries around the world of conc- war comprehensively, what has been accomplished and how to proceed with implementing these kinds of techniques with some awareness of what the uncertainties are. And how those uncertainties need to be managed. So that these projects can be implemented in a credible in. Responsible way, but guidelines are very important because they provide a way of kind of KOTA fine. What good practice is and good practice now is being essentially developed across the world. And so it doesn't reside in just one country like the United States that exists in many different places. And that's the reason why we've organized this project as international effort to do the best. We can at collecting that good practice wherever it is. How can you feel like these methods are working? I just imagine. There's a flooding event in someone in your position. Okay. Something really went wrong or you could say, oh, it could have been a lot worse. Had we not done x y and z are there things you can do before. I guess that big next rain event that say that okay? We know what we're doing. Here is working. Well, there are lessons to be learned in any disaster. I think we saw that for example recently with hurricane sandy. It was actually after hurricane sandy that some. Observations important observations were made and regard to some accord ingineers projects we would call natural nature-based projects. These projects took the form of the and dune engineering projects. Many of these projects performed very well during that particular hurricane in fact, resulted in large savings and avoidance of damages. And so that introduced at that time a dialogue about how we can make use of these techniques more broadly, and that Abrar is to our effort at development in guidelines for natural nature-based features the other point here is that when you have a a disaster a flood after that event the need in the sense of urgency to rebuild restore is quite intense. And that really kind of necessitates having plans in place in advance of. Disasters to revision, if you will a remodel the system in many places, I believe around the world the systems are being put back together the way they were before they fell down. And if we want to make use of for example, nature base solutions for flood risk management. We need to be thinking ahead of ourselves. If you will in regards to these kinds of aunts. So that we have plans and place to reconfigure systems into more efficient than more effective, full worm. So that the next time we have a similar or maybe even a larger event the system is going to respond in a more favorable way. She's a bit of a pivot, but I have quite a few younger listeners young career folks or even people going university in there looking to get into this field, especially looking perspective Okita getting to climate change adaptation, doing engineering hydrology watershed and flood management. What? Areas of study would you recommend that they take how do they get to where you're at? Well, I would have to say this. This is a very exciting time. If you're entering your high school, and college or postgraduate training, and you have an interest in this area. This is an exciting time to pursue education technical education in this particular area of work. There's a lot going on in the area of research on a lot that's going on at universities of round the world in this area. In fact, in our engineering with nature initiative within the core, we've been working closely with universities in the United States in development of curricula that support exactly this kind of reproach practice of this last spring term twenty eighteen we co taught a seminar on engineering with nature at Texas A and M university. And we hope to be able to. Do that again in the future were currently collaborating at with faculty at the engineering college at the university of Georgia, which has recently a stood up an institute the institute for resilient infrastructure systems or iris, which is specifically tuned to finding ways to incorporate natural systems in nature based approaches into water infrastructure. So there are many opportunities, and I think the educational system in the end the curricula that exist within sight engineering in environmental programs at universities are evolving. Now, I think in response to these opportunities to engineer with nature of that's pretty encouraging. Okay. So these are very complicated in your dealing with a lot of stakeholders, and I think she hurt. Your experiences. A lot of people have opinions on what engineers should be doing in these situations. And you know, what are some of the bigger challenges as an engineer in dealing with environmentalist or biologists. Who who are also important stakeholders in this process? That's very good question the fourth element that I mentioned earlier that we are working to use and leverage within our engineering nature initiative is finding ways to work collaboratively through partnerships in realizing an implementing these kinds of approaches. There's a very important social context for advancing these kinds of techniques and working across the perspectives and the interests that exists in the end the diverse stakeholder environment that you have in in flood risk management. Present a lot of challenges, and there's a social science component of this. That's every bit as significant as the matchel or physical science component of this. I think it's true and Mike spirits that the social science component of these problems has received less attention than the physical science component of these problems. And for us to be able to make more progress and to implement better solutions for the future. We're going to have to find a way to address the social science considerations more effectively than we have in the path. And and we're working to to that end with in our engineering with nature initiative. We've had a series of engagements, for example with landscape architects who impetus have a skill set. That's quite useful in regards to engage in communities and finding ways to incorporate. Eight of social considerations and human us into engineering. We have a plans over the next several months, in fact to hold a technical meeting. A workshop on the social sciences specifically in relation to engineering with nature as a way of finding targets that we can pursues physically to advance this need that we have to take social science considerations into more of of our practice. So thanks Todd. I appreciate you coming on and sharing your expertise with my listeners. It was a pleasure that this is such an important area of work, either leave and has such great potential and opportunity for not only us in the United States. But for else world, I'm happy to talk about it. Whenever I have a chance. Awesome. Thank you. You're welcome. That is rapid after's. Hey, anita. What did you think of the episode? I thought it was really interesting Doug, and a lot of fun for me to meet some of these people in here, their points of view, and some of the issues that they're also wrestling with I thought some of the points that came forward, for example, Todd talked about the importance of partnering and collaboration in meeting or goals. And I think that's such fundamental aspect. And it sounds like a cliche. Oh, yes. We have to partner, but it really is so important when you're dealing with a complicated issue like flooding, and I think there are skills that we all need to learn to be better partners and get better at partnering. He also talked about communication, and you, and I dug up talked about this a lot in terms of what kinds of communication, and how do we infuse innovation as Todd said into the way that we communicate these issues, and I know. Oh that something that we are trying to dress within dodo yet been and you are being creative with the work that you do there's a so much more of that that I think we need to do. And that is part of what we try to do in our program in terms of learning from disasters. And then lastly, someone made a comment about may have been taught about this is an exciting time to be in this work. And it's an exciting time to not only be a professional trying to learn grow and support these emerging practices, but also to be a student and your listeners have heard me say this before, but I can't say enough we've got to engage the next generation of practitioners. And we are fortunate that we can try to influence that at the student level end the creativity innovation that students bring to this issue. All around the world, not just in the US think is really key to growing. Successful effort in the space when we only catch it a few voices. But what my listeners to know at the workshop itself is just the diversity of participants. And these are people from all over the world and taught at mentioned a bit in his interviews that what are sort of the standards, and, you know, the whole point of this thing's developing some guidelines, and it's great to know that some of the other countries out there, hopefully who have had success that we can learn from them, and we are trying to create some standards that apply across many different countries. So I thought that was very interesting because you really want to learn from your mistakes, you know, you don't you get in your silo in your own country. And sometimes you don't open minded about what works elsewhere. And I think Todd's created a nice venue to kind of find what's really working, and he did talk about sometimes the Netherlands doesn't like what we're doing the US. And hopefully, they're using this forum to let us know, and we can learn from that that's an important point. I think the flip side of that is also important, and I hear that a lot in my work about well, how do we know these now? Natural nature based approaches work, and it is difficult particularly for engineers to get their mind around the fact that we can draw an engineering approach in measure and quantify what type and amount of water that engineering should accommodate. It is a little bit harder with natural in nature based features people are working very hard to try to develop that understanding and standardize. It the flip side though, in my mind is given the uncertainties with climate and land use and many other issues we need to build flexibility into our plans and the hard engineering does not give us that kind of flexibility. So there's a whole downside also to knowing exactly how much water any particular method is going to deal with. So that's what I find really fascinating and not easy. But. Interesting bringing different professions in sectors together to say, what are we all know, how do we know it, and how can we work together to try to reduce risk for communities, but also benefit from the services and the features that a healthy environment can bring to an issue. I guess my biggest concern when I think of it takes while develop these sort of things I know that they're going to have another meeting in Ireland or Scotland in in a few months to keep working on these guidelines and these things take time, but at the same time other I guess sectors are baking in bad practices. And you know, I feel like there's this this window for using nature base solutions, and you know, we have to get out there and the work that you're doing is critically important. And I just I hope that they can really make the work that they're doing incredibly relevant to other sectors. And they have the proper communication strategy. You know, using this podcast can highlight the work they're doing. And so I hope the timing. It's quick. Rather than later. Well, it's a continual struggle. But that's again brings me back to partnering partnerships because within that large group that engineering was nature program in with my own program. There's many different groups doing different things at different times. And so were not all sitting waiting for the next guideline to come out. There's implementation going on there's training going on there's learning going on documentation going on. So that's part of the challenges while is keeping your eye on all that and making it available and learning from it as we go, but I can rest assured dog we're not sitting and waiting for the next guideline to come out people are doing as well. And so we don't want to bake in bad plans. But we also have did do something. Good to know. All right. Let's wrap this up. So what can they expect next? We're going to be wrapping this up in with a fourth episode. What are we talking about in that fourth episode? Well in the fourth your listeners can join us going round the world talking to unite are not going to travel around the world, but through the advantages technology, we're going to talk to folks who are and other parts of the world to learn about what are they seeing and experiencing and doing in their areas in their neighborhoods in their communities, and so it will be frontline discussion. And I think that will be really interesting and challenging as well. It will be exciting wrap up to all this great content generated so far. Okay. And Nita again. It's been a pleasure. We're in the final stretch here and three it's been a great journey, but any final thoughts. Now. Again, I want to thank you for what you're doing. And I appreciate the feedback and comments that you've had from your listeners, folks. Please. Keep that coming because we learned from that as well. And thanks for your interest. All right. Bye. Bye. Bye. Okay, doctors that is a wrap. Thanks to Todd cat into and Maria and Anita for participating this episode as you can see experts from around the world or on the job of coming up with nature based solutions to flooding and disaster management. It's not easy work. I hope you're encouraged by the partnerships and collaborations that are happening with countries on these issues and again, thanks to Nita for joining in with me on these conversations. And also, please have a listen to episodes one and two you can find them on the website. We cover a lot of ground. And if you want more information on my guest or the green guide that was mentioned many times links are in my show notes, some final housekeeping don't forget to join the Facebook page in the Facebook community group, the group is private but search for America dabs and asked to join in. I will approve it right away. It's a chance to hear some insider info on the podcast and see what other listeners are sharing on the wall. Don't forget, please send me a letter. If you have some thoughts or just even describing what you're doing. Or what you're learning from the podcast. I'm doing a new new thing letters from adapters. And I'd love to read. Ears. I'm at America dabs at g mail dot com. I love hearing from you. It's definitely the highlight of my week. So please do reach out. Okay. Check out the website. It's a new website. It's a new improved website, go to America dot org. There's a search functioning canal look at the archive episodes really easily concert by sea level rise flooding public health. It'll bring up any relevant episode. All this information is a mach- show notes, especially linked to the donate page. Okay. At after's, keep up the great work. I'll see you next time.

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