U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Threatened & Endangered Species Team (TEST)

Research & Development

ERDC studies T&E species to understand how to work with and around them. This valuable information informs ways to minimize impacts to USACE projects and T&E species. If you have a research need, submit a Statement of Need (SON) to the appropriate business line.

Title: Emerging Technologies for Detection of Aquatic Species (PDF)

POC: Bennet

Summary: ERDC has partnered with an Army military sponsored STTR program to leverage critical funding for this advanced sensor and detection algorithm development and testing effort. A small business technology firm is developing this active acoustic marine life watch system under contract, with technical oversight by ERDC and Jacksonville District Corps of Engineers personnel. The expected result of this effort is a field system that will provide real-time situational awareness of nearby T&E species during dredging and other Corps channel maintenance and enhancement activities (Figure 3).


Title: Implementation Strategies and Effectiveness Evaluation of Turtle Tickler Chains (TTC) (PDF)

POC: Tim Welp and Dena Dickerson

Summary: Although a previous study demonstrated the feasibility for deploying the TTC and the underwater performance of the chains during dredging, it did not address the effectiveness of the chains to reduce incidental take of sea turtles. This research task will conduct the coordination between various stakeholders to arrange a TTC demonstration, and evaluations made to determine the effectiveness for the tickler chains to reduce incidental turtle takes. If TTCs are shown to be effective in protecting sea turtles during dredging projects, they may be a more cost-effective protection method than the currently used draghead deflector, and could be used in lieu of the deflectors.


Title: Characterizing Underwater Sound Risk Due to Dredging (PDF)

POC: Burton Suedel

Summary: Research on the effects of underwater sound on aquatic life has increased over the last decade, but there are still many unanswered questions, especially with regards to the significance of sound risks due to dredging activities. In particular, the extrapolation of effects on an individual to effects at the population or community level is highly uncertain. In situations when sound alone does not pose unacceptable risk at the population level, these combined with factors such as fishery by-catch, pollution and other stressors may yield adverse effects. It is therefore important to develop a framework whereby the assessment of various sources of underwater sound can be made to improve our ability to manage such stressors. Understanding the effects of underwater sound originating from dredging and other anthropogenic activities will allow for USACE Districts to apply this approach at other dredging sites where underwater sound is a concern. The USACE dredges approximately 300 million cubic yards of sediment annually so the framework developed has significant potential to be used by multiple Corps Districts, thereby providing an approach that can be used as part of ongoing dredging activities. (Image of a backhoe dredge by WODA, 2013).


Title: Predicting Short/Long Term Physical and Environmental Response of Coastal Wetlands to Dredged Material Placement (PDF)

POC: Candice Piercy

Summary: Advancing the practice of thin layer placement activities in marshes requires a simple tool that can predict how marsh elevation will respond to the sediment placement so impacts can be better quantified and placement activities can be better designed. The planned updates to MEM will incorporate best current science to provide thin layer placement practitioners a tool to better plan and design marsh thin layer placement projects.