At conferences and on Websites, at research centers and out on windswept coasts around the world, increasing numbers of engineers, scientists, planners and policymakers are gathering to share ideas and lessons learned about a growing threat to one of the linchpins of civilization: the delta regions of the world. Those fragile landforms, built patiently over millennia by the sediment deposited at the mouths of the world’s mightiest rivers, are home to great ports and commercial centers of the global economy. They are, by definition, low and coastal; they also are on the front line to suffer hard consequences from climate
For centuries the Dutch took land from the sea by trapping sediment on tidal flats, diking polders and continuously pumping with windmills to dry the land. Now, faced with a need to bolster a 32-km, sea-facing dike built in the 1930s that turned the IJselmeer into Lake IJsel, an Amersfoort, Nl-based consulting firm, DVH, is proposing a return to old ways: Instead of breaking out heavy machinery and adding width and height to the dike to guard against sea-level rise, it proposes weaving traditional snags of willow reeds on tidal flats to trap sediment on the sea side of the
No city in the world takes climate change and sea-level rise more seriously than Rotterdam. The great port is entwined by the channels of the Maas, Schie and Rotte rivers, which are part of the of the vast delta fed by the Rhine draining Germany, and the Meuse, draining out of France. And it stares directly out at the North Sea from the part of the country known as the Southern Lowlands. As larger cargo vessels abandon a wealth of old shipyards and warehouses in the town to move to bigger docks downstream, redevelopment plans for the huge old port
Elastogran GmbH, a Lemförde, Germany-based subsidiary of BASF Group, has begun commercial sales in Europe of Elastocoast, a system for reinforcing broken rock revetments with a polyurethane binder. Pilot installations to protect several quickly disappearing North Sea German Islands, including Hallig Gröde (shown here) armored in two projects in 2006 and 2007, have performed well. The binder is tumbled in a concrete mixer on-site and spread over a substrate. A Wyandotte, Mich., U.S. branch is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop design guidelines for U.S. use. Video Photo: Tom Sawyer / ENR Photo: Elastogran Related Links:
Reducing flood risk on the Mississippi River delta is big business. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with a $14.3-billion appropriation to bring the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System to 100-year levels of protection by June 1, 2011. Photo: Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure Group Pile driving for $695 million IHNC barrier. Cost expected to climb. Related Links: Engineers Focus On Big Delta Threats Building With Nature by Weaving Defenses California Wants a Sea-Level-Rise Plan, But Money Is an Issue Connecting the Rocks Defining Protection To Know the Risk Climate-Proofing Rotterdam This will be
Although Marie Laveau no longer practices voodoo in New Orleans, another “dark art” —soils testing—is practiced there, under unprecedented scrutiny and at a higher level of intensity than ever before. “The work here is moving state of practice into state of the art,” says Dr. Rai Mehdiratta, program director for FFEB Geotechnical Consultants, a joint venture. He says the joint venture in the last two years has accomplished work that previously would have taken 15, “using more tools” in the process. “What we are doing here today, people will expect in the future,” he says. Video Photo: Angelle Bergeron /
California officials hope to soon begin holding public meetings to gather information for a sea-level-rise assessment report that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has asked the National Academy of Sciences to prepare by Dec. 1, 2010. But finding money for the contract is an issue. Slide Show Source: UACE Sacramento District Related Links: Engineers Focus On Big Delta Threats Contractors Brace for a Workstorm as Louisiana Projects Surge Building With Nature by Weaving Defenses Connecting the Rocks Defining Protection To Know the Risk Climate-Proofing Rotterdam Schwarzenegger asked the academy in November to convene a panel with representatives from the state’s resources
The Panama Canal Authority is soliciting bids for the estimated $70-million removal of 16 million cu m of material at the waterway’s Atlantic entrance. The job is a key portion of the canal’s $5.2-billion third-lane expansion project that will allow larger "post-Panamax" ships to use it. Last April, Belgium-based Dredging International won the $177.5-million contract to widen and deepen a nine-mile-long navigation channel beyond the Pacific entrance of the waterway. The deadline for bid submissions is July 15, with the project’s completion expected by the second quarter of 2013.
A water pipeline that serves the city of Folsom, Calif., as well as Folsom Prison collapsed Feb. 13 at a Folsom Dam construction site, but officials were able to install a temporary bypass line with no loss or reduction of service. Photo: Kiewit $1.6-billion spillway replacement is joint venture among U.S. Burueau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers, Valley Flood Protection Board and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency. The incident involved the permanent 42-in line that was being moved to make way for the second phase of a new spillway project. A temporary 24-in line was placed into service
Engineers from the International Commission on Large Dams will meet with Chinese engineers in China beginning on March 29 to discuss whether a new reservoir might have had a role in triggering last May’s Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province. Reservoir-induced seismicity is a known phenomenon, but Chinese authorities dispute its role in the Wenchuan quake. The ICOLD team of a dozen people will include the organization’s chairs and members of its seismic committee.