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Keywords:

  • Navigation infrastructure;
  • Jetties;
  • Breakwaters;
  • Sustainability;
  • Lock and dam

Abstract

Navigation infrastructure such as channels, jetties, river training structures, and lock-and-dam facilities are primary components of a safe and efficient water transportation system. Planning for such infrastructure has until recently involved efforts to minimize impacts on the environment through a standardized environmental assessment process. More recently, consistent with environmental sustainability concepts, planners have begun to consider how such projects can also be constructed with environmental enhancements. This study examined the existing institutional conditions within the US Army Corps of Engineers and cooperating federal agencies relative to incorporating environmental enhancements into navigation infrastructure projects. The study sought to (1) investigate institutional attitudes towards the environmental enhancement of navigation infrastructure (EENI) concept, (2) identify potential impediments to implementation and solutions to such impediments, (3) identify existing navigation projects designed with the express intent of enhancing environmental benefit in addition to the primary project purpose, (4) identify innovative ideas for increasing environmental benefits for navigation projects, (5) identify needs for additional technical information or research, and (6) identify laws, regulations, and policies that both support and hinder such design features. The principal investigation tool was an Internet-based survey with 53 questions. The survey captured a wide range of perspectives on the EENI concept including ideas, concerns, research needs, and relevant laws and policies. Study recommendations included further promotion of the concept of EENI to planners and designers, documentation of existing projects, initiation of pilot studies on some of the innovative ideas provided through the survey, and development of national goals and interagency agreements to facilitate implementation. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2012;8:1–1. © 2011 SETAC