Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.) Vicksburg United States
In recent years, the United States Army Corps of Engineers USACE has spent an average of approximately a billion dollars annually for navigation channel maintenance dredging. To execute these funds effectively, USACE districts must determine which navigation channels are most in need of maintenance dredging each year. Traditionally, dredging volume estimates for Operations and Maintenance budget development are based on experiential knowledge and historic averages, with the effects of upstream, precipitation-driven streamflows considered via general-rule approximations. This study uses the Streamflow Prediction Tool, a hydrologic routing model driven by global weather forecast ensembles, and dredging records from the USACE Galveston District to explore relationships between precipitation-driven inland channel flow and subsequent dredged volumes in the downstream coastal channel reaches. Spatially based regression relationships are established between cumulative inland flows and dredged volumes. Results in the test cases of the Houston Ship Channel and the Sabine-Neches Waterway in Texas indicate useful correlations between the computed streamflow volumes and recorded dredged volumes. These relationships are stronger for channel reaches farther inland, upstream of the coastal processes that are not included in the precipitation-driven hydrologic model.