Quantifying Engineering Performance Metrics for Emergent Vegetation and Hybrid Systems


Quantifying Engineering Performance Metrics for Emergent Vegetation and Hybrid Systems

Tori Tomiczek, Ph.D., United States Naval Academy

3:30 p.m., April 11, 2024   |   129 DeBartolo Hall

As near-shore communities are threatened by coastal flood hazards of increasing magnitude and frequency associated with the changing climate, natural and nature-based infrastructure such as emergent vegetation has gained attention for its ability to stabilize shorelines and mitigate these flood hazards.

In particular, mangroves have been shown to attenuate daily and extreme wave heights, thus reducing the wave-induced loads on and resulting damage to sheltered inland structures. However, implementation of these natural systems in coastal engineering design lags behind that of conventional structures, owing to a lack of widely accepted, quantitative design procedures for a sufficient range of performance metrics.

This presentation will describe recent advances in quantifying engineering performance metrics (e.g., wave height attenuation, load reduction, overtopping mitigation) through physical model experiments and field monitoring campaigns. Results from prototype-scale experiments investigating wave transformation through an idealized Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove) forest (Fig. 1) will be used to illustrate the robustness of existing analytical methods for predicting wave height attenuation through the mangrove forest and the associated load reduction on a sheltered vertical wall.

Approaches for incorporating emergent vegetation into coastal engineering designs following existing frameworks will be discussed, as well as the inherent variability in natural system’s antecedent conditions and performance during an extreme event. Steps toward and future needs for developing a manual of practice consistent with those published by the American Society of Civil Engineers or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also be addressed.

Left: prototype-scale physical model experiments of wave height attenuation and load reduction through Rhizophora mangle forest; Right: drag coefficient relation with Reynolds number for recent physical model tests considering R. mangle.

Tori Tomiczek is an associate professor in the Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering at the US Naval Academy (USNA). She earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Florida and a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon State University before joining the Ocean Engineering faculty at USNA in 2017.

Professor Tomiczek’s research focuses on coastal engineering and coastal resilience. She has participated in field reconnaissance surveys evaluating damage and recovery following hurricane and extreme storm events. She has also enjoyed working on physical model experiments at USNA, OSU, and Kyoto University.

Professor Tomiczek is interested in better understanding wave-induced forces on coastal structures to inform design guidance and finding sustainable, resilient solutions that mitigate damage due to coastal hazards. She is a proud alumnus of the CEEES program and excited to be back at Notre Dame!