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Assistant Professor receives US Army grant for natural infrastructure research

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Dr. Adnan Rajib

Dr. Adnan Rajib

Dr. Adnan Rajib, a first-year assistant professor of environmental engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, has received a $249,968 federal grant from the United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center to fund his research.

Rajib will study how natural infrastructures mediate flood hazards and water quality in America’s heart ⎼ the Mississippi River Basin.

“The United States like many other parts of the world is under increasing flood risks. Traditionally, we adopt structural solutions like dams and levees to control flooding. While these built infrastructures serve important functions, we cannot disregard natural infrastructures,” Rajib said. “Surface depressions like wetlands and other small waterbodies are natural infrastructures present in the landscape’s fabric. They have a natural capacity to store and brake water movement across the landscape, thus reducing flood hazards in downstream watersheds. The holding capacity of surface depressions also cleans the water that flows through them by allowing nitrogen and phosphorus loads to settle and transform.”

The different tasks proposed in the project will be conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, and University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

“The novelty of this project lies in our capability to map surface depressions at an unprecedented spatial resolution and geographic coverage, and therefore generate the first quantitative evidence of where and to what extent these depressions would alter the conventional estimates of flood risk and water quality,” Rajib explained.

Dr. David Ramirez, chair of the environmental engineering department, said Rajib’s work is futuristic with significant practical implications. “Recent research shows that small surface water systems are rapidly being filled or drained for agriculture or urban development, which takes away many of the ecosystem services these systems can potentially offer. Rajib’s project will generate deeper scientific understanding to help protect these vulnerable waters,” Ramirez added.

In addition to studying natural infrastructures, Rajib is researching emerging concepts of rapid flood prediction and inundation mapping to foster coastal resilience against climate and manmade drivers.

Category: General Univ , Engineering

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