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USGS Sediment-Transport Researchers Collaborate with Colleagues in The Netherlands or Researchers Go Dutch

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USGS researchers Guy Gelfenbaum, Peter Ruggiero, Jessie Lacy, and Chris Sherwood with their host Dano Roelvink in front of the water clock at Delft Hydraulics Laboratory
USGS researchers (left to right) Guy Gelfenbaum, Peter Ruggiero, Jessie Lacy, and Chris Sherwood with their host Dano Roelvink in front of the water clock at Delft Hydraulics Laboratory.
The Netherlands leads the world in coastal engineering, and for good reason. Parts of Holland are 6 m below sea level, and a recently passed national law declares that the configuration of the coast and beaches in 1990 will be maintained in perpetuity, despite predictions of sea-level rise. Delft, an old town about 10 km from The Hague, is one of the most renowned centers for coastal engineering in Europe, with a leading technical university and the WL|Delft Hydraulics Laboratory.

USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program researchers Guy Gelfenbaum, Jessie Lacy, and Peter Ruggiero (Menlo Park) and Chris Sherwood (Woods Hole) were lucky to arrange an extended visit to Delft through a cooperative agreement with Delft Hydraulics. They were graciously hosted by Dano Roelvink and Dirk-Jan Walstra, with wonderful logistical support from Marcia de Jonge.

Chris Sherwood on bicycle
A large proportion of Delft's citizens commute by bicycle, and Chris Sherwood is happy to follow the trend. Here he passes through the Oost Poort (gate through the old Delft wall) and over the Zuider Gracht canal.
Delft Hydraulics provided a conference room, network access, and bikes for commuting (the only way to go in Holland; see photo), and helped the researchers locate an apartment at the Beestenmarkt, a centuries-old area featured in the recent novel Girl with a Pearl Earring (after the painting by Vermeer).

In nearly 3 weeks of collaborative work, the USGS scientists and their hosts applied state-of-the-art numerical models of waves, flow, and sediment transport to USGS projects. Jessie is applying a three-dimensional model to evaluate circulation and suspended-sediment transport near the entrance to Grays Harbor, WA. Peter is focussed on shoreface evolution at Ocean Shores and Long Beach, WA, both part of the Columbia River littoral cell. Guy is continuing to work on morphologic change near Grays Harbor with Mathijs Meijs, a student from Delft who worked in Menlo Park, CA, this winter (see February 2002 Sound Waves article). Guy is also beginning a project to evaluate the long-term evolution of morphology at the entrance to Willapa Bay, WA. Chris is using Delft3D, modeling software from Delft Hydraulics, to develop test cases for comparison and evaluation of sediment-transport models.

Tidally-averaged flow around a headland and associated morphology change after 2 weeks
Delft3D model results. Map of tidally averaged and depth-averaged flow around a headland and associated morphology change after a 2-week simulation.

In addition to the benefits of a remarkably productive and collaborative work environment, the USGS researchers engaged in informal hallway or lunchroom conversations with such coastal-process legends as Leo van Rijn, Jurgen Battjes, Huib de Vriend, and Marcel Stive. On weekend trips, the learning process continued as they alternated visits to great museums with trips to the beaches and coastal defenses of Holland. The knowledge and experience they bring back to the USGS will be applied to Coastal and Marine Geology Program studies of coastal erosion, coastal evolution, and sediment transport.

Related Web Sites
Coastal & Marine Geology Program
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
WL|Delft Hydraulics Laboratory
independent consulting and research institute

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Gas-Hydrate Research Wells Completed

Moloka'i Coral Reef Sediment

Research Role of Parasites in Ecosystems

Outreach Public Art Project

Prairie Restoration

Marine Science Day

Marine Environmental Careers Symposium

Students Visit Woods Hole

Congressional Briefing on Wetlands

Woods Hole Science Fairs

Talks—DOE and College of William and Mary

Meetings Netherlands Sediment-Transport Collaboration

Sediment-Transport Modeling

Tampa Bay Estuary Tour

Awards Monterey Bay Research Award

Staff & Center News Japanese Land-Management Team Visits St. Pete

Western Region Retirements

Woods Hole Visitor

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