As part of my postdoc with the Network for Engineering With Nature, I am coordinating several projects investigating the biodiversity benefits of Nature-based and Natural Infrastructure.
Nature-based and natural infrastructure, also known as Nature-based solutions (NBS), are ways of including natural ecosystems and habitats as all or part of an infrastructure project. NBS include levee setbacks to restore floodplains and reduce downstream flooding, and protecting shorelines with coastal wetlands and reef ecosystems. They are a dramatic and important paradigm shift for water management and climate change adaptation in the 21st century. As the U.S. government prepares to conduct a massive overhaul of American infrastructure, nature-based options are likely to be a key part of this strategy.
My mentors, collaborators, and I are investigating how a shift to water management using NBS can be leveraged to restore freshwater ecosystems, recover populations, and protect threatened biodiversity in the United States.