Mission: The Navigation Branch conducts research concerning the planning, design, operation, management, and maintenance of navigation channels, locks, ports, and waterway systems to provide safe and efficient marine transport, cost effective systems, and environmentally acceptable conditions. To address these issues, we employ a variety of technologies and expertise including: analytical & numerical models, ship simulator models, physical models, field investigations, and consultation. The Navigation Branch web portal provides information on our mission, expertise, projects, and services.
The Branch is divided into five technical working groups:
Deep Draft Navigation – This group oversees the ship/tow simulator, a computer generated world where harbor and tow pilots maneuver vessels to evaluate channel designs, channel modifications and safety issues.
e-Navigation – The e-Navigation group focuses on developing innovative capabilities intended to assist vessel operators with safe navigation, Federal agencies with their waterway-related missions, and the navigation industry in carrying out efficient and reliable waterway operations. This group develops capabilities employing electronic charts, meteorological and hydrodynamic sensors, advanced digital communications, data collection, data analysis, and information sharing to implement international e-Navigation concepts to US waterborne transportation.
Fish Passage – This group develops and tests physical models to better understand the mechanisms by which fish pass through hydraulic turbines. The group uses flow measurements, tracer studies, and flow visualization to mitigate turbine impacts to fish ingress and egress.
Inland Navigation – The inland navigation group utilizes physical & numerical models to evaluate vessel traffic through hydraulic structures such as locks, gates and other narrow passageways.
Locks – The locks group conducts research to understand the fluid dynamical processes in and around hydraulic structures (dams, locks, culverts) and how they affect navigation. The group uses analytical, numerical, and physical models to address complex flow/structure interaction issues.
Branch expertise includes inland hydraulic structures (locks), vessel navigation, e-navigation, and fish passage through hydraulic turbines. We prepare technical reports, peer reviewed publications and software to promote technology transfer and information exchange to a broad user base. Branch engineers and scientists host and participate in workshops, conferences and professional meetings to share our knowledge and to stay up to date with the latest technologies and techniques. Our customers include Corps districts, other Federal agencies, private companies, and foreign governments.