Meet the latest Young Dawg part of the IRIS team: Gretchen Hinger.
The UGA Young Dawgs program is a high school internship program designed to prepare highschool juniors and seniors for college-level research.
Hinger joined the IRIS team from Clarke Central High School. During her time at UGA, she worked with Dr. Matt Bilskie, helping to study how natural infrastructure can help protect coastal resources, such as the Tyndall Airforce Base, from storms.
Hinger aided the research team in designing and testing several natural infrastructure solutions for Tyndall, in the form of barrier islands and dunes. Her research found that an offset island design performed best in helping to reduce water levels during a storm the size of Hurricane Matthew, which caused $5 billion worth of damage in 2016.
To read more, check out the powerpoint of her presentation, here.
When most of us think about infrastructure, we envision the bridges, roads and network of pipes that help our communities run. However, there are all kinds of natural systems that provide support to our society, including the forests that help purify our drinking water and absorb run off to prevent flooding to the marshes that absorb the energy from storms to protect our communities.
In a recent article published in UGA Today, IRIS affiliate Dr. Marshall Shepherd and Director Dr. Brian Bledsoe, spoke to the need for more resilient infrastructure in the face of massive rain events, rising sea levels, and urban sprawl.
“You think about a rubber band—a rubber band has resiliency. It snaps back,” Shepherd was quoted as saying in the article. “In this new era of new rainstorms and more intense hurricanes, we need to be thinking about more climate-resilient systems.”
IRIS’s mission is to advance the integration of natural and conventional infrastructure systems to strengthen long-term resilience to flooding, sea level rise, drought and more. With an approach that is rooted in innovative, collaborative research, Bledsoe, Shepherd and the other IRIS affiliates are working to find new ways to increase our climate-resilience.
“As engineers, we’ve been trained to look to the past in order to predict the future,” said Bledsoe. “What we have to ask when developing solutions for these problems is what the rainfall might be like in the future. What’s the urban landscape probably going to look like in the future? For hurricanes, what’s the storm surge probably going to look like in the future?”