The primary objectives of this project are to 1) quantify mobility and burial of munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) in dynamic riverine environments using a Munitions Response Site (MRS) or representative proxy site, and 2) identify and reduce the parameters necessary to predict MEC mobility and burial in riverine sites for models such as the Underwater Munitions Expert System (UnMES) (MR-2227MR-2645, and MR19-1126). The project team will emphasize real-time observations and operational hydrodynamic modeling (e.g. United States Geological Survey National Water Information System [USGS NWIS], Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System [MARACOOS]) as tools for MEC monitoring. The long-term goal of this effort is to reduce the amount of independent field observations and model parameters required to effectively operate MEC mobility and burial predictive models for MRS site management.

Technical Approach

This study will combine an in situ field experiment with an examination of real-time observation networks and modeling for integration with MEC mobility and burial models. The project team will conduct field experiments to characterize MEC mobility and burial at a selected MRS site. The project team will test and optimize a portable and relatively inexpensive system to examine MEC mobility and burial that may be implemented at any underwater MRS. As UnMES developers have noted there is a need for an increased number of observations to validate probabilistic models, the aim of this study is to increase observations through the combination of existing smart surrogates and new, inexpensive, and simple surrogates, all fitted with small acoustic tags. Surrogates will be deployed and monitored for up to six months with the objective of characterizing mobility and burial in the context of a selected MRS. Further, the project team will investigate potential predictive parameters for mobility, such as MEC shape and density, river flow rate, flooding events, tide, bathymetry (slope and aspect), riverbed composition, and geomorphology. Available historical datasets and real-time monitoring (e.g. USGS NWIS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tides and Currents) will be leveraged where applicable and combined with in situ measurements. The project team will review existing data from literature and integrate real-time observations and operational hydrodynamic modeling (e.g. Chesapeake Bay ROMS model, MARACOOS) with MEC mobility and burial predictions (e.g. Rennie et al., 2016) to produce parameterized model inputs for MEC mobility and burial in riverine environments.


This study will provide a simplified framework for real-time observations and models to predict potential MEC mobility and burial in riverine environments. The observations will expand the knowledge into an understudied but abundant environment with respect to munitions contamination, and characterize historical and present conditions at an existing MRS. All results from the field experiment and model parameterization will be made available for existing MEC mobility and burial models such as UnMES.

  • UXO Burial and Mobility,