The Bureau of Reclamation, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, State of Colorado Department of Natural Resources Dam Safety Branch, and various water irrigation districts that operate federal canals, is seeking new ideas for cost-effective ways to prevent rodents from burrowing into the earthen embankments of dams, canals, and levees. These burrows cause seepage paths in the embankment system which can lead to structural failures that endanger water supplies, cause property damage and endanger the lives of nearby populations. Many of the more traditional and “intuitive” methods have been tried with little success to date. We are hoping the Solver community can “dig deeper” than the rodents to find creative and effective solutions to this Challenge.
This Challenge requires only a written proposal.
Challenge Orientation Video
Subject matter experts from the Bureau of Reclamation and Boise Project Board of Control have provided this short video discussing the rodent burrows in earthen embankments problem: https://youtu.be/CY8TeSlT16o
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This Challenge is being conducted under the authority of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (15 U.S.C. § 3719). The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 states that awards for this Prize Competition may only be given to an individual that is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or an entity that is incorporated in and whose primary place of business is in the United States, subject to verification by the Seeker before Prizes are awarded. Further restrictions apply – see the Challenge Specific Agreement and the Federal Register Notice for full eligibility details.
Note: Submissions can be entertained from all Solvers regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens/entities. Meritorious submissions from non-eligible persons and entities, if any, will be recognized in publications issued by the Seeker announcing the results of the competition, such as press releases. However, prizes — whether monetary or otherwise — may not be awarded to non-eligible persons and under the authority of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (15 USC 3719).
Is there a way to stop and prevent rodents from burrowing into earthen embankments of dams, canals, and levees?
Rodent burrows can fill with water when the water levels change, creating seepage paths which can lead to internal erosion in embankments resulting in the potential for catastrophic failure. Embankment failures can cause property damage, cause loss of life, and interrupt crucial deliveries of water in the West and across the nation.
Trapping or baiting rodents on earthen embankments are short term remedies, and experience has shown that within a short time, the rodents inevitably return. Annual programs of rodent removal over thousands of miles of earthen embankment are cost prohibitive and only marginally successful. Solvers are being asked for creative, cost effective, long-term solutions to this very real and serious problem.
Photograph of a breach in the earthen canal embankment resulting from rodent activity.
This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:
After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submitted a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided. Decisions by the Seeker cannot be contested.
About The Seekers: The Bureau of Reclamation is an agency of the United States Federal Government with a mission to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public (www.usbr.gov). The Bureau of Reclamation is collaborating on this prize competition with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Colorado Department of Natural Resources Dam Safety Division, and with federal canal operating entities including Boise Project Board of Control and the South Columbia Basin Irrigation District to design and judge this competition.
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on October 11, 2016. Late submissions will not be considered.
What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?
An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.
In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:
Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.