Downtown Columbia Planning, Restoration, and Design
The recent completion of a new master plan for Downtown Columbia marked the beginning of an historic revitalization effort. At the heart of the plan is the vision to create a community that fosters the growth of its people, respects the land, and promotes economic prosperity while celebrating the diversity of life. Biohabitats has worked closely with The Howard Hughes Corporation and other consulting team members to ensure integration of ecological restoration and regenerative design into the community as it is redeveloped.
Early in the master planning process, Biohabitats’ team of landscape architects, scientists, water resource engineers and GIS specialists produced a body of ecological information to inform and guide design and planning. Over a nine-month period, Biohabitats spearheaded the engagement of state and county agencies, community stakeholders, and the general public on watershed, woodland and sustainability issues related to redevelopment activities. Biohabitats worked with various stakeholders to reach consensus on balancing redevelopment with environmental enhancement initiatives.
Through rigorous field investigations, community participation and design team collaboration, Biohabitats developed a Watershed Restoration and Management Plan for two sub-watersheds within Columbia, an Environmental Enhancement Plan for Columbia Town Center, and Ecological Sustainability Guidelines. When applied in an integrated and thoughtful manner, the sustainability guidelines will lead to regenerative conditions that create a more healthy and vibrant Downtown Columbia.
As the project moves into the design stages, Biohabitats continues to play a critical role in overseeing environmental restoration, stormwater management, and overall integration of sustainability elements into the project. The first new building in Downtown Columbia’s Warfield Neighborhood will be opening in 2015 and includes stormwater green infrastructure practices designed by Biohabitats. Biohabitats has designed and overseen almost twenty acres of forest restoration, including two full seasons of invasive species management. In September of 2014, we completed a design-build stream restoration of one thousand linear feet of incised tributary to the Little Patuxent. We are nearing completion of planning and design stages for additional environmental restoration, including four thousand linear feet of stream restoration, two acres of wetland creation and restoration, and approximately forty acres of forest restoration on property owned by The Howard Hughes Corporation within the Crescent Neighborhood. For this effort, Biohabitats will be preparing site development plans and/or waiver petitions, as well as required permits from State and Federal authorities.