Looking Beyond the Banks of Crestwood Lake
Located between the Village of Tuckahoe and the City of Yonkers in Westchester County, New York, Crestwood Lake is one of several in-line ponds along the Bronx River, and a part of the larger Bronx River Parkway Reservation. Covering approximately 10 acres, the Lake receives water from a 33 square mile, highly developed urban/suburban watershed with very little stormwater management. The Lake is an important component of the County’s public open space, but over the years, it has experienced excessive sedimentation. The resulting, frequent need for dredging has also made it a rather costly feature to maintain. In an effort to help the Westchester County Department of Planning enhance the ecological, recreational and aesthetic values of the lake and also lessen the need for future dredging, we teamed with partners HydroQual and Soil Testing Inc. and developed series of three restoration concepts. Crestwood 2 Each concept addressed the issues of water quality, flood control, habitat restoration, recreation, aesthetics and historic preservation and attempted to balance the objectives of various County departments and stakeholders. By allowing this conceptual planning process, and by including such a multitude of voices, the County was able to broaden its view and consider our recommendation that in order to seriously address the excess sediment and flooding of Crestwood Lake, a system-based, watershed-wide approach would be needed.
From Flash to Flow
The headwater tributary you see in this photo was once a perennial stream. But with upstream and surrounding development in this suburban watershed in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, it had become storm dominated, intermittent and severely (we’re talking 12 feet) incised. Recognizing the need for innovative stream restoration, the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works turned to Biohabitats and teammate Underwood & Associates. We developed a restoration concept that involved filling the incised channel with porous granular material (i.e., sand) with a high carbon content (i.e., shredded wood) held in place with grade control weirs and cobble riffles. The concept also incorporates several energy dissipation pools to provide energy reduction and infiltration. As the flow ramps up and fills the initial pool, seepage through the granular channel fill will begin its sub-surface seepage down the channel bed. Ultimately, water will flow through the channel downstream with much less velocity, volume, and erosion potential. The concept also creates approximately one acre of wetland and one acre-foot of water quality treatment. Our full design work is just about done, and we look forward to watching this transformation come to life as we provide construction oversight.
Adding Curve Appeal in Texas
The Cypress Creek watershed is a 320 square mile basin in Harris and Waller Counties, Texas. At approximately 45 miles in length, the headwaters of the watershed are relatively undeveloped, but transition into the developed urban landscape of Houston’s outer suburbs. Recognizing the need to maintain flood control, but restore ecological function within the watershed, the Harris County Flood Control District asked us to assess the entire watershed and develop concepts for stream restoration.
Various ecological restoration approaches were identified to address channel instability, flood storage, in-stream habitat enhancement, and riparian enhancement. Ultimately, we were contracted to design the restoration of a 2,000-linear foot section of Cypress Creek that was actively eroding near a park playground. The restoration is now serving as a demonstration project to showcase the use of natural channel design in addressing channel stability.
Preserving Ways in Coastal Bays
Maryland’s coastal bays make up one of the richest, most diverse estuaries on the eastern seaboard, and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program intends to keep it that way. A partnership of federal, state and local government agencies and the people who depend on the bays for their livelihood and quality of life, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program developed a comprehensive conservation and management plan to protect and restore the health of these precious resources. As part of the plan, and in an effort to provide fish passage and water quality treatment for a drainage area used mainly for chicken food production and waste application, the Program initiated an ecosystem restoration project in an area known as the Bishopville Pond, near Ocean City, Maryland.
Working in collaboration with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Maryland State Highway Administration’s Environmental Programs Division, the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Worcester County, Biohabitats and our partner Underwood & Associates, developed a design that includes: the restoration of an existing sand mine with 32 acres of non-tidal wetland; stream restoration in an approximately 4000-ft long ditched portion of Buntings Branch, a tributary to the Saint Martens River, one of the worst non-attainment areas in Maryland; and the restoration of fish passage through the Bishopville Pond using a natural channel design as a pass through an existing sheet steel dam. Finally, the restoration project will be planted with genetic stock from the Coastal Bays region once locally abundant but now essentially rare elements in the landscape. In keeping with the Program’s overall focus on stewardship, the planting effort will be handled as a project with local schools, watershed associations, and State and County organized volunteers.
Dam, That’s Good News
We were delighted to read in this Ohio EPA Biological and Water Quality Report of the water quality improvements that have taken place since our work on the Kent Dam modification project in Kent, Ohio. Check it out!
More Good News
We are pleased to announce that we were recently awarded a $1.26 million contract from the Philadelphia District of the Army Corps of Engineers to provide biological and environmental services related to terrestrial and freshwater civil works activities.
Biohabitats president Keith Bowers will cross the Atlantic for this year’s World Conservation Congress, October 5-11. The conference, hosted by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and taking place in Barcelona, brings together over 8,000 of the world’s leading environmental decision makers.
We are proud to once again sponsor Restore America’s Estuaries Conference on Coastal & Estuarine Habitat Restoration. This five-day event is the only national conference focused on the goals and practices of coastal and estuarine habitat restoration. Biohabitats president, Keith Bowers, joins senior ecologists Joe Berg, Terry Doss and Ed Morgereth on an esteemed list of presenters.
October 14-15 won’t want to miss Water Resources Engineer Ted Brown’s presentation of Case Studies in Ecologically Sustainable Development.
Few people get excited about dirty sink water. Fortunately for us, our new Ecological Designer, Nicole Stern, is one of them. A landscape architect with a penchant for grey water and green design, Nicole specializes in designing closed-loop systems and sustainable landscapes. She brings over five years of expertise in water biofiltration and innovative design to the Biohabitats team. A certified massage therapist, Nicole also brings a unique understanding of how the connections between mind, body, and spirit contribute to ecological design.
Nicole holds an M.L.A. from Pennsylvania State University and B.L.A. from California Polytechnic State University. She has also studied landscape architecture in Australia, Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic. When she’s not healing humans or the natural environment, Nicole can be found hiking, camping, gardening, cooking or staring at a public bathroom sink while her creative wheels turn.
As a child, engineering intern Amy Longcrier dreamed of becoming a mermaid. Somewhere along the line, however, her career aspirations shifted toward the magical world of water drainage, a path no less enchanting for this Tennessee native with an interest in the health and sustainability of the planet. Before joining our team this summer, Amy worked for a land development firm in Jacksonville, Florida, where she was able to hone her skills in drainage engineering, CADD, computer modeling, and regulatory permitting. Amy holds a B.S. in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is also a registered Engineer Intern and a card-carrying member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Amy once hula hooped for two hours and eight minutes without stopping. When she is not busy drafting sustainable designs and playing with her hula hoop, Amy can probably be found in the water. When she needs to dry out, she also enjoys sports, camping, cooking and sewing. We’re glad Amy joined the Biohabitats team, and we think she fits in just swimmingly.
Fresh from the University of Maryland’s Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate program, water resources engineer Phil Jones was eager for an opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects to protect and restore the streams, wetlands, and forests of his native Maryland and beyond. Formerly with the Low Impact Development Center, Phil’s expertise is in stormwater management and its connection to ecology and site design. Equally important, he has the valuable but rare ability to present and communicate technical information to a variety of audiences. An avid hiker and film buff, Phil is equally at home in the city or out on the trail.
For many true artists, the technical application of art can be a compromising – and daunting – challenge. Not so for Jean Wisenbaugh, our new graphic designer. With a resume that includes positions at Business Week magazine and, most recently, the Maryland Science Center, Jean has applied her talents in illustration, information graphics and graphic design to everything from greeting cards to molecular diagrams of pharmaceutical therapies. When she’s not at work putting complex information into a clear, compelling and accessible form, Jean can be found on a hiking trail, in her garden or with her nose in a book.
We are proud to add Nick Lindow to the Biohabitats team. And that’s not just because he brews his own beer. A water resources engineer with a Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Nick brings loads of expertise in stream restoration, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, urban stormwater management and groundwater bioremediation. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Nick has a passion for the outdoors. He prefers field work over desk work, and spends much of his free time hiking, and biking. After a brief stint with a traditional, civil engineering firm, Nick was drawn to Biohabitats by our unique atmosphere and strong environmental ethic. A true native son, Nick earned all of his degrees, including a bachelor’s and master’s in civil engineering and water resources, from North Carolina State University. Did we mention that he brews his own beer?